Really quick post today because I had an idea that was too long to usefully express on Twitter: If I buy a game on a digital download service, and that games gets ported to other digital download services, I should get access to it on all of them.

  • If I buy World of Goo on WiiWare, I should get it for free on Steam.
  • If I buy Alan Wake on Steam, I should get it for free on Xbox Live.
  • If I buy Bastion on Xbox Live, I should get it free on the Mac App Store.
  • If I buy Plants vs Zombies on the Mac App Store, I should get it free on iOS.
  • If I buy LostWinds on iOS, I should get it free on WiiWare.


Now before you go pointing out the obvious, I know this will probably never happen for a lot of reasons, the most obvious of which are:

  • It would require a shared backbone of sorts to manage purchases across marketplaces.
  • Developers often want to add special features to a game based on the platform it's on.
  • The curators of each marketplace have no incentive to give games away for free.

On the other hand...

  • If such a system existed, gamers would be more likely to buy a game that took advantage of it than one that didn't.
  • In general, if someone buys Game X on Platform A, they're probably not going to buy it again, so giving it away for free on Platform B isn't much of a loss.
  • If a particular gamer buys a game on Platform A, which is his favorite platform, and finds out he can also play it on Platform B, he might be more likely to try Platform B and start buying games there instead.

I think this would be a really amazing system, especially if the games could somehow transfer your scores, achievements, save files, etc. across platforms. Like I said, it'll probably never happen.

A man can dream, though... A man can dream.

AuthorConnor Graham