Sony's Playstation Network to support pre-loading digital titles.

Here's some good news for Sony PS3 owners who enjoy putting those generous hard drives to use by buying their games digitally. Starting with next week's Playstation Move-enabled magic-slinging release Sorcery, gamers will be able to pre-load digital titles ahead of time.

This isn't any big technology breakthrough or anything — PC and Mac game distributor Steam has been doing this for ages — but it's going to make buying digital versions of new games a lot more appealing. Sony's PSN network isn't the speediest system you'll ever encounter and downloading a full sized game can easily take longer than jumping in the car and driving to the your local game store for a physical copy. Who wants that hassle?

In order to take advantage of the service you have to "pre-buy" the game in question. You then download it ahead of time and on launch day it unlocks.

There are still some open questions: do you get charged when you pre-buy or not until launch day? If you're a Playstation Plus member will your pre-bought games download automatically in the wee hours, the way patches and some demos do now? And on launch day is unlocking automatic or will you have to download some kind of small unlock file? When will the game unlock? I vote for midnight on launch day! What I don't want is to have to wait for the Tuesday Playstation Store update before I can play.

I suppose all will be revealed next week. Now I have a perfectly valid excuse to purchase Sorcery and stand in my living room swing the Move controller around, pretending I'm some kind of middle-aged Harry Potter!

Read more of Peter Smith's TechnoFile blog and follow the latest IT news at ITworld. Follow Peter on Twitter at @pasmith. For the latest IT news, analysis and how-tos, follow ITworld on Twitter and Facebook.

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