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Proprietary storage for consoles is bad for gamers

This post has been edited by the GamesBeat staff. Opinions by GamesBeat community writers do not necessarily reflect those of the staff.

Storage space is becoming a big issue for modern consoles. As games and movies start to take up more disc space and downloadable content becomes more prevalent, we need more room to store it all.

Installing a single Xbox 360 game to the hard drive can take up 6 to 7 GB of room, and Xbox Live Arcade Games are usually over 1 GB nowadays. We are forced to seek out bigger storage solutions as time goes on. Unfortunately for us, companies such as Microsoft and Sony like to take advantage of this.

Recently, Sony announced pricing for Memory Sticks for their new portable gaming device, the Vita.  Like their PSP Memory Sticks before this, they are charging rather high prices for basic flash memory (the 32GB stick is $130 MSRP, for example).

There has been a wave of outrage on the 'net ever since because the Vita will not support any other kind of storage — not even standard SD cards.

 

Sony has come forward and said that the move was for security reasons. While I can understand their concern for security (knowing that the PSP was probably one of the most hacked gaming devices ever), it still doesn't matter. Sure, proprietarty storage might slow the tide of compromised systems, but it won't stop hackers. Nothing will. In my mind, Sony is doing this for one reason: to make more money.

They aren't the only ones to do such a thing. Microsoft's Xbox 360 came with a 20 GB hard drive when it released; small even for the time, but it seemed like enough. Of course, the size we need has increased in the last six years.

Microsoft offered bigger storage solutions rather quickly but charged ridiculous prices for it. When their 120 GB hard drive first released, it retailed for nearly $200 even though standard drives could be easily found for half that price at the time. Since the hard drives Microsoft sold were the only option (legally, at least), we were forced to buy them.

Proprietary storage isn't a new idea, but it certainly is a hated one. The idea that a company can get away with charging ridiculous prices for extremely basic storage is unbelievable. Boycotting sales of the storage isn't really possible since the devices are much too popular (not to mention that gamers don't historically have the strongest of wills).

We are forced to wait for bigger drives to be released, thus reducing the previously ridiculously priced drive to a lower retail tag and achieving a happy medium between price and size. I, myself, kept my 20 GB hard drive for three years before finally just getting one of the new Xboxes that came with a 250 GB drive. Paying those prices wasn't in my best interests.

Early adopters of the Vita (and the 360 before it) will be forced to pay these outrageous prices if they need more storage. Those who wait will get them for much cheaper down the line but the number of early sales will still prove to Sony that they can keep doing this.

While I don't see an easy solution to this problem, I can't help but wonder why we keep letting them get away with highway robbery such as this in this day and age.


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