Game4u, Milestone’s retail unit for PC and video games have introduced a digital download service known as downloads4u. Reporting for MCV India, Sameer mentions that as of now, the games available for download are limited to EA’s titles and few other titles from smaller publishers.
Titled downloads4u, the service allows registered Game4u users to purchase games and download them, much like EA’s Origin or Valve’s Steam. The accepted mode of payments include Net Banking and Credit/Debit cards.
To test out how the service works, I decided to buy Need For Speed:Undercover — for lack of other better titles I was interested in. The service works, but there are some niggles which detract from the experience.
For starters, there’s no landing page or a prominent link to the downloads4u service. Navigation to the games available on downloads4u is limited by a drop down menu at the sidebar which is pretty easy to ignore and dismiss.
The search results are pretty poor and there’s no way to filter only the games available for digital download. Once the title is purchased, the interstitial page was a rather bland page with title set as “Insert title here”.
The page offers you a direct link to a bootstrappable game executable — there’s no common downloads4u client available, so if you buy multiple games, your hard drive’s bound to be littered with bootstrapper for each game. Though the game downloader doesn’t have a pause/resume button on the UI, thankfully closing the app and then reopening it later does resume the download.
I hope the downloads4u takes some time in improving these. Price wise, there’s no difference between the digital downloads and the retail unit. With Internet bandwidth at premium and ridiculous Fair Usage Plans(FUP) among Internet Service Providers in India, I’m not too sure if the service will take off. Perhaps a discounted approach at the games available might incite the users to try out the service.
Overall, I’m pretty happy that Game4u has started this service — digital distribution in India is still at a very nascent stage and with initiatives such as this and from EA’s Origin, I hope digital distribution becomes more commonplace.