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Physical vs Digital Media: The Pros

By
Posted on April 9, 2013 AT 04:38pm

As more and more games are being released digitally on day one, we’re quickly approaching a day when physical media will become a thing of the past.  During this transitionary period where both methods of containing media are available, it’s natural for people to hold discussions about their preferred method of buying games.  Even more natural is for this discussion to quickly become heated as a person’s passionate opinion about their side of the argument boils up inside them.  With that in mind, I’d like to take a second, cool things down and put together a level-headed pros list for each side of the argument.

Physical Media Pros -

Longevity:

As time passes, we sometimes feel the urge to go back and enjoy a favorite game from  a previous generation.  In the last few generations, one thing that has been slowly disappearing as a necessary capability for consoles is backwards compatibility.  Especially in the downloadable form, more and more we’re being required to jump through insane hoops, pay a nominal fee or are simply being asked to just buy something again.  When you have your old console and a physical copy of the game, there is no verification needed, no hard drive space required and if I want to play an old game, all I need to do is pop it in and play.

Ownership:

When you own something, you retain the rights to do whatever you’d like with that object.  Having a downloadable copy of a game does not mean that you own it, you simply have the rights to use it.  It can’t be used on another console, can’t be resold when you’re done with it and, so far, has cost about the same price as the physical copies.  Having a physical copy of the game means owning it and doing what you please with it, which is great for those people who may not have enough money to pay $60 up front.

Launches:

This may seem like a silly pro item, especially with online retailers being a very popular place to buy games.  The value here lies in community.  It’s a really fun experience to go out and experience the excitement of that new game coming out with a bunch of other like-minded people.  With downloadable copies of games, instead of getting to chat with your peers about the new game, you sit on your couch and hit the download button.  You then, depending on the size of the game and your internet speed, may have to wait a few hours until you can play the game anyway.  Physical copies give you that gamer bonding experience and, barring a crazy required install, a more immediate gaming experience once you get home.

Digital Media Pros:

Shelf Space:

Discs and cartridges come in cases.  These cases take up a certain amount of space and when you’re a fairly avid gamer, it can add up pretty quickly.  Before you know it, you have entire bookcases, you read that plurality correct, filled with games.  This can take up precious room in your living space and make moving even more difficult.  With digital-only games, they don’t take up any physical room and keep your bookcase storing originally intended items.

Convenience:

Have you every found yourself wanting to play one game, but settling for another simply because you don’t feel like switching the discs?  When you have all of your games digitally, there’s no more need to get up when you want to switch games, because everything is conveniently located on the hard drive of your console.  This leaves you open to switch titles on the fly as often as you want.  If you dread going out to the store to pick it up, you’re also covered with digital as you can just hit download and stay in where it’s comfortable.

Damage-Proof:

Cartridges age, discs get scratched and both can easily be lost.  Digital games don’t exist physically, so there’s no way for them to become damaged or lost.  Since they’re typically linked to some sort of account, they can always be downloaded again.  Having this reliability makes it access and hold onto your games for the duration of that generation.

As you can see, there are some very strong arguments for both sides of this issue.  Where do you weigh in on this issue?  Let me know in the comments!



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