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Physical vs Digital Games


ctophil
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Physical vs Digital Games  

41 members have voted

  1. 1. Do you prefer Physical or Digital games?

    • Physical
      24
    • Digital
      7
    • Both
      10
    • Undecided
      0
    • I really don't care.
      0


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Hey Guys,


You all pretty much know I love physical copies of games. I am old school and grew up with completely physical games. But I would like to post a poll to see how the rest of the audience feel about Physical vs. Digital games. Let me put this out there very clearly: I dislike digital games with a passion. Sure, it's convenient, easy to download and play right away, and doesn't take up space in our physical environment. But I am willing to trade ALL those things for a physical copy any day. The physical game has many benefits IF you care anything about game preservation and owning a game.


First of all, you REALLY do own a game when it comes to a physical copy. You have the game right there on your shelf, complete with a box, instructions, disc/cart, and various other things if it's the Collector's edition or old-school game. You can keep it there for 20 years +, and you can play it at any time (20 years from now or not), look through the instructions and goodies for nostalgia, let your friend/family borrow it, and even have bragging rights. It's also easy to find the game on your shelf if you organized your games properly. You don't have to go turn on a console or PC to figure out if it's in your library. You can even sell it on eBay, Amazon, Craigslist, Yard Sale, or whatever place that you desire. It has a much higher value.


Let's take a look at digital titles on your PC, Xbox 360/One, and PS3/PS4. What if Steam/Origin, Microsoft, or Sony decided to take the title(s) off their servers? What if your hard drive crashed, and it is no longer available to download? What if you don't back up your system? What if you wanted to sell some of your games? Even if you could sell a game by putting it on a disc or just the hard drive itself, what kind of value is that? You could sell your Steam account to somebody. But how are you going to choose what games you want on their list? You would have to buy the whole thing. It's illegal anyways. It's a violation of the terms and agreements on Steam. On the Xbox One and PS4, it's even harder to manage something like that.


People, you must understand that you don't own anything when it comes to digital goods. You pay the RIGHTS to play those games. They have the right to pull those games out of service at anytime they want.


Finally, I love physical games for collectible reasons. I love reading, keeping, celebrating, admiring, bragging, playing, and even studying the history of video games by having a physical copy in my collection. Even the description on the back of the box is of great significance. It's like a time stamp of the culture and people of that time when the game came out. Have you ever read the description on the back of a Sega Genesis or Super NES game box? The way they describe a game is more fun and laid back than the more "professional" descriptions of today's games. The same can be said of the instruction manual, artwork, disc/cart label, posters, etc. Sure, I can look up this stuff on the Internet. But really, is it the same thing as having it on your shelf? Don't your kids and future generations deserve to appreciate video games of the past by not just playing them, but also realize that video games came from somewhere.


Have you guys ever watched Pawn Stars? It's all about people bringing in items to them to sell or pawn. Have you ever seen the guys at Pawn Stars take in digital items? I haven't seen it, and I've seen almost all the episodes. In fact, they even reject items that are not in good condition, or it isn't the first edition, is fake, doesn't have a signature, etc. etc. Can you do that with a digital item? Do you think the Pawn Stars will accept somebody bringing in a bootleg disc or hard drive with games on it? Or will they rather accept a mint, complete-in-box copy of Final Fantasy IV or Chrono Trigger? It's where the money and value are at.


Well, thanks for reading this Essay-size thread. I just wanted to let you guys know how I feel about this culture of switching over to the "digital world." I don't like all this streaming either (movies, TV shows, and games). It's just another form of digital goods. I also own all movies and TV shows I enjoy in physical format as well. Streaming can never be as reliable as a DVD or Blu-ray. As with digital things, it relies too much on the Internet. Let me know what you guys think.

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I think your title and argument are misleading. You seem to be suggesting that something digital is inherently owned by someone other than yourself. Which is false.

What your title should be is: Do you prefer physical or DRM-controlled games? since that's what your subsequent post is all about.

I prefer digital in pretty much all things, and have 18TB of hard drives to prove it (mostly comics and movies/TV, but several TB of games as well.) However, NONE of those games are controlled by DRM, and I may never have a Steam account. My games are mine to do with as I please, and will be forevermore, barring massive hard drive/backup failure. Which is just as possible as the chance that a fire might destroy a physical collection, but not something one should look at as inevitable.

The only difference between a physical disc and an ISO or executable installer or whatever is a piece of plastic. The only real benefit a physical release has is its tangible existence. That is to say, if part of your enjoyment of the game comes not just from playing it, but in holding it in your hands. Not in reading the manual (easily done with scans), but in manually turning the pages. Which of course is a legitimate argument. If I had unlimited space in which to live, I'd agree that having a giant room full of game boxes looks cooler than a small shelf with a few HDDs sitting on it.

BTW, this is off topic, but I used to have a massive DVD collection. MASSIVE. God knows how much money I sunk into buying DVDs of things I usually only ever watched one time. And now, I can't stand looking at DVD-quality video. I LOVE old games and even the most primitive graphics aren't a turn-off for me, because that's the way they're supposed to look. But DVD was an inadequate technology for accurately representing the fidelity of the original filmed images, just as VHS was before it. There's no retro appeal to watching a low-resolution video if a better option is available. So just because something is physical, it doesn't mean you're gonna want to keep it around forever.

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Don't get me wrong I agree with much of that. When given the choice I'll choose the disc. However there is room for both in the market as I'd rather some smaller indies release digitally instead of not at all. Resogun, Outlast, MM9 and 10, etc.

Being that I've had this conversation before I'll say not to worry about going all digital anytime soon. We're not seeing any of the cost savings so there will continue to be a market for used copies. The infrastructure isn't ready to handle it. The initial plan for the XBO was shot down by the users. And digital only systems such as the Ouya and PSP Go failed to catch on.

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Again, calling attention to THE DISC, as if that piece of plastic has something to do with the issues being discussed in the OP is misleading. Diablo III on PC could be purchased on disc, but you still couldn't play it without being connected to Blizzard's online servers, even when playing solo. THEY controlled the game, not the user, and that's where the problems in modern gaming are coming from - not in the format in which the game data is stored.

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The format can be a problem, but in the case mentioned above that's precisely why you never buy online-only or always-connected games.

Unless of course, you want to play those games. In which case, you either sacrifice your principles or miss out on playing something you really want to. Luckily, I don't like gaming online, so it's never been a choice I've had to make.

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The first online-only game I ever got into was Elite Dangerous and that was just in the past year. I really enjoyed it and appreciated elements that made it online-only, like being the first to explore something in the galaxy and then having your name on it in the system map for everyone to see, "First discovered by [pilot name]." In order for that to be a real claim, everyone else's game has be online.

I really enjoyed all of it until one update came that changed how the system map looked in a really annoying and tacky way, and I suddenly realized that I'll NEVER be able to have it the original way again. I always knew it was possible, but at that moment I really felt it, and it was very unpleasant.

For a while the game was very fun and I consider it a bargain for what I paid. No regrets. But I can't see myself paying money for an online-only game ever again. Not for a while anyway. Online games require trust that they're not going to unnecessarily mess with stuff and once that trust is betrayed it's hard to get back.

I prefer offline DRM-free games that can in principle be sold on any medium, download or disk.

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I really enjoyed all of it until one update came that changed how the system map looked in a really annoying and tacky way, and I suddenly realized that I'll NEVER be able to have it the original way again. I always knew it was possible, but at that moment I really felt it, and it was very unpleasant.

That sucks. I wonder is George Lucas was involved.

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And I was just watching the Despecialized editions of Star Wars a moment ago! They're very good.

Sadly my eyes can't unsee what they've already seen and the original trilogy will never be the same for me. I don't even really mind some mucking about so long as it's been done intelligently. I actually really like A New Hope Revisited. Who knows when Empire Revisited will ever be finished though...

If the game you mentioned had a fan following the size of Star Wars, I'm sure someone would have created a hack allowing you to get your original map back.

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And I was just watching the Despecialized editions of Star Wars a moment ago! They're very good.

Just acquired those very things myself last month. Aside from the fact that the sharpness of A New Hope is a little high and that each of the files are ridiculously huge in size, they really are amazing work. The closest we'll ever get to having modern versions of the unaltered OT, at least until Disney realizes that it likes having all the money in the world and releases official versions themselves.

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Unless of course, you want to play those games. In which case, you either sacrifice your principles or miss out on playing something you really want to. Luckily, I don't like gaming online, so it's never been a choice I've had to make.

I've never seen a game that met either condition and was worth playing. What's worse is when the servers get shut down those kinds of games turn into a coaster. Can't have that kind of crap in my collection. I mean even when BF gets old there's still SP.

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Again, calling attention to THE DISC, as if that piece of plastic has something to do with the issues being discussed in the OP is misleading. Diablo III on PC could be purchased on disc, but you still couldn't play it without being connected to Blizzard's online servers, even when playing solo. THEY controlled the game, not the user, and that's where the problems in modern gaming are coming from - not in the format in which the game data is stored.

DRM is really only one aspect of my debate on this topic if you read my post again. Therefore, I am not trying to mislead anybody. As DPsx7 discussed, there are certain PC and console games out there that do require you to log into their servers to play, thereby rendering a physical disc or a digital copy pretty much the same in that regard. I say that much is true. However, you still have a "tangible" copy with a worthy box, disc, and instruction manual to showcase on your shelf--a nice snapshot of gaming history. I have said this to a few of my friends, "How are you going to play a game that requires you to log on 5 years from now when the servers are completely gone?" I only bought a few of those online-only games to play with my buddies. But I still got the physical copies if they make them.

There are also ways to play an online-only game years from now. There are hacks available that you can just play the game as a single player, or fans will put up third-party servers to continue hosting with or without the game publisher's permission, depending on how old the game happens to be. There is always a way if you're passionate enough. So I believe personally, the person with the physical copy still wins at the end of the day just because they have more value placed on it, sentimental attachments to its enjoyment, and respect for the game. As I always say, a physical painting is many times more valuable to everybody than a digital one.

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However, you still have a "tangible" copy with a worthy box, disc, and instruction manual to showcase on your shelf--a nice snapshot of gaming history.

If you want to showcase your games, then sure, you need something to look at. Personally, I just like to play them.

For that matter, I don't have enough shelves, anyway.

I've currently got about 670 PC games on my hard drives (none of which are online-only or controlled by any DRM). And if you add console ROMS and whatnot...jeez, add another few thousand to that number. A physical collection like that just wouldn't be possible unless I had enough shelves that my home would be officially deemed a library.

I still keep physical copies of things that can't (yet) be played otherwise - my X-Box games, for example - but if perfect X-box emulation ever becomes a thing, I'll gladly replace my discs with virtual ones given the chance.

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if i have the option of buying physical or buying digital games, i'll go with physical 100% of the time. i display my games. i find them fun to look at. i could theoretically sell it when i'm done with it (who am i kidding, i haven't sold a game out of my collection in YEARS).

same for movies. if i absolutely love it, i'll buy it on disc. if i don't, then downloading/pirating/streaming will be fine.

music is all digital, tho

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if i have the option of buying physical or buying digital games, i'll go with physical 100% of the time. i display my games. i find them fun to look at. i could theoretically sell it when i'm done with it (who am i kidding, i haven't sold a game out of my collection in YEARS).

same for movies. if i absolutely love it, i'll buy it on disc. if i don't, then downloading/pirating/streaming will be fine.

music is all digital, tho

My philosophy is this: I don't have much expendable income to throw around and let's face it, downloading something from the internet is nearly impossible to resist because it's easy and in many cases free. I'll download something to check it out, and if I truly enjoy it then I'll buy it. The movie Drive, for example. Last year I downloaded that movie on a whim because the description sounded good (I'd somehow managed to avoid any and all of the extensive hype that the film had apparently generated during its run) and wound up falling absolutely head over heels in love with it. Over the following couple of weeks whenever I happened to find myself in a store I made it a point to look for a copy of the movie and bought one the instant that I spotted it.

The disc has no noteworthy special features, isn't in any way superior to the copy that I still had on my laptop, and was a completely redundant item to have spent my money on. But you know what? I was happy to get a physical copy of the film in exchange for my support. The digital copy may be more convenient but the dvd is something that I can see, hold, and point to as it sits on the shelf, neatly displayed alongside all of the other movies that I love. That, to me, makes physical ownership completely worth it.

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My philosophy is this: I don't have much expendable income to throw around and let's face it, downloading something from the internet is nearly impossible to resist because it's easy and in many cases free. I'll download something to check it out, and if I truly enjoy it then I'll buy it. The movie Drive, for example. Last year I downloaded that movie on a whim because the description sounded good (I'd somehow managed to avoid any and all of the extensive hype that the film had apparently generated during its run) and wound up falling absolutely head over heels in love with it. Over the following couple of weeks whenever I happened to find myself in a store I made it a point to look for a copy of the movie and bought one the instant that I spotted it.

The disc has no noteworthy special features, isn't in any way superior to the copy that I still had on my laptop, and was a completely redundant item to have spent my money on. But you know what? I was happy to get a physical copy of the film in exchange for my support. The digital copy may be more convenient but the dvd is something that I can see, hold, and point to as it sits on the shelf, neatly displayed alongside all of the other movies that I love. That, to me, makes physical ownership completely worth it.

i know how you feel. i like to think that the movies/games/whatever that i buy, i'm partially doing it to support the makers. but that's generally not true, as i usually buy used because it's cheaper. but it's the principle, ya know?

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i know how you feel. i like to think that the movies/games/whatever that i buy, i'm partially doing it to support the makers. but that's generally not true, as i usually buy used because it's cheaper. but it's the principle, ya know?

Oh man, used sales. That's ANOTHER thing they're desperate to get rid of by going digital.

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i know how you feel. i like to think that the movies/games/whatever that i buy, i'm partially doing it to support the makers. but that's generally not true, as i usually buy used because it's cheaper. but it's the principle, ya know?

I'm the same as well. A friend gave me a bootleg copy of a movie once, and a few days later, I bought the retail release from Wal-mart. I didn't even like the movie. But I had two options, I either throw away the bootleg copy or buy the actual disc. One person doesn't make much of a difference in the overall scheme of things. But it is the principle as twiztor said.

That's probably another reason why I like owning physical copies of things. Digital seems so cheap and "bootleg," for lack of a better term to describe it. I like beautiful things, such as sculptures and statues, paintings, architecture, and anything with a nice design. Therefore, marketers usually try to make a game or movie box attractive in some way (although not that great these days) so people would buy it. I have this same topic on another forum elsewhere, and I was describing how the original Lunar: The Silver Star on Sega CD had like 7 variants (different disc artwork and instruction manual styles) of the same game. Some folks out there actually own all of 7 variants for collectible purposes, just because they want to own all the nice versions that they can hold in their hands and admire. Sure that sounds expensive. But what is money for, right? lol. It's for survival and the pleasures of life.

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Oh man, used sales. That's ANOTHER thing they're desperate to get rid of by going digital.

Used games are partially what drove me to digital. I used to love going to game stores and searching out discounted bargains of older titles. But of course, the store generally makes very little to no profit on those sales - they're cutting their losses. On the other hand, they can sell a used title and make nearly 100% profit, since they didn't pay anything to the publisher/distributor, and probably acquired it for a pittance from a customer who took a small amount of virtually free "store credit" in return. Employees at these stores were actually trained to push the sale of a used copy of a game even when new copies were available, since it was FAR more profitable for them.

And so, new copies of games became more scarce. You could get them brand new when they first released at the $50 price point, but months later, you'd only see used copies available. The unopened discount title had become a thing of the past (outside of newly published "greatest hits" and whatnot).

I don't like used games. I take care of my things, and getting a copy of a game with a small blemish (or hell, a pretty damn noticeable scratch, as the case usually was) would bother me to no end. But mainly, it was the knowledge that by purchasing used games, I wasn't helping anyone profit but GameStop or whoever. It made me feel dirty, so I quit going to game stores altogether.

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Used games are partially what drove me to digital. I used to love going to game stores and searching out discounted bargains of older titles. But of course, the store generally makes very little to no profit on those sales - they're cutting their losses. On the other hand, they can sell a used title and make nearly 100% profit, since they didn't pay anything to the publisher/distributor, and probably acquired it for a pittance from a customer who took a small amount of virtually free "store credit" in return. Employees at these stores were actually trained to push the sale of a used copy of a game even when new copies were available, since it was FAR more profitable for them.

And so, new copies of games became more scarce. You could get them brand new when they first released at the $50 price point, but months later, you'd only see used copies available. The unopened discount title had become a thing of the past (outside of newly published "greatest hits" and whatnot).

I don't like used games. I take care of my things, and getting a copy of a game with a small blemish (or hell, a pretty damn noticeable scratch, as the case usually was) would bother me to no end. But mainly, it was the knowledge that by purchasing used games, I wasn't helping anyone profit but Gamestop or whoever. It made me feel dirty, so I quit going to game stores altogether.

Yeah, I don't own a single used game in the last generation (Xbox 360, PS3, Wii) nor this generation for that matter. I support the publishers/developers by buying brand new, usually about a few months after the game came out (for the sub $20-30 prices) so it doesn't go out of print. It doesn't take a scratch to bother me with a used game. Just fingerprints or dust will make me frown. lol. When GameStop offered me an opened "new" game, I declined because somebody at GameStop has already put fingerprints and sweat on it. :-) This is the main reason why I don't shop at GameStop at all. They will push used games on you like your life depends on it.

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