Sony's pursuit of high-end handheld gaming content will keep retail in the mix – but not every game made for NGP will make it to the High Street.
SCEE President Andrew House told MCV that the blockbuster NGP games, such as Uncharted and Call of Duty, will be released on store shelves at the same time as they will be made available digitally. But he predicted smaller games will only be released through the console's download service.
He added that the firm has learnt from the mistakes of PSP, where its digital mechanisms were only introduced after the console's launch.
With NGP, digital is baked into the strategy behind the device,” he said.
With PSP our digital plan was almost bolted-on after the initial launch. This time around it has been thought through from the start.
I think publishers will start to look at distribution methods depending on the size of the content.
Clearly if you have large blockbuster gaming experiences, then downloading them is perhaps not the best experience, therefore having physical media is a great advantage.”
Having simultaneous delivery in digital and physical is a strategy born out of learnings from PSP and PSPgo,” said House.
What we are saying is that all games that appear physically will be made available digitally. Not necessarily all games have to be made available physically. Having the option of a digital-only method affords more creative risk-taking, and that's because you don't have that risk of physical inventory associated with it.”
Despite the digital focus, House says retail still has a big role to play in driving sales of the remaining blockbuster games, which will be released as flash cards on the High Street.