Speaking in terms of consoles, I don’t believe Sony is account based either, at least not in the way I would want it. I don’t own a Vita, but from what I’ve heard a game purchased on PSN for PSP does not work on Vita unless they’ve worked to make it so (seems to be a slow, trickle-like process). And, if you bought it in UMD form, it won’t work at all without some form of (yet-to-be-made?) custom firmware, which Sony probably views as piracy. I already use such firmware on my PSP anyway since buying UMD makes me feel more secure and backing up and playing with a digital copy gives me less loading times (best of both worlds). Heck, my PSP can even play all of my backed up copies of PS1 games with the firmware, which is even more amazing since Sony -wants- me to re-buy those on its crappy shop.
That kind of thing is the number one reason why I’ve been hesitant on buying a Vita or even a PS3 all of these years. It’s because they removed my ability to play PS2 or PS1 games unless I re-buy them from their online shop (and they are adding games in trickle, a portion of what I own likely to never be added due to licensing issues!). Maybe they’ll learn from Vita’s low sales, maybe people aren’t actually buying those digital PS2 games. I don’t know and, at this point, I don’t care too much either since once the systems drop low enough in price there will likely be enough cracks and hacks and custom firmware or whatever else to circumvent whatever they have in place to not let me play my backup copies of PS2 and PSP games. Games I have already purchased ages ago and will most definitely be playing more than whatever I end up buying for PS3 and Vita.
If they are selling Vita at a loss like they were with PS3, I could understand them not wanting me as a customer since I would actually be -losing- them money just by buying the system and Vita isn’t like PS3 in that it isn’t securing them blu-ray as a standard format or whatever either (more potential revenue in the future…that didn’t actually work anyway due to potential not being solid), but I don’t see this as the case. Even more baffling is the new PS3 model they just announced, which they are most definitely not selling at a loss and which still does not allow me to play my PS2 games in either a digital or physical format without re-buying them.
I have heard rumours that Microsoft will be working to integrate a 360 emulator into Windows 8. It’s a longshot, but perhaps in terms of ‘account system’ or ‘me being able to still play what I bought when my original system breaks, without having to re-buy anything’ Microsoft will somehow come out on top? And hopefully if that happens Sony and Nintendo will wake up and understand that what might be okay in Japan (at least with its more aged population) is most certainly -not- okay in the western market where more and more people are learning how easy it is to just get stuff they’ve already paid for and work around “buy this again!” business models. In the end, I really do think it comes down to age here, in that the older audience (more Japan than the west) by and large has no time or interest in learning about emulation unless they happen to ‘happen upon it’ or somebody else sets it up for them. Whereas for the younger generation, it seems to be standard knowledge. When I was in college, -everybody- knew how to emulate the old pokemon games (frat boys and all) and even the new ones that would come out and I imagine that this is even more true for high schoolers or even grade schoolers now. Most don’t know much about it in terms of the details, but thanks to social media and other modern things connecting that random nerdy kid’s knowledge to -everybody- school kids are the best pirates out there, in a completely sin-free, innocent way.
Sony is another Japanese company and Microsoft doesn’t get any consumer product right. This is why I referenced Sega.
I don’t expect to play anything bought from Nintendo off of Nintendo hardware. But aside from that, I do expect to be in full control of it. The old rules of the past no longer apply with download.
I’ve already lived through the NES lifecycle. Why must I have to live through it again? And the same goes for Gameboy, SNES, Genesis, N64, Gamecube, Gameboy Advance, and on and on. Are we forever condemned to buy Urban Champion at the start of every Nintendo console?