Sony Turns A Boxed PlayStation 3 Game Into a Download

Sony's June 2009 PlayStation 3 disc-based video game inFamous is now Sony's June 2010 downloadable game.

As part of a weekly PlayStation Store update, Sony began offering inFamous as a 6.88GB download to PS3s earlier this week. You can get the game for $30, the same price it goes for new on disc at brick-and-mortar retailer GameStop.

Sony Turns A Boxed PlayStation 3 Game Into a Download

What's Sony up to?

A few things appear to be in play here:

1) Sony gingerly experimented with offering full-sized PS3 games for download in the past, releasing Warhawk as a download game at the same time it was released in stores on disc in 2007. In September of 2008, publisher EA released its Burnout: Paradise, first sold on disc at the beginning of that year, as an exclusive full-size download on the PS3 (and not on the competing Xbox 360). inFamous, on sale digitally a year after release, is Sony's third swing at this. While Sony has been experimenting, Microsoft has been releasing a stream of Xbox 360 games for download over Xbox Live.

Sony Turns A Boxed PlayStation 3 Game Into a Download

2) The inFamous download was made available the same day Sony launched the subscription-based PlayStation Plus service, which gives customers access to discounts, free games and — voila! — a full-download of inFamous that is locked as a 60-minute trial. It stands to reason that future downloadable Plus-based trials should also be fully purchasable by PS3 owners. We'll see what happens there.

3) Sony competitor Microsoft currently has a 30-minute trial download of Crackdown 2 available on Xbox Live. Crackdown 2 is an open-world game set in a city starring a super-powered hero. inFamous more or less qualifies for the same description. Crackdown 2 is Xbox-only. inFamous is PS3 only. With Crackdown 2 a week away from release, perhaps Sony is doing a little counter-programming?