Pretty, pretty game disks.
Digital games have been making waves in the gaming industry for quite some time, and have been gaining even more traction with the introduction of the PS4 and Xbox One this generation. With every game being available in digital as well as physical formats, the convenience of owning a game that can be played without a disk is obvious.
However, I’m not entirely sold on going all digital for my gaming collection, and it will take quite some time and many changes to get me to that point. Below are the reasons why I’ve stuck with game disks over digital licences this generation.
Easier To Get New Releases Cheaper
There are currently many options available to gamers these days to allow them to buy new games at a discount. Retailers like Amazon and Best Buy offer membership services that offer discounts on new games to the tune of about 20% off ($12 off a $60 game), for a price of course. Similarly, many retailers allow people to sell back things to help pay for games, and even though the amounts that are offered in return are usually laughable to the point of provoking derision from competitors, it’s an option nonetheless.
None of these options are really feasible for digital purchases. Receiving a discount on a digital purchase usually hinges on the publisher offering a discount, which is generally only for PC games. Console players are limited to things like EA Access on Xbox One, which only gives a 10% discount on EA published games. This might change with the Xbox Game Pass, but the digital discounts will only apply to games that are part of that service. Buying new games at launch is only reliably cheaper by purchasing physical copies.
Less Risk Of Not Being Able To Play
Playing while a console is supported carries many benefits. The services offered are still in place, games can be patched by developers, and multiplayer is still available. Granted, these are recent concerns for only the console gamer, but they are still legitimate concerns.
Consider this though. Back when Konami released the Silent Hills playable trailer, people were ecstatic to play it. So much so, that it was the buzz of gaming communities. Then Konami cancelled Silent Hills, and removed the playable trailer from the PlayStation Store. People that wanted to play PT at that point either had to have it still installed on their console, or know someone that did. There is no way whatsoever to download PT ever again… It’s gone.
This can happen to any digital game, though luckily it hasn’t yet. That future isn’t really possible with physical games, because you have the majority of the data on the disk. If sometime down the line, I want to install Bloodborne or Sunset Overdrive (assuming they don’t do remasters of them), all I need to do is pop in the disk and I’m good to go.
Easier To Keep Track Of Physical Games
I’ve honestly lost track of how many digital games I own that were given to me from my tenure at GameStop. In order for me to see what I have on each system, I need to boot up the console and look through the Ready-To-Install games.
Not the case with my physical games. All I need to do is venture over to my bookshelf (partly pictured in the header image) and look through my games. It’s a decent way to catalog my games without having to set keep track of them some other way.
Publishers Pocket The Extra Profits
This is a little more of a principle than a benefit for the consumer. Why is it that digital games cost the same as physical games? Without retailers being part of the equation, digital games shouldn’t cost nearly as much as a physical game. The chart below does a decent job of illustrating the breakdown of the cost of getting a game into the hands of the consumer.
Digital games could be cheaper right off the bat, but they aren’t. Instead, publishers are apparently lining their wallets with the extra cash that they’re pulling in from the sales of digital games instead of trying to pass any savings onto the consumer; at least until they’re ready to make some extra sales by cutting the price a little.
No Internet? No Problem
One thing that sucks about modern life is when the internet at home is out. Whether because of hardware failure, weather, or other circumstances, the internet might crap out on you. Well if you own a game digitally but isn’t installed on your system, you aren’t playing it until access is restored.
Of course, if you have the disk, you can just pop it in and install it. You won’t get any patches that are available for the game, but at least you can play it.
It might not be as big of an issue for people that live in areas with reliable internet, but as a person living in a small Oklahoma city where DSL is the fastest internet around, disconnections are fairly common. Having physical games means uninterrupted access to my entire library, and it’s a perk that’s extremely hard to discount.
Physical Copies Look Prettier
It’s a widely known fact that game cases have some wonderful cover art. Who doesn’t want something pretty to stare at every now and then? And reversible cover art? Who doesn’t love that? What do you get with a digital game? A thumbnail on your dashboard? How do you show off your collection to people? How do you brag about your games? By telling them to hang on while you start your console?
Do you like physical copies of games? What about the perks of owning game disks as opposed to digital games? Or are you a digital game lover? Let me know in the comments below.
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