Full Steam Ahead: How Digital Will Kill the Disc

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Full Steam Ahead: How Digital Will Kill the Disc

Digital downloads are the future, but maybe not for the reason you think.

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I would enjoy having the same rights of ownership to digital media as I have to physical copies.
That is my main reason why I am not as optimistic about Digital killing the Disc and would still prefer physical editions.

(Steam-) Sales are kind of making up for that reduced value by having early markdowns on fairly new games.
It is easier to store and purchase games, but you are not getting software in the common sense but a non-transferrable license tied to you personal.

I'm not comfortable with everything being digital; then we're just one EMP/gamma ray burst/solar flare/spilled cup of coffee away from total loss of everything.

Wow... So because it's more expensive to live in a smaller space in the city, that means the disc needs to die?

I bought a house with 1100 sq ft of living space and another 1100 sq ft in storage (basements are the best) for less than 90k. Three bedrooms, two full baths, and plenty of space for all of my games.

You're living in the wrong area, and paying through the nose to do it.

I'm actually not against digital stuff. But until region-locks are done with, we're given more ownership (a solid refund policy would be golden), lower prices compared to physical copies (which can actually be done now. Digital Vita titles are cheaper than physical copies. So why the shit does nobody else do it?!), and high-speed internet in more areas (running on an 80kb/s connection. Downloading/streaming doesn't work too well) since places with decent (and reliable) high-speed connections are NOT the norm.

Do all that, and I'll be a bit more open to an all-digital future. You know, offer me some value. Because right now it gives me nothing of value. And even when it does give some value, I'll still probably collect physical copies. Because there's just something I like about holding what I own in my hands.

Although I will not deny the advantages of digital games, I still feel that the problem of region locks is much bigger than it is being described in the article. Good look trying to buy the uncensored version of any game via Steam from Germany, it will not work unless you use certain means to make your IP appear foreign. Which is possible, and from what I hear quite easily so. But it is most likely breaking some rules that come with a Steam account and it could lead to a possible ban of said account. This is probably unlikely, and for PSN/SEN it is essentially even easier to create additional foreign accounts as they don't track IPs as far as I know. But it could still lead to bans.

And bans are what frighten me most when it comes to the all-digital future. Sure, there are services like GOG, but the majority of all digital games or account-bound games that I own at the moment are either bound to Steam, PSN/SEN, Uplay, Bnet, etc.. Which means that if my account gets banned, I lose access to all of my games from that account in an instant. This is substantially less likely with physical copies, which could only all get destroyed if the apartment I live in would catch fire, but even then I would at least get insurance money.

The risk of bans might seem trivial to most, but the way that for instance Steam enforces local censorship of games makes it almost in-avoidable to step into gray areas to download games. Especially since Steam doesn't seem to have a clear policy on the matter. Sometimes all you need to do is register a key from a foreign version of a game and everything is fine. This is really no guarantee however, as often these keys cannot be activated with a German IP, or are automatically patched to a censored version. As for digital games, well they at least inform you if it is censored (most of the time at least), but as long as your IP is German, you cannot get a different version.

Now this might seem like Steam is simply trying to be in line with the law as much as possible, but the problem here is that importing and playing foreign games is perfectly legal. Even banned games (within certain restrictions, they can basically only be imported for private use). And somehow I am pretty sure that it will only become more difficult and/or dangerous to get digital stuff by altering one's IP down the line, if EA's struggle with India is any indicator.

I do not entirely agree with the space problem either. In a scenario of changing jobs all across the globe -> okay, in this case, yes digital helps. Maybe it is because I live in a somewhat smaller city and the living space/price ratio is not as dramatic here, but I have a hard time imagining storage space for games to be all that problematic unless you literally own thousands. My father owns what must be hundreds if not actually thousands of books and there is still always space for one more. Somehow I can't imagine this becoming so big a problem, but who knows.

Maybe I will simply start to use piles of games as furniture for the lack of space in the future, because being the luddite that I am, I will probably try to buy as much stuff physically as I can for as long as I can.

Robert Rath:
Full Steam Ahead: How Digital Will Kill the Disc

Digital downloads are the future, but maybe not for the reason you think.

Read Full Article

It's a compelling argument for sure - I wince every time I look over at my DVD rack and see how badly overstretched it is, and the fact that almost nowhere sells CD storage solutions any more, and I recall how irritating it is when I play some older game on my PC that requires me to go and dig out the CD when it's all the way over there (i.e. about five feet away).

But I've made the counter-argument before; data is just data, but a box isn't just a box. It's not just the pop of a DVD case, or the look of a wall of media or the feel of a collector's edition; it's the story behind it. That's what makes my media collections personal to me. The entertainment industry want us to not care, to say exactly what you have, that the important thing about my limited edition Best Of James is the twenty-five music files on it and not the physical discs and carboard that make it, and definitely not the process I went through to get it. One Man Clapping would be an even crazier story if I manage to pin it down.

But that detachment, the separation of a work from its personal resonance (the ultimate goal of the media industries), whatever form that work happens to take? I'm not yet ready to take that sort of step. So even though I currently live in London, I'll still scratch around eBay for enough CaseLogic CD60s to store my music and continue to overjam my DVD rack.

I honestly cannot see this going down well on the Escapist.

I'm mostly a digital guy when it comes to games, I kinda just lulled into it when I started using Steam. Their DRM system is very mild, and it's more than made up for by their crazy sales. And Valve has a history of being customer focussed, since their private nature allows them to be, so I trust them to a degree to do right by me. I guess that's why I'm a digital person with games. At least on the PC, anyway, I'm not sure how I'd be on a new generation console (not owned a console in 18 months since my PS3 got the yellow light).

When it comes to buying films, I'm still a disk guy, mainly because I have control as to how I wish to rip it. Downloading digitally limits you to whatever format you're given by your vendor. I guess when mobile internet becomes more robust and ubiquitous, I'll consider a rental/subscription service.

Music, I'm digital, have been for years. Not much discussion there.

Books, I'm 50/50. Not sure why, but I am. Some things I like a corporeal version of as I like to show it off on the coffee table, others I'm not so bothered about and get on the Play Store.

Kinitawowi:

Robert Rath:
Full Steam Ahead: How Digital Will Kill the Disc

Digital downloads are the future, but maybe not for the reason you think.

Read Full Article

It's a compelling argument for sure - I wince every time I look over at my DVD rack and see how badly overstretched it is, and the fact that almost nowhere sells CD storage solutions any more, and I recall how irritating it is when I play some older game on my PC that requires me to go and dig out the CD when it's all the way over there (i.e. about five feet away).

But I've made the counter-argument before; data is just data, but a box isn't just a box. It's not just the pop of a DVD case, or the look of a wall of media or the feel of a collector's edition; it's the story behind it. That's what makes my media collections personal to me. The entertainment industry want us to not care, to say exactly what you have, that the important thing about my limited edition Best Of James is the twenty-five music files on it and not the physical discs and carboard that make it, and definitely not the process I went through to get it. One Man Clapping would be an even crazier story if I manage to pin it down.

But that detachment, the separation of a work from its personal resonance (the ultimate goal of the media industries), whatever form that work happens to take? I'm not yet ready to take that sort of step. So even though I currently live in London, I'll still scratch around eBay for enough CaseLogic CD60s to store my music and continue to overjam my DVD rack.

I could not agree more. Just standing in front of my collections of games/comics/movies/etc. fills me with happiness. Especially so for games, where just looking at the side of a box and reading the name of the game conjures the most entertaining times I had with it. This has occasionally even lead to me replaying games I hadn't played in forever, just because I saw it there. Granted, this occasionally also happens when I browse through my digital libraries, but it really isn't the same. I would only really look through those while looking for something specific anyways, while a boxed game could catch my eye anytime.

Right now, digital downloads face a few problems. Steam is perhaps the best service to get around a few of them.

1. HDD Space: Current gen games are ever ballooning and may start exceeding 50GB marks once disks become a non-issue. This problem is currently being sidestepped by Steam by having persisting library that may be installed and uninstalled as desired. HDD storage is also rapidly increasing and is already stable in the TBs.

2. HDD reliability: If the HDD is lost or damaged, you lose everything on it. Steam is also sidestepping this by keeping a persisting library. Something like Amazon would not recover the lost file.

3. Internet Infrastructure: Steam and PSN and MS Live can have all the best server farms in the world but there's one thing they don't have control over. The internet speed that the ISP gives its customers. Unless you live where Google Fiber is offered, chances are you're getting around 15 mbps or less. So a 20GB game is a signicant waiting period. A 40GB game (like Uncharted 3 is) can take 17 hours of continuous download time (as it did me). That does not include installation time. In that time, I could have driven to a store, purchased the game and driven back home and already be finished with the entire game before the download finished. Once this gets resolved, DVDs/Blurays/CDs will all be a thing of the past as long as legitimate online services offer a reasonable alternative.

4. Price: Yes, Steam is practically unbeatable during its sales. However, when no sale is afoot we can often get a better deal in the preowned market. Also, a borrowed game is free, but that's not going to keep storefront's doors open.

5. Tactile: As you stated, analogue does feel better. It helps consumers feel better about spending $60 on a file. This is something we simply need to overcome. Perhaps it's a natural trait that helps us not get suckered into bad deals like being paid double two days from now for a burger today.

FloodOne:
Wow... So because it's more expensive to live in a smaller space in the city, that means the disc needs to die?

I bought a house with 1100 sq ft of living space and another 1100 sq ft in storage (basements are the best) for less than 90k. Three bedrooms, two full baths, and plenty of space for all of my games.

You're living in the wrong area, and paying through the nose to do it.

They don't NEED to die, but if they do die then storage space availability will probably be in the police lineup.

It sounds like you got a place for a song, but that is just not how it works most of the time. Houses of a similar size run close to 300 k in my city, unless you want to like in a smaller municipality relatively nearby and pay gas and wear for a 45 min drive, but two trucks later and I may as well have lived in the city.

I've given digital distribution a chance. It messed up when Steam was down for more than three days and I had to learn how to run the cache files in an emulator. I paid for Half-Life≤ and no unreliable service will keep me from playing it.

To be fair, that happened when Steam was still pretty young, but it left an impression. The fact games have also been edited (say censored) with forced updates doesn't really make them more appealing to me.

I don't care about discounts and flexibliy, I want reliability and something I can put in my shelf. Reliability also means that I can play the game whenever and wherever I want, regardless of the distributor still being in business. Good old Games does it right: you pay, you download, you never have to visit the site again. Steam and the like however will accompany you, if you want to or not. They'll share every software flaw, hardware error and license problem with you, if you want to or not. Friend of mine lost all games in his account once, Valve only agreed to refund everything after he sent them copies of the invoices he printed out after every purchase.

Digital distribution might have some potential, but in its current form it's an absolute no-go for me. I'm a gamer for two third of my life now and saw too many companies and business ideas come and go to belive that just one of these services will last forever. However, the consoles and games in my lair (yeah, guess that decribes it pretty well) hold up pretty good so far. And
some of those are over 30 years old. Imagine the Dreamcast being as dependent on an online service as todays games are, the fun would have ended for good a decade ago.

Hell, I even went so far to buy a 360 just for the sake of having games that aren't tied to some third party service. After I made sure I can install updates independent from XBL, of course.

I just did some "spring" cleaning and decided to throw out a lot of things that I have no need for.
One part of that was getting rid of jewel cases, which took up one and a half trash bags(the kind you're supposed to use for trashcans on the pavement ~100 liters, weighing in at around 50 pounds in total(25kg)).

So now I have a binder instead, with cd pockets. I'm thinking about doing the same with all my DVD, blu-ray and wii cases, but I have dedicated space for those at the moment, so I'm not sure.

I embraced digital copies fairly quickly. I had a squeamish month or two where I worried about my purchases not being available some day, but I got over it. If I had purchased everything on physical copies, space would be at a fucking premium for me, not to mention I'd look like a social outcast/mental case whenever I'd have people over.

As for movies, I'm SICK of the commercials, especially the ones you can't skip. It's so dishonest, such a vile tactic that getting movies "other ways" such as a legally bought streamed version or something else would be prefferable.

When digital distribution comes up, the word "inevitable" seems to, well, inevitably come attached.

I love me a Steam sale as much as the next guy, and I have a lamentably large library. But I have to confess I find myself somewhat dubious about the prospect of a digital-only world, with regard both to its inevitability and the assurance that it is an unvarnished good thing.

America still lags behind on the kind of cross-country broadband backbone necessary to make universal digital distribution a reality. And I say this not that America is some sort of trend-setter that all other countries must fall in line behind, but for the more obvious market reality that America is everyone's favorite consumer. You simply can't sell Blu-Ray sized downloads in places where broadband is unreliable, miserly in its allowances, and can cost more than the electric bill.

That being the case, companies that want to go to exclusive digital distribution are in the uncomfortable position of justifying plans that look to investors like: "We want to spend a lot of money on an infrastructure that will enable us to reach fewer customers."

Regrettably, as the "cut off our nose to spite our face" style of tax activism remains in vogue, I don't see America's Internet infrastructure improving significantly in the near future.

In parallel, as I said, I'm less than convinced all-digital is entirely to our benefit. Sure, it's nice not to have to search for a disk- up until the server with your profile information gets hacked and wiped. Or you're mistakenly accused of playing with a pirated copy. Or a network upgrade at the server side goes haywire and leaves everyone without access for hours or days. Or... any of the thousands of other manifestations of good ol' Murphy's Law.

Additionally, all our technology has unquestionably outpaced our law, and even more so leapfrogged our legislators' abilities to comprehend the ramifications of the laws they pass, frequently aided and abetted by industry lobbying groups helpfully informing them of how they can best serve their industries' agendas. We continue to reel from the "You can sign a contract making you unable to file a lawsuit" decision of the SCOTUS, SOPA and PIPA-alikes seem doomed to make another round in the not-too-distant future, and copyrights that last a hundred years and more seem increasingly insane in a digital realm where five-year-old properties are ancient antiques.

I don't feel we should whimsically accept the "inevitability" of something that comes with so many hurdles and caveats. At best, we need to bring this into being slowly and intentionally, with a strong voice and a firm hand ensuring that consumers' rights are well protected and genuine functionality is the primary goal. At worst, we may need to fight this so-called inevitability tooth and nail, accepting the mockery of our alleged Luddite-ism as a price worth paying to prevent an ill-conceived future that sees developers and customers as thralls.

You didn't really touch on steam much...which I think is going to be a big reason why digital is going to become more and more prevalent.

Digital distribution already has some very nice advantages. Convenience (you can get the game any time with an internet connection, play it anywhere without having to lug anything around (just need any computer with internet...or eventually platforms that you can log into your account), most digital games have demos (although with youtube/lets plays that isn't as big of a deal now I guess), no physical storage space required, no needing to switch out DvDs/CDs etc for your games...etc.

But, Steam has blown all of those great advantages out of the water by allowing players to spend WAY less for games. More then that, it has also spawned many other companies that offer great deals as well like green man gaming etc. You can often get brand new games....for 30-40% off if you buy digitally (GMG for instance has a 30% off sale on everything right now). If your willing to wait...you can get almost any game on Steam eventually for 75% off...and usually that is 75% off a price that has already been discounted.

A game you would pay $60 new......is often only $10 on steam by the second summer/winter sale afterward (Still within the same year!!).

This alone would be enough incentive for most people to switch to digital mostly....but the HUGE number of games offered......makes it almost impossible for people to play all of them. This in turn makes it less and less likely players will purchase games as soon as they are released, instead waiting for sales.

While this may seem like a bad thing for game companies, it actually works out fairly well because WAY more people buy their product....digital distribution means that while they pay Steam a %...they save money in other ways...and even selling items for 50% of the original cost on average...they probably make about 2/3rds the price (due to no packaging, shipping etc)....and sell 3 to 4x as many copies.

The only problem I see...that could eventually be pretty big, is that steam, GoG's, GMG etc may be flooding the market. Most of the people I know who use steam etc...now have a TON of games...some have over 100 games in their backlog to play...and the list keeps getting bigger and bigger. Well eventually you just have a ton of games of every kind already waiting for you to play..more then you could play in years, so why buy more?

Digital gaming is the future in my opinion, but it's going to have to evolve a bit. The current trend for extreme low prices is probably only going to exist for the baby steps, while people are still being drawn into digital only. Right now..that incentive is needed as many people still prefer physical copies. They don't prefer it enough to pay over twice as much though....and as people get used to having digital copies.....many will come to prefer it.

Once everyone prefers digital copies...the cost will probably steadily increase. Hopefully never to the full price of physical copies (in fact, the base price for digital copies should just be cheaper instead of having sales etc)....but I doubt we will always be seeing 75% off on games as much as we do now...at least not within the first year of it's launch.

If you read up on the steam forums there are quite a few players who won't even buy a game till it hits 75% off now. Add in the new card trading setup (you get cards just for playing a game and then can sell them on the steam marketplace)...and depending on the base price of the game, you can almost get them for free.

A game that normally costs $20 for instance....sold at 75% off...for $5....with 5 cards available....and a low (very low until steam sale) 20 cents per card sell value....would only cost $4 after all was said and done (with a chance to get foil cards worth about $1.

I purchased system shock 2 for instance...for $2.50 I think I only got 4 drops from that game but one was foil. The foil I sold for $1...the others around 20 cents each...so end result was I got system shock 2 for about 90 cents.

Things like that are going to make digital more and more popular....and certainly speed up how fast it becomes the norm.

FloodOne:
Wow... So because it's more expensive to live in a smaller space in the city, that means the disc needs to die?

I bought a house with 1100 sq ft of living space and another 1100 sq ft in storage (basements are the best) for less than 90k. Three bedrooms, two full baths, and plenty of space for all of my games.

You're living in the wrong area, and paying through the nose to do it.

He's not living "in the wrong area." He's living in the only area he can, because that's the place his family got work.

My rent is so high that it's equal to my father's, brother's, and other brother's mortgages COMBINED. I live near D.C. I don't want to, but the current IT job market is such that the majority (~95%) of firms willing to hire a recent college graduate right out of college are limited to several major cities across the US. I want to live somewhere else, but if I moved there just because of it, I'd be jobless and homeless. Kinda defeats the point.

I haven't bought a physical disc since 2007. Its been all Steam and GOG.com. I'm very happy about it.

I embraced digital media when I moved out of my parents house. Carrying boxes with old games, books, magazines, cds, dvds and even a small amount of (now totally useless) VHS cassettes made me change my mind. Its not that I don't have the room... I just ended up having a George Carlin moment about all this "stuff".

I gave away all my magazines without even looking at them. I never unboxed my cds and left them as a relic of the past inside a closet, my old games are in the same closet and the few books I kept are as well. I bought a kindle, switched to steam and I don't even rent physical movies anymore, its all digital now.

The only thing I buy in hard form are comic books and graphic novels. But for that now I have rather strict rule of only buying the stuff that is worth taking up space on my shelf. I have a single self that I thought would get filled by the years end that, to this day (2+ years now), is not full just yet. When they make a Kindle Fire with a screen the sizes of a normal comic book I might make the switch too though and leave printed stuff for the truly worthy material.

To me, buying something physical is almost an act of appreciation towards that item.

I've pretty much embraced digital for most things although I will buy certain franchises (STALKER, Elder Scrolls, GTA) in box formats (not the collectible versions though) simply because I want to maintain the fact that my other purchases were all box sets.

For the most part, PC games now days are simply a DVD inside an empty case or a install card so digital isn't that big of a deal. Back when I first started buying games as a kid (in the 80's), the standard game was a treasure to open when you brought it home. It wasn't just a stack of floppies, it was a full colour manual with other goodies. Pretty much any game from Origin Systems (The Ultima series, Autoduel, etc) was like opening a christmas present since you always got more than just the game. The small toolkit that came with my Autoduel game was used for eye glass repair for years.

wulfy42:
But, Steam has blown all of those great advantages out of the water by allowing players to spend WAY less for games. More then that, it has also spawned many other companies that offer great deals as well like green man gaming etc. You can often get brand new games....for 30-40% off if you buy digitally (GMG for instance has a 30% off sale on everything right now). If your willing to wait...you can get almost any game on Steam eventually for 75% off...and usually that is 75% off a price that has already been discounted.

Steam is able to do this because they get rid of game sharing/loaning/reselling which means that EVERY sale puts money in their pockets and developers' pockets. Steam also gives game companies a higher profit margin than storefronts do. Interestingly enough, as much as we love our preowned market, it does have a significant impact on how quickly new game costs go down.

I just hope these sales keep happening. They do get me to buy a lot that I wouldn't have gotten before but I'm still not sure what would happen if no second-hand market existed to compete.

I'm all for digital media - I'm one of the guys waiting for a completely immersive cyberspace. The rapid computer-mobility expansion caught me when I was going through middle school, so I'm all geared up and ready for this mechanized future. But I want a few assurances before I can throw my full weight (what there is of it at least) behind any advocacy of a completely digital market.

1. The ability to install the game on our damn drive, so that if the service is cut off for whatever reason - server troubles, hackers, etc - I still have my local copy I can access and play without worry of being cut off.
2. The guarantee that if the game is shit, I can uninstall it or delete it or whatever and get money back or credit for another game.
3. Cheaper games on digital distributors. No excuses here, it's all ones and zeroes so once we pay you for making the game that's it, no shipping costs or physical copies or anything. You get all the damn money. Likr I said, no excuses.
4. The ability to share the game. Microsoft actually had a smart way of handling it with the sharing and giving system. Something like that, but without the time or the family restrictions.

Banzaiman:
I'm all for digital media - I'm one of the guys waiting for a completely immersive cyberspace. The rapid computer-mobility expansion caught me when I was going through middle school, so I'm all geared up and ready for this mechanized future. But I want a few assurances before I can throw my full weight (what there is of it at least) behind any advocacy of a completely digital market.

1. The ability to install the game on our damn drive, so that if the service is cut off for whatever reason - server troubles, hackers, etc - I still have my local copy I can access and play without worry of being cut off.
2. The guarantee that if the game is shit, I can uninstall it or delete it or whatever and get money back or credit for another game.
3. Cheaper games on digital distributors. No excuses here, it's all ones and zeroes so once we pay you for making the game that's it, no shipping costs or physical copies or anything. You get all the damn money. Likr I said, no excuses.
4. The ability to share the game. Microsoft actually had a smart way of handling it with the sharing and giving system. Something like that, but without the time or the family restrictions.

You have just defined the equivalence of computer piracy pending an alternative interpretation of #3. I say this mostly with #4 in mind. The ability to share a digital file without restrictions is just that.

It's a fairly good argument, one that I am currently living. I recently moved out of my parents place, and recently travelled across the continent for work, and abandoned a lot simply because space is at a premium. I have increasingly been taking advantage of the steam sales myself, and the last game that I havent bought digital was quite a long time ago. The worst thing is, a few years ago, I would have sworn I would never do this. We are, indeed, just an EMP or valve's bankrupcy away from loosing everything. Both unlikely, but possible. And yet, it has been impossible to resist steams siren call (they are selling DE:HR for 3DOLLARS! MUST BUY FOR EVERYONE I KNOW) and the lower price of many of these digital downloads has been (for me) physical media's bane.

Another factor that I've noticed that mitigates the problem is the prevalence of DRM: pretty much all disks have them now, so in 20 years, if the authentication server is down, you wont be able to play it whether you have the disk or not. The companies themselves have made the disk useless without their approval.

Another factor is the rise in availability of indie developers: direct download allows them low cost distribution, so obviously you wont get any discs from them. I dont really mind however, since most of those are DRM-free, and can be easily backed up.

The convenience argument can also be raised for television and movies.

Books though, I will never abandon. I have yet to find an e-reader that doesnt give me a horrible headache after any period of time, so I'll stick with my books. Tablets/labtops are even worse.

TL;DR: I'm living what he's describing, I see videogames/movies/tv easily going all digital as it is at least an equal product.

Edit: Some companies are also eliminating the usefulness of the disk altogether: when I bought CIV5, I had to download the entire game through steam. There was nothing on the disk. Which was pretty annoying, since we have incredibly low download caps in canada.

The end is neigh!

I couldn't help but think that if I'd downloaded all these games, storage space and shipping would cost me $0

I don't know where to begin to explain how stupid this statement is.

Okay, it costs money to maintain servers, so how do all these digital retailers get the money for it? How do they even make a profit? The answer is the games are sold at a slightly more expensive price. I will say this again and again till I go blue, there are cheaper alternatives like Amazon and hell you can get real physical goods with your pre-orders instead of some digital silly hat.

Games sold on Steam are not cheap, in fact, the only time they are cheap is when there's a big sale. New PC games cost £30? haha, Amazon does it for £25-27 including delivery. Also, drops are consistent with places like Amazon instead of temporary drops and hikes in prices.

I got DNF for 3 fucking quid brand new off Amazon yet steam sales it for £7.49 (with the 50% off).

I hope everyone knows that you can stack or pack the disks elsewhere and just get rid of the boxes, right? Am I the only person who took one of those writeable CD containers and just stacked all my pc games in there? I just stacked them alphabetically. My brother got a cd case that was like a book with four CDs per page front and also organized them alphabetically. Very nice and easy to search. Even kept the cd keys in the pockets. If anyone is reading this and are having the same problem, please consider such a purchase.

It's the boxes that are giving you trouble and cardboard belongs in recycling or in the fireplace. Not on a shelf unless it's particularly noteworthy.

But yeah, the future is digital downloads from sources that maintain your library. It'll be funny that I grew up with physical media formats. Records then Tape/vhs then CD then DVD. I suppose now it's HDDs and such with internet access to said content. Remarkable.

Game companies have proven they want to take away ownership of games and turn gaming into a "service", which EA has already tried to do in EU courts, so they're pushing harder for Digital-only because they can control it easier.

Xboned's DRM tried to kill ownership with the end of personal gaming libraries that required accounts and server check-ins to play them, meaning servers being taken offline or a new generation will cause you to lose access to the games you paid too much money for.

Digital distribution could work in in theory, but in reality a few people really screw it up for everyone who isn't a corporate suit.

So the physical will not die until digital can be guaranteed to be ownable and storable for play 20 years down the road... Otherwise digital-only is the death of gaming as we know it.

Frankly? This whole discussion is moot.

Why does there have to be a disconnect between physical discs and digital downloads?

I mean, save for a few Xbox360 titles, all of my game purchases since 2007 have been digital. Yet, every single one of them are currently stored on physical formats.

Every time I buy a game on Steam, or GoG, or any other DD service, I immediately install it to an external drive. And, with some titles, I further back them up onto DVDs.

My point is: Just because you're not physically buying a disc in a store, it doesn't mean you can't actually have the game on a disc.

In fact, if you don't backup your digital downloads you're being irresponsible. And, are just asking for trouble.

I guess what I'm getting at is that I'm perfectly content with digital-only. I have no issue with paying $20-$50 on a collection of digital files. Especially when one considers that, in reality, that is all you're getting when you buy a disc.

While you are right vigormortis, it doesnt solve the main problem, which is that the games will be unusable without the game company at the other end. I backup all the GOG/indie games I can, but steam games? I cant play them without steam anyway, so I dont see the point. Heck, even steam offline mode doesnt work if you dont have the "latest version of the game". But ya, it's hard to be against "digital only" when even the physical copies (DVD) wont work without the server at the other end. I think the newest game I have on disk without DRM is the first Assassins Creed. Everything else needs some sort of web connection.

And I'm getting the impression (from mad825) that amazon uk must be much more generous that amazon canada. I've not seen many strong amazon sales for disc based stuff (for PC anyway). Sigh.

Why can't we just have both! I'm getting bored of this debate, because until the infrastructure is really there, most people in the world won't be able to use digital as a means to get everything.

The statistics I just looked up seemed to say that in north america, there is 25-30 broadband subscriptions for every 100 people, and everybody else gets the truck driver's salute? Ya, I don't see it. Not anytime soon, especially not for 40 gig games, that shit would take me 7 hours to download, and I live in a major city with upgraded internet.

Don't get me wrong, I love my digital library of games(PC, PSN, XBL), but I think I can count the number of titles that are bigger than 2 gigs on one hand. It's just not worth it, if they'd give me a bigger hard drive with my consoles, maybe I would've impulse-bought a few more titles, but I don't expect they'll ever include a hard drive that holds more than 8 full titles of varying size comfortably. Obviously I'm not playing 8 games even within a three-month period, but if I ever want to go back and play one of those old games, that's a 3 - 7 hour download I have to sit through... or I could just dig out the disc. Hmmmm... tough call... :/

Yeah if I lived in a tiny place in Hong Kong, and shared this space with 3+ people, I might change my tune. But like others have already said, laws haven't caught up with technology, and companies haven't really either. So inevitable seems a long ways off.

mad825:
Okay, it costs money to maintain servers, so how do all these digital retailers get the money for it? How do they even make a profit? The answer is the games are sold at a slightly more expensive price.

Sorry, that's just a lie that big companies like to tell people. Its to make people feel better for paying full price for a digital copy.

I'm no expert, but I'm pretty sure even a monster server doesn't cost as much as renting a small kiosk in a mall or something and paying for staff. When you factor in how many more customers that server can sell to, the price is pretty insignificant.

But keep in mind that just made your argument that much stronger. :)

There will always always always be people who want physical copies of their games. Sure digital is all well and good. Like if you have a house fire that wipes out all your games, It be nice to have a digital copy. Look at what CDProject Red did with witcher 2. I bough a hard copy of the game and got the digital one free. More of that would be a nice gesture from companies but you know how that goes.

Lightknight:

wulfy42:
But, Steam has blown all of those great advantages out of the water by allowing players to spend WAY less for games. More then that, it has also spawned many other companies that offer great deals as well like green man gaming etc. You can often get brand new games....for 30-40% off if you buy digitally (GMG for instance has a 30% off sale on everything right now). If your willing to wait...you can get almost any game on Steam eventually for 75% off...and usually that is 75% off a price that has already been discounted.

Steam is able to do this because they get rid of game sharing/loaning/reselling which means that EVERY sale puts money in their pockets and developers' pockets. Steam also gives game companies a higher profit margin than storefronts do. Interestingly enough, as much as we love our preowned market, it does have a significant impact on how quickly new game costs go down.

I just hope these sales keep happening. They do get me to buy a lot that I wouldn't have gotten before but I'm still not sure what would happen if no second-hand market existed to compete.

It's kinda like getting someone addicted to drugs, give them a taste for free, or very cheap, and then once they are addicted (and especially once you corner the market so they have to come to you), you ramp up the price.

One minor advantage though is that there are many different sources of digital games coming out now. Steam is not the only kid on the block. so it's kinda like having a bunch of drug dealers all competing for the addicts sales.

As good as the deals on steam are....there are quite a few even better deals, like humble bundles, indie bundles etc...that can often blow even 75% steam sales out of the water. You can get all the RIP games, a bunch of other games that are like it etc...for $1 on one website...or all the zombie shooter games for a dollar as well etc. That is less then you pay for even one of the games on steam...even at 75% off. As long as there is competition, the prices may stay fairly low.

I have several collections of physical media. The one true fact about all of them is the MPAA/RIAA and the hated publishers and console manufactures will not be able to remove them from my possession. Either through dropping servers, malfeasance or stupidity these items are still mine.

When the SCOTUS decides that digital copies are mine to do with as I will then I might reconsider. But a $90 moving bill is less than two release date games or one release date game and its DLC. So your arguments are basically nonsense.

I don't care for only digital unless they go no drm too otherwise I'm basically investing in a distribution service with the hope that it doesn't eventually fuck me by changing terms of service or becoming all around shitty and unpleasant to use. Switching would be a huge fucking pain if I've already bought $100s worth of stuff from some service. I'm an android guy now, but if I switch to something else? I'd lose all my Google play movies, music, whatever. Too bad there's no gog for videos cause until then, there won't be a service getting any money from me

TiberiusEsuriens:

FloodOne:
Wow... So because it's more expensive to live in a smaller space in the city, that means the disc needs to die?

I bought a house with 1100 sq ft of living space and another 1100 sq ft in storage (basements are the best) for less than 90k. Three bedrooms, two full baths, and plenty of space for all of my games.

You're living in the wrong area, and paying through the nose to do it.

He's not living "in the wrong area." He's living in the only area he can, because that's the place his family got work.

My rent is so high that it's equal to my father's, brother's, and other brother's mortgages COMBINED. I live near D.C. I don't want to, but the current IT job market is such that the majority (~95%) of firms willing to hire a recent college graduate right out of college are limited to several major cities across the US. I want to live somewhere else, but if I moved there just because of it, I'd be jobless and homeless. Kinda defeats the point.

My brother in law and a good friend from high school both went to school for the same industry as you. One lives right around the corner from me, while my brother in law lives near the city he works at. My friend who owns his house, for around the same price as me, and commutes about 25 minutes to work. My brother in law pays a bit less than either of us and drives five minutes to work. Lansing is not a "major American city", it's the capitol of a state that doesn't crush its citizens with a ridiculous cost of living.

You are living in the wrong area. There are much more cost effective solutions to your problem, but you have to dig for it sometimes.

Captcha- Spend less with DISH. Fuck that, spend less on a home.

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