Is digital-only gaming a good thing?

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Now we live in a world where we can now download the latest games instantly without leaving the house. Thanks to Steam, PlayStation Network and Xbox Live, it seems that most people these days are using these services to get their gaming fix instead of getting physical discs. As for me, I like to have physical games in my hand, the reason for this is that I don’t need to go online and play it, though these days you may need it if you want updates because games nowadays have more issues and need updating every day.

But is digital gaming a good thing and are we fully ready for it? Well we need to look for the advantages and disadvantages. From what I heard, people buy games online because it’s right there for them to play, some people don’t have room to store physical copies and having the games in the console is a great way to store them without filling physical space. But I guess the most important factor is that some games are digital only and have no physical discs, so you have no choice, though I understand especially for Indie games. Big companies would love to do it because it saves money on plastic, paper and whatever discs are made of, in fact some people think that one day we will have consoles that will remove physical discs and gaming will rely on you downloading games.

So, any problems? Some people can’t get the Internet for many reasons, considering that games these days have a lot of issues on day one, so some people will play games with many issues without any online support. Also, at the end of the day and this also relates to Steam, YOU DON’T OWN IT! Yeah, you paid money for that game but remember, depending on what service you use, you can’t play it on any other system, you’re basically paying money for something you don’t fully own, now let’s remove Steam and GOG from this at the moment and think of the other services, you buy it and download it and play it, but you can’t mod it or lend it to people, back to Steam, and most importantly, YOU CAN’T GET A REFUND…unless your Steam since they just recently implemented it, though you must have played it for less than 2 hours. Took your time Gaben! We also have the issue of space on our consoles, no longer do we have memory cards, memory is already in the console, and I don’t like filling up space for my laptop let alone consoles and considering that I have a 500GB PS4, that’s not enough based on games that have a huge amount of data.

So it has its good and bad things but considering that I’m mostly a console gamer who collects games for a living, am I ready for a full digital gaming future? Well yes and no, no being that I like to own discs, when I own the physical game, I’m getting my money’s worth, I mean £30 for a game I can get for less by buying a physical version is ridiculous. I feel like less memory is needed to be installed when using discs as the discs can add data to the console to load it when it needs to so it saves data (am I right?). Though yes because for a number of reasons. There are going to be some games that I really want to play, take the NES Remix, it got a physical release in Japan and America but not in Europe, so I had no choice but to download the games. Also, the only games I buy and download are PSOne Classics from the PlayStation Store and Nintendo’s Virtual Console for the Wii U, and I only buy some of the games for two reasons: they weren’t released in Europe or they’re far too expensive to buy the physical release and it’s the only way to get it legally, which is the reason why I brought games from the PSN like Gex, Castlevania: Symphony of the Night, the Spyro games and Cho Aniki (yes, that Cho Aniki) and also Virtual Console games like Startropics, Wild Guns, Paper Mario, Super Mario Bros. 2: The Lost Levels and most importantly, Earthbound.

But what about the indie titles? Well if you wait long enough you may see some getting physical discs, games like Brothers: A Tale of Two Sons, The Escapists and even Shovel Knight have physical copies selling and I’ll be buying those…and Retro City Rampage also has physical copies but they’re so limited it’s expensive.

So this is where I learned that some people have different reasons to download games from these kinds of services. But great news at the moment that people like me are still getting physical discs, for better or worse, I will always treasure them. We have a long journey ahead of us, only time will tell when we see the full decline of physical discs and it will be a cold day in hell when they eventually go, so enjoy it while it lasts because the young kids are going to be the ones who will determine how we distribute games and those kids look into the future further than we ever could.

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4 thoughts on “Is digital-only gaming a good thing?

  1. Totally agree with everything in this post! More and more games are being downloaded, especially with things like Games with Gold and Playstation Plus. I honestly think it will be a while before we have download only consoles, and I don’t believe it will be in my lifetime (I’m 25) reason why is that so many gamers still want hard copies and if big games such as COD and FIFA became download only there would be an uproar so much that they will have to release it on disc.
    I honestly hope that it comes later rather than sooner as I too am a hoarder of games, and I share a fair few with friends and family.

    • Thanks for reading. I will always enjoy physical copies. Yeah, there are still gamers out there who like physical copies. Though take, for example, the music industry, its been around for many, many years, we had vinyls, cassettes, CDs and now downloadables, the industry is changing because we’re changing how we use media, just like the film industry, gaming and even books. And of course, there are going to be people who don’t like change but at least most people have good reasons for things to stay the same.

      • However, in the music industry and the film industry, hard copies are still being produced. The idea of watching a film or listening to music online has been around longer than downloading games has. Even films has moved onto bluerays but yet dvds are still being produced. Until generations that were around before digitalisation are long gone will hard copies get rid. It will be the next generation that know nothing of a non digital age that will bear the brunt of this.

      • Good points. Going to the cinema is difficult money-wise because its expensive, so the solution is to wait and get it on dvd for a much cheaper price and you can watch it as many times as you like. Same goes for the music lovers, vinyls are becoming a niche thing, less and less people overtime ever buy CDs and downloads are on the rise. As for books, well…depending on what kind of book you’re reading, people are going to e-books, mostly (no) thanks to fifty shades of grey, but even e-books have seen a decline. How we want to observe and listen to media is completely unpredictable so we dont have the full picture of what people truly want.

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