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HoC Opinion: Digital versus Hard Copy


By Blackwalt - Posted on 01 February 2015


Herd of Cats have discussed the advantages and disadvantages of digital media versus hard copy previously however some recent occurrences had me flip flopping on my previous opinion. Up until now I have always been a staunch supporter of hard copies without understanding the interest in digital copies.

I have a significant number of my primary games digitally on my Xbox One. Destiny and Call of Duty Advance Warfare due to Activision's buy last-gen get next-gen free promotion. I bought these when I only owned an Xbox 360 and future proofed my hopeful upgrade to an Xbox One. I also own Titanfall digitally due to a $15 promotion for the entire game with all the DLC included. It still sells at $29.99 for just the physical copy (with no DLC).

Two solid reasons to support digital media but what really got me recently during a conversation with SeanMCR was the disc switching between digital games and the annoyance factor of having to physically dig up my Call of Duty Ghosts disc and put it in my Xbox One just to play Extinction with you guys. No problem if I only had one physical game but I was usually playing my physical copy of Watch Dogs before everyone came online.

Note that as Titanfall was digitally, both the physical games Ghosts and Watch Dogs were obtained at a significant sale price. One at $10 and one at $20.

So digital won just because I was too lazy to switch discs.

Or did it...

Shortly after the conversation with SeanMCR I got to the point that I was finished with Watch Dogs and I was looking for another cheap single player game to continue my alone time. For over a week I looked around with Coxxorz's help and found nothing for less than $39.99. Well above my previous set price point.

Then I had a chance encounter with my neighbour. My neighbour from this story. I mentioned that I was looking for something to play and wondered if he had anything I could borrow.

This is how I ended up with physical copies of Wolfenstein: the New Order and Dead Rising 3 on loan.

On loan. Something difficult to do with a digital download. Well, okay, impossible to do with a digital download.

Of course, my neighbour has asked to borrow my copy of Ghosts which was a problem as I am still actively playing it. I said something along the line of "he could pry it out of my cold dead hands!" Something like that. He understood but if anyone had an extra Xbox One copy of Ghosts lying around it would really help me out.

So the simple happenstance of borrowing two games from my neighbour has put me, once again, firmly on the side of physical media. I can survive the additional strenuous effort of switching game discs if it still allows me to play some games for free.

Please note I was always planning on buying Dead Rising 3 for coop with Coxxorz but Wolfenstein: the New Order was never on my radar. Boy is ever on my radar now. Wolfenstein: the New Order is an extremely good game and I am having a blast playing it. A bit old school but that doesn't seem to bother me at all as I am pushing my way through Chapter 14 right now.

So who wins between Digital Download versus Physical Media?

Physical Media!

No contest and my previous opinion remains intact withstanding a brief but minor fluctuation.

SeanmcR6's picture

One day, sooner rather than later, one of the big game developers will go digital only. It will suck. People will lose their minds. Online death threats will be abound. Within a year, all the other major developers will follow suit. Within 2 years, everyone under the age of 17 will have forgotten physical media ever existed.

This industry, like any other, is all about money. If you sold a million copies..and half a million people waited for used copies to buy...moving to digital only is a smart business move. Even if only 10% of those people who would have waited for used copies, buys a digital copy instead, it's money in the Game Dev's pocket. Not Gamestop.

My only complaint is that digital costs the same. I think physical media should be $70. Covers some losses from shared games. Make digital $50. Majority will move to digital, which is what they want anyway. I know they will never do this. Instead they will try to market the digital versions with intangible extras, like bonus in game content, which really should have just been game content.

Enjoy your freebies now Blackwalt, digital only is coming and not even Cpt. Pickard can stop it.

http://www.anatomyofnorbiton.org/images/picard-locutus-fs.png

Stormblade's picture

Time for Monty Python!

Stormblade's picture

Has been for years. No contest. I can't stand dealing with disks and frankly never would if I had a choice. I have three XBox One games in disk form and hopefully that will be all I ever have. Unfortunately two of those are the games I play most frequently at the moment. This is a serious irritation and I curse both of them when I have to switch.

Digital Media Forever!

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