Who does digital distribution empower?

Bruce has noticed the rise of digital distribution. This reminded me of commentary by Greg Costikyan – I recall he ranted in GDC a couple years back about how the next gen consoles will probably have no physical drives at all, as opposed to relying on Xbox Live and PS Network for all game sales. This in turn will mean that instead of having competing publishers who get to participate in decision making of which games get shelf space in stores, those marketing decisions will be 100% determined by Microsoft, Sony and Nintendo. If your game doesn’t sell, it’ll fly out from the front page of the store in a day.

Unfortunately I can’t find which talk this was in. I thought it was the infamous Game Developer Rant from GDC 2005 so I dug up the MP3 and listened if Crys had missed a piece but no, it’s not there. If anyone can point me to this, I’d love it.

The talk did have one classic line though from Greg, which wasn’t blogged (on Nintendo’s practice of relying on one aging designer over cheaply licensed devkits): “Iwata-san has the heart of a gamer, and my question is what poor bastard’s chest did he carve it from?

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