Submitted by cdrbedlam 779d ago | opinion piece

Why A Complete Digital Game Switch May Not be a Bad Thing

Would switching to a completely digital format for console video games be a bad thing, like death of used games or loss of true ownership? That might not be the case. (Culture, PS3, Xbox One)

cell989  +   779d ago
enough of these idiot articles, I want my games to be in physical form, so I can have full control of my purchased property
pedrof93  +   779d ago

In my computer I rather have my games in a digital form, in console I want them physical.
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Baliw  +   779d ago
Meanwhile in a future not so distant:

- Here son, your legacy:

User: Digital
Password: 1234

- Thanks dad!

badz149  +   779d ago
yeah, I prefer physical for consoles and digital for PC too as I can always resell and trade-in console games and I have almost 3TB of HDD in my pc and pc games aren't worth a damn physically too!
darthv72  +   779d ago
While i too like the physical medium i can understand the transition to all digital and why it is/needs to happen.

One main concern is will there be a platform around to play physical media? Meaning that records and tapes were prime in their day but have since given way to the likes of cd and even digital.

The ability to play records and tapes is still possible but it may not be for much longer. Unless new units are being made to specifically replace the old ones that will eventually die....the ability to play older physical media is on the edge of obscurity.

Now solid state has a greater chance of lasting longer than something that uses moving parts. Meaning if any game console could outlast the longest it would be the cartridge based ones. They really have no moving parts but they do use older capacitors and circuits that can dry out or leak and cause other issues. just check out Luke Morse on youtube for info on that stuff.

now current gen hardware, we get the best of both. Physical but also digital and with digital there is an advantage in the sense that if something happens to your system, you can still play the digital games on another system. You can play physical games on another system as well but what if....god forbid...something happens to your physical game? It gets broken or scratched...etc

There are pros and cons to the whole situation but in the end it is moving towards a digital release only kind of world. Many will complain about the lack of retail physical ownership but those kinds of kinks need to be ironed out and really addressed to consumers of what can and will happen if things go all digital.

If people can understand the benefits as opposed to the hindrances then the adoption of such a process would go smoother and possibly be more lucrative to people in the long run.
admiralvic  +   779d ago
"One main concern is will there be a platform around to play physical media? Meaning that records and tapes were prime in their day but have since given way to the likes of cd and even digital. "

This is kind of moot with gaming consoles, since they're designed to work on the system in question. Like PS4 / PS3 both use Bluray, but a PS4 game won't work on a PS3 and vice versa. Furthermore, you can still buy VHS players to this day from BestBuy / Sears / etc. That platform has been dead for at least a decade, but it still exists.

"now current gen hardware, we get the best of both. Physical but also digital and with digital there is an advantage in the sense that if something happens to your system, you can still play the digital games on another system. You can play physical games on another system as well but what if....god forbid...something happens to your physical game? It gets broken or scratched...etc "

Is that REALLY true? If your PlayStation 3 gets stolen and both your activations are in use, then you COULD be looking at 6 months without being able to use any of your content (Sony probably isn't going to deactivate everything for you even if you can prove it was stolen). You also lose the ability to sell, storage becomes a huge issue (ask ANYONE with PlayStation Plus and a Vita...) and your ownership concept is null. Finally, you don't take into account how OTHER devices handle the future / these changes.

Like they make devices that let you extract video from a VHS tape and make it digital. Every CD album I've ever encountered gave me the ability to extract the songs in a digital format. It's without a doubt possible to rip a movie and play it via any old DVD player. Even now, a lot of movies come with some combination of Bluray, DVD, Ultra Violet or some other form of having the movie. As we move into the future with the XB1 / PS4 not accepting previous gen games, we're not seeing the same thoughtfulness form companies. Just the continual complaining that they're not making enough money.

I certainly think DD has its place and is useful at times, but games have largely been different than the other media and will most likely continue to be.
DigitalRaptor  +   779d ago
I'll point out where I think your viewpoint is a little skewed.

An all digital future is something that sounds cosy on paper, but as time marches on the cracks begin to appear in what we've built for ourselves.

1) With backwards compatibility on console currently in the shitter, and games being built specifically for console hardware, this is a non-issue.

2) The discs you'll be using are scratch resistant. I've never managed to scratch a disc in my PS3 collection and that's without even taking good care of them (leaving them face down on wooden floor/carpet). If you manage to lose or snap a disc, then can we not say the same for everything else in this world? Might as well digitize EVERYTHING in that case, so we don't break it all.

I'd ask you to stop cheerleading an obtuse lack of ownership - it's not a healthy thing when you ACTUALLY consider the long-term impact of this, despite your perceived value in convenience or lucrativeness. It's a "head in the clouds" mentality. There is no completely and positively overarching outcome to this, and the negatives appear without even attempting to point them out.

What kinks can be ironed out in destroying the culture of choice and expression in physical ownership, collecting, gifting, presentation, art etc. to be replaced by sterile, intangible 'convenience' ??

The future is flexibility, not restriction. And I do understand what you mean by 'kinks' and asking people to consider the positives, but the bottom line is, you are painting us a future where somehow, not owning something and not being able to do what you want with your purchase, is a really really fantastic thing for human kind.
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Deadpoolio  +   779d ago
@admiralvic: The PS3 is NOT the 360 and I'm sure neither is the PS4....It doesn't take 6 months to activate or transfer content...It literally takes 2 seconds of logging into SEN and deactivating it....There is no MS like timeframe 2 seconds of deactivate and then activate...They don't care, nor does it involve calling them
HammadTheBeast  +   779d ago
Unless they make digital games $30 or less,they can f*** off.
redwin  +   779d ago
I think they will all cost the same whe they first come out but I think they will be more affordable quicker. Like 2 to 3 months later depending how it sells.
kayoss  +   779d ago
Have the author of this article heard of the PSP GO? It went full digital and now dead. You never go full Digital.

In all seriousness. They claim that going digital will make games cheaper, So far that is not true. There are a few problem going full digital...
1. HDD space. Current Gen games are now 5-40gb each and i cant imagine how large next gen games will be but there are not enough HDD space to store all your games.
2. Internet cap: Lots of internet provider are implementing cap on the amount you use per month.
3. Bandwidth: not everyone have high speed internet, in fact I think only 25% of U.S residents have high speed internet.
4. Resale: with digital you can not resale your games. Most gamers resell their games after they have completed it. With Digital, you either keep it in your hard drive or delete it.
Mea Maxima Culpa  +   779d ago
I totally agree. Not to mention after trying to download Hitman this month (17GB) and only getting 1MB per sec from PSN on a 50 Mb connection sucks.

Then, I when I went to install and it was corrupted so I had to download again!!

Imagine trying to download a 50GB game... I definately do NOT want this until PSN can provide much faster downloads.

Also, I would rather have some of the data on an 8x Blu-ray so I don't have to use up hard drive space that is not needed.
cell989  +   779d ago
plus this will be more of an excuse for developers to release unfinished games, theyll rely too much on network patches
Deadpoolio  +   779d ago
Yeah ummm thats your crap internet not PSN unless you ingeniously decided that you were going to download it the minute it was up when you have a million other people downloading it all at the same time....You do also realize that your internet speed is probably like everyone else on the planets *speeds up to*, and I would bet your using wireless which is even more garbage since wireless is NOT stable, either way the only time you can ever think about close to 50 is in the middle of the night....

I also downloaded Hitman at my girls house and she only gets 30mb and it took about 20 minutes if that, stop using your garbage wireless and claiming it's PSN
Godz Kastro  +   779d ago
I was going full digital no matter what console I went with, that's why X1 policies never bothered me.
Grown Folks Talk  +   779d ago
Apparently you weren't seeing as how someone clicked disagree. It's a good thing people on N4G know what you'd do more so than you do.

Original policies didn't impact me either. TBH, they didn't impact most of the complainers. Just complained on principle. A 24 hr check only impacts someone who doesn't have internet at all. You can easily connect once in a 24 hour period unless your power is out. But if your power is out...
dktxx2  +   779d ago
Its the choice that matters. I'm fully digital because I accept the risks associated with buying digital games. I choose to do that because I have a reliable internet connection and I don't mind minor forms of drm. MS didn't give people the choice. That's the big difference. There's no reason they couldn't of done both.
Deadpoolio  +   779d ago
Really cause I have FiOS at my house and recently Verizon screwed something up and I didn't have internet for 2.5 days, IF there were retarded check ins everyone in my neighborhood with verizon would have been screwed....But then again the MS asskissers are A OK with crap even when their connection goes down for days and they cant play a game....

Funny though I have like 60-65 FULL RETAIL PS3 games that I've purchased on my HDD and yet didn't need dark age anti consumer restrictions to purchase them, but you go ahead and believe those policies were needed
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Grown Folks Talk  +   779d ago
I have full retail games on my hard drive. The difference... we downloaded those games directly with our profiles. We didn't buy a disc, install it, & play w/o the disc on the hard drive. The checks would prevent me installing it, then giving the disc to my offline buddy to own. Internet being down for more than a few hours is rare outside power outages.
negative  +   779d ago
I love sitting on my leather sofa and swapping games without having to get up each time and fumble with physical discs.

Call me lazy if you want - but I love the ease of digital games!!! I rarely sell them too so it works for me.
KUV1977  +   779d ago
I am also going full digital. XOne's original policy was even kind of nice for me, since You would have gotten a case but with all the benefits of a digital edition.
dethpuck  +   779d ago
Same here screw gamestop
XboxFun  +   779d ago
It's coming. Both from Sony and MS very soon and all the evidence and the set up is there for it to happen.

I can see both companies slowly going all digital three to four years down the line.
DigitalRaptor  +   779d ago
Not happening and it seems to me that the only reasons you'd want to see that is to point and say "haha, looks like MS was right".

If that was the case, or going to be the case, music publishers would have stopped producing CDs years ago, but I wonder why they still produce them? How's that evidence for you?

What I see is one company understanding how entertainment distribution works and continues to work, and another company wanting to put a control method over their distribution means.
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Hicken  +   779d ago
Not very soon. DigitalRaptor is right that you WANT it to be that way to vindicate Microsoft's choice with the XB1.

I guess it bears repeating yet again, but internet infrastructure is nowhere near capable of handling an all-digital future. From ISPs to availability, it's just not ready. Not here in the US, and in painfully few places elsewhere.

Anything else is wishful thinking at this point.
rainslacker  +   779d ago
Here's the thing.

Even IF the vast majority(say >90%) decided to go all digital in 3-4 years, they simply couldn't. Internet infrastructure isn't there, and won't be there in 3-4 years.

Even IF MS and Sony decided to go all digital, that doesn't mean people would accept it. Recent outcry should make that more than abundantly apparent. I can't believe this whole, "Digital is the [only] future" mentality still exists after the events of the past few months. It is more than apparent that people are simply not ready to make that shift.

That IS NOT going to change in 3-4 years. As DigitalRaptor says, CD sales still make up roughly half of all music sales. According to recent reports, digital game/content sales don't even make up for 20% of all industry revenues in the console market. Digital acceptance for games isn't going to jump 70% in 3-4 years.

Why is it that so many believe that massive sweeping changes in consumer spending habits happen in 3-4 years? It just doesn't happen unless it's forced.

In this case, MS even realized that they couldn't force it completely, which is why they offered physical discs. They knew the market wasn't ready for all digital. How much clearer can it be that they knew this since their console was in essence entirely digital, yet physical discs still remained.

Digital will become more accepted as time goes on and companies find ways to make it more enticing for the consumer. It will be a natural progression that will have surges as new technology or business models comes out. But unless the change is forced, physical will remain.

I'd be damned surprised if any company was willing to try and force the issue anytime in the next 3-4 years, and I'd even be surprised if this topic was breached with the next next gen given what happened this time.

You won't see this switch until the market shows that it is the predominate way people are buying games. Choice is good. Why do you care if people want to buy physical? Buy your digital and everyone is happy.
kayoss  +   779d ago
I guess you havent heard that Sony is trying to develope a disc that can hold up to 300gb of info on a single disc. If Sony is going to invest time on a 300gb disc where you think their stance on full digital lies?
Remember, both companies are investing money into 4K TV and movies. Games will be next. If a 1080p movie is about 15-24gb, what you think a 4K movie will be? How long you think it will take you to download a 200gb movie or game?
JunioRS101  +   779d ago
People who are against DRM have clearly not tried Steam.

You save about 50% in sales in the long run.
wynams  +   779d ago
um ... Steam has DRM.

A better statement would have used GoG.com
JunioRS101  +   779d ago
Yes, Steam is complete DRM, that's my point.

People think 'DRM' is synonymous with 'evil'.

DRM is completely worth it. If you disagree with that, then I'm guessing you haven't used Steam.

Steam offers much better sales and deals than anything a physical copy could bring to the table.

I'm all for DRM, because I save way, WAY more money with DRM in place than without it.
Timesplitter14  +   779d ago
He was saying DRM isn't such a bad thing
DARK WITNESS  +   779d ago
except xbox live is not steam and there was no promise on MS part that having drm would mean we get 50% off prices.

infact ms pretty much confirmed that xbone games would cost the same as they currently do. if ms saw going digital as an opportunity for giving us cheaper games, why are they not doing that right now with the games that are currently available digitally?

Even when the games are on sale on xbox live, they are still more expensive then getting them second hand or on sale in the shops.

there is no reason MS could not have come out and said if you buy online the prices are going to be x cheaper then buying the hard copy.. but no, they didn't because they had no intention of doing that in the first place.

i don't know why people keep telling themselves that MS was going to do a steam but oh look you ruined it... dream on !
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XboxFun  +   779d ago
You don't know that. You can't say MS didn't confirm or promise that games would be cheaper since the thing never even got off the ground.

I'm sure when Steam first launched there was also no promises of games being cheaper. It took time for the whole system to be established to where it is today.

And what would have happened if MS said the games would be cheaper and then they weren't? Then the internet and especially N4G would have exploded AGAIN about MS lying to everyone.
KonsoruMasuta  +   779d ago
XboxFun, MS was never going to give you Steam like prices. Get over it.
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DARK WITNESS  +   779d ago
@ XboxFun

ahhh, I see, so I don't know that for sure, yet our friend above and the people who support DRM somehow do know that MS was definitely going to have great sales like steam and somehow it's our fault for complaining that they are not getting that... How convenient.

we could flip this either way we want, nobody knows for sure and that is the whole point ! MS should have made it clear when everyone was giving them flack over the drm issue, but they didn't.

in fact, the biggest fail over the whole xbo reveal was MS lack of clarity on so many issues.

Still, until MS prove me wrong I can only go on my past experience with them. 8 years on xboxlive and I have not seen them do sales on new digital releases or even old ones that is comparable to steam or the price I would get for a second hand hard copy. That is a fact.

DRM itself is not bad.. but in the light of what MS wanted to do with it, I found not reason to support it and I still don't see any reason to defend it.
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KonsoruMasuta  +   779d ago
Steam was is better than what Xbox would have been. Steam is a service where you download games, so of course you need internet. But after you pay, you can play them offline. No 24 hr checks.

You can't compare Steam to the X1.
darthv72  +   779d ago
You couldnt before but now you can.

"Steam is a service where you download games, so of course you need internet." Just like XBO

"But after you pay, you can play them offline. No 24 hr checks." Again, just like XBO.

so the changes MS made just brought them closer to parity with the Steam service. The advantage Steam still has is in price and selection.
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InTheZoneAC  +   779d ago
I went about 85% digital with ps3, as I have some games that aren't available for download.

When ps4 comes out the only physical disc I'll have will be madden as I get rid of it every year for the new one. I'll be looking for 2tb hdd's, if they even exist, as I've taken up nearly all of 1tb on my ps3 with games.

As for movies, I'll always buy physical...
dcj0524  +   779d ago
Why I might go mostly digital
1.Sometimes the disc straight up doesn't work. MGS 4 for example. Brand new copy. No scratches nothing. Put it in, black screen. Takes me back to XMB.

2.Scratches, blu-rays are very high-density and packed with data, a little scratch can break you're game

3.Overuse this goes with scratches. Recently I've been playing Ni No Kuni ALOT non-stop. The over use caused a 2 tiny scratches. when ever I get to that part of the game it blacks out, freezes or nothing happens.

4. It can get lost. You can't back-up a disc. Unless you want to buy the gamd twice. I can't lose a digital game. Corrupted ? Re-download. Lost saved data? Download from cloud.

There are more less important mudane reasons ( oh no I have to get up and switch discs!) But those are my reasons. I buy what ever is cheaper and used games are cheaper + I can get money from games I don't play anymore. But If I was at least lower middle class I'd go mostly digital.
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JunioRS101  +   779d ago
If you think about it, DRM is only a bad thing when there's monopoly and no competition, no alternative.

If Xbox and PS go full digital, those of you who have never tried Steam will be extremely surprised and pleased by the sales they offer you.

Max Payne 3 was on Steam for $5 this summer...
I picked up The Witcher 2 in the spring for $10!

You just can't afford those kind of sales with physical copies. I'm all for digital, as long as there is competition.
DigitalRaptor  +   779d ago
I think you underestimate how many of us have used Steam, and indeed it's awesome. But that sort of things ends with PC/Mac. If you don't like DRM, you have alternatives. Many alternatives.

1) Steam is not the only point of sale for games on PC/Mac.
2) Xbox Live would be the only point of sale for games, so DRM on every single game, with no alternative? Yeah... and a big no. There are no options in that scenario. And that would be Microsoft having 100% control over your entire game library going forward. Think about how much of a spend that will be over a generation, the generation after that, and the generation after that. Thousands and thousands, spent on things you don't actually own.
3) Microsoft is a company that charges you for free features, applications and content, and has charged you for P2P online connectivity for a decade. Their alternative to PS+ was 2 several year old games that most people have likely already bought and played. Competitive pricing was not going to exist on XB1. Period.
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dethpuck  +   779d ago
Until we see sales like steam people will be skeptical. I love digital for my vita and 5.00 off isn't bad
redwin  +   779d ago
I'm going digital with games w high replayability , online multiplayers ect. One week games deserve to be bough and resold or bought used. In other words, good values I will download, short single players ill buy used.
NobleTeam360  +   779d ago
Digital is the future you can accept or you can resist it but it will still come.
WeAreLegion  +   779d ago
Digital is great! However, 500 Gb is not enough, especially with PS Plus. Trust me. :( Externals will come in handy. So will Gaikai. ;)
TrollCraftTales  +   779d ago
As a collector, I want to keep physical form, I have every system I have ever owned, along with almost every game in a nice display area... I don't want to just have memory on my console to show off my games, I want the artwork and cases...
AdmiralSnake  +   779d ago
Problem is space...and also I don't like how ALL the games I bought Digital on my PS3, won't be able to transfer on my PS4...so I won't be really going FULL digital until these developers can make sure they find a way where we can redeem our previous purchases on the next gen console, or find a means of having our downloads cross over, Gaikai isn't the answer for me, I don't wanna pay for a service to play games I already bought and have available to download on the PS3....
mydyingparadiselost  +   779d ago
This is part of my problem as well, digital purchases should be transferable to the next system and so on if a digital future is what's coming. Not offering something of this nature is taking value away from the product. Also when you buy digital your games are at the mercy of whatever policy changes are made by those companies and that companies well being. If MS were to leave the console business after the Xone what would happen to the digital games. How about if Steam goes under due to competition from some other site, or Origin flounders and gets scrapped by EA to instead? Or you buy a system that sinks into oblivion like say the Virtual Boy? I the VB had been released with just digital downloads you wouldn't be able to buy those anymore and anything that was bought undoubtedly wouldn't be available to download again (remember just an example, I know no one wants to buy VB stuff anyway :] ).
AdmiralSnake  +   779d ago
Exactly! Bubbles because I agree with this over 9000%!

This is why I always prefer to have both retail and digital coexist.
thebudgetgamer  +   779d ago
Good luck getting brick and mortar stores to cary your console with no disk games.
Corpser  +   779d ago
I don't want to swap disks anymore, digital for me
kingPoS  +   779d ago
I've come a long way from how I view digital media since 2008. I can honestly say I've downloaded at least 500gb of content from psn. Demos Movies Tv seasons full sized games and even albums.

I guess you could say that PS+ was the final incentive that had me wanting to download a 15gb game. Don't get me wrong... I still like my bluray games. When both mediums can co exist It works out better.
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contradictory  +   779d ago
i prefer digital normally...
but the problem is that how am i able to redownload games that i've purchased from PSN or XBL after few years?

then again i'm not really a collector
( insert ME2 joke here )
as long as old games are available in the future services
i'm good....speaking of which...why doesn't european PSN
STILL not have P3FES...?
dcj0524  +   779d ago
It still doesn't wtf? I feel bad for you guys.
contradictory  +   779d ago
you wanna feel bad for us?
dude, we didn't have Chrono Trigger until the DS version in 2009.

and we NEVER had Earthbound.
atleast we had emulators.
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kagon01  +   779d ago
I don't want my games to have a corporate guillotine. That is the main reason why I'm against digital distribution.
PersonMan  +   779d ago
My Internet provider is starting to put a cap on how much data I can use in a month. Going full digital may be bad for me.

Also, what happens when the servers stop hosting these games and you can no longer download them anymore?

Will Sony keep everything online forever?

I like physical media because I can bring it to a friends house or even lend it out to people. I can also get some of my money back if I don't like the game.

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