THQ CEO Brian Farrell says his company is already preparing for a coming future when game consoles will launch without disc drives, and all titles will be delivered as streams from the cloud.
Speaking at San Jose's Cloud Gaming USA conference, as reported by GamesIndustry.biz
[registration required], Farrell pointed out that embracing cloud technology would lower the cost of the underlying console hardware, increasing the possibility of true mass market adoption.
The move to disc-free console gaming will also help developers avoid the costs and pitfalls of the retail market, Farrell said. "No inventory, no markdowns, and all the money spent by the consumer would go to the developer or publisher," he envisioned.
THQ is preparing for this post-disc world by focusing on the much-discussed "games-as-service" model, Farrell says. The goal is to create post-launch content that keeps consumers interested in a title for at least a year, as with a planned 40 weeks of DLC for the upcoming Saints Row: The Third
Farrell also pointed out THQ's recent experiment releasing MX vs. ATV
at a reduced price to increase the potential consumer base for later DLC, a trial he admitted didn't go far enough.
"What we found was, unlike free-to-play, $39.99 just wasn't low enough to drive a big enough install base to push the level of DLC we had initially hoped for," he said of the title.