Digital vs Physical: Video Games

Standing in line for the next release of your favorite video games series. Surrounded by fellow fans, engaging, chatting, debating over the recent reviews or betas they participated in. An over zealous gamer in the front of the line calls out a tagline from their favorite character, the crowds erupt into a rumble mixed with laughter and cheering.

The local retailer begins to unlock their doors, you are minutes away from holding your collectors edition of the game that you have been waiting 16 months for. Now you are in your vehicle and removing your treasure from the bag that it came in. You review the shiny embossed name running across the steel book case. Another one to add to your collection.

This is an example of the experience that many fans or collectors go through. This is something that is not replicated with a digital version of the game. There is nothing to fulfill your tactile senses. You may still get the same in game benefits, however that specialty poster that flips over into a map of the game’s fictional locales is no where to be found.

Now you arrive home, it’s late. You have your brand new game, some choice beverages, and you are ready to jump right in. After you insert your game disc and allow it to install and download any day one patches waiting for you. Once complete you are off and fighting mythical creatures. Weeks later, after you have completed the game, you friend ask to borrow the game and you reluctantly agree. Four months later and three request later, you friend finally bring back the game, fingerprinted and scratched. You are frustrated but you are that friend that is level headed and calm, so you will not make a big deal out of it, but inside the fire burns like Hades’ fireplace.

Digital you have a built in excuse, “Oh, I am so sorry, I actually purchased a digital copy.” In addition to this, often you are able to pre-download the game and patches to be able to start upon the designated release time. You don’t even have to leave the comfort of your living room. Not only that but let’s say you have cloud storage saved your game, now you are ready to head to your bedroom. You turn on your Playstation and start the game right up to continue your adventure. No fumbling with move a disc from one console to another. Sometimes being able to “share” games with other accounts on your home console. You won’t have the benefit of the gold plated coin replicated to match your in game currency but is the trade worth it?

Thinking back to PC games, physical copies are almost extinct. You are force to go with a digital distributor like Steam or Origin. Here though you can build your unrivaled collection of your favorite and most treasured games, along with the three dollar flash sale games that ended up just not being your thing. Expanding your hard drive to just provide enough space to not remove the game you might just play if you are feeling bored but would never play again if you had to download it.

When thinking about consoles again, what about cartridges? You are not worried about scratching them like the discs, so what is the negative there. There isn’t, as long as you are responsible and not worried about losing the very small 60$ cartridge that is Super Smash Bros Ultimate for your Nintendo Switch, there is nothing wrong with this option. Often you are able to get deals on the physical copies on Clearance games that would never be seen clearance digitally. In my experience the level of worry goes down substantially with a resilient piece of hard plastic.

So my verdict for me personally would have to be digital in most cases.

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