Steam came to the Mac the other week and ever since I see ads on Steam boasting that when you buy a game you get to play it on both your Mac and your PC. Now, I don’t own a Mac nor do I want to, but I have a PS3 next door and have more than once thought about getting my games for both that and my PC.
Whenever I’m buying a game that’s available on both systems the question is which one to get it on. Usually the PC wins that battle because it is pretty much the superior platform for the games I enjoy playing. That doesn’t mean though that I wouldn’t like taking those games to the big screen every once in a while or play them from the comfort of a couch. Alas I can only do that if I buy the game twice, which I’m very unwilling to do.
In fact, I can’t believe that there is a relevant amount of people who do that, so that can’t be why gaming companies don’t give us multi-platform access to their games. Maybe the problem lies simply in the technical limitations of consoles and non-digital distribution. Putting an extra disc into each box for each platform is hardly feasible and consoles simply don’t have the hard disk capacity for digital distribution.
What about the next generation though? Would it be so unthinkable to register the game you bought once and be able to download & play it on all your gaming systems? With something like Steam Cloud you wouldn’t even have to leave your save games behind.
I think this would be a clever move on the side of the console manufacturers as well. Currently my PS3 is mostly collecting dust because I don’t really have any games for it. If I could play some of my PC titles on it as well, things might be different and I’d be much more inclined to buy a PS4 when it’s released. The only thing that scares me a bit is that console and PC games would have to be at the same price level then – and I can hardly imagine that it would be the lower one.