In case you needed reminding, digital downloads are the future. I definitely subscribe to that vision, and clearly so does Amazon. In the wake of it launching its own Android app store, it’s come to the PC game distribution party in a bid to rival the likes of Steam, which has dominated the market for years now.
Having been made available in the US over 2 years ago, the store has a sure foothold in the industry already, however it’s also been a long time coming to the UK, with many users still having to wait for the postman to arrive with the new title they’re itching to play. It’s a terrible period of waiting once you’ve ordered a game online to the actual delivery, so as long as your broadband has the clout, then this is a preferable method.
Of course, with many games on the PC racking up gigs worth of data these days, you will need a great deal of patience with a modest Internet connection, and may even have to leave it overnight before you can enjoy all that gaming goodness. However, consider how much you typically have to pay for next day delivery before letting out that sigh.
Of course, there will be many of you who don’t agree that digital is the way forward, and fear for your games in the event of a hard drive corruption, or indeed, the closure of a company. I’ve often wondered what will happen to my sizeable, and expensive, game collection on Steam should Valve cease to exist, however the chances of that happening any time soon is small, and even smaller in the case of Amazon, I would imagine.
In contrast to Steam, though, Amazon offers these games without reliance on servers or any additional software such as the Steam client. This means that while you might feel a little more secure actually having every file accessible standalone, in a similar fashion to smaller services such as Direct2Drive, which has been around for a while now, you do miss out on the social aspect you gain by using Steam and it’s many features.
Interestingly, should a title be available on the platform, Amazon will be offering games as a Mac download, which I’m sure will have many Apple-flavoured gamers jumping for joy, considering the furore when Steam finally launched for OS X last year.
This news, arriving just days after OS X Lion launched as an App Store exclusive, and the optical drive was removed completely from the Mac Mini range, only adds more credence to the theory that optical media is finally, however controversially, coming to a subtle end for software at least.
As ever, we appreciate your feedback, so if you have any thoughts on the ongoing transition from physical to digital distribution of software, then you can let us know in the comments section below, or contact us on Twitter @ZathUK.