Even though Sony and Microsoft are both offering digital distribution services, people are still attached to their disks and cartridges. Why? Physical media is practically obsolete. We currently have wireless services that can transmit data faster than we could store it 10 years ago. We have gaming services that can literally allow you to play a game before you even have it on your hard drive through game streaming. We have remote game previews, game pre-loading, and user generated game updates. None of this can be done with hard copy games alone. Here are 10 Reasons to Stop Buying Hard Copy Games. Read the list and join the digital revolution!
Hard drives are simply faster than optical drives. Some consoles, like the Wii, actually use solid state drives which are even faster than hard drives! Not only that, but optical lasers wear down and break, increasing your load times and making you unable to play your game at all. Not a problem with digitally distributed games, making load times the first reason never to buy a hard copy game again.
Yes, even though we have Blu-Ray discs that can store ludicrous amounts of data, we are still seeing games that require disc swapping. (Final Fantasy XIII, we're looking at you.) Digitally distributed games can be as big as they need to be, provided that they aren’t bigger than your hard drive itself. However, it’s unlikely that any developer will make a 500GB game, and even if they did, that would have to be played on 20 separate Blu-Ray discs!
Backwards compatibility is kind of a thing of a past these days. Consoles are getting too complicated and including backward compatible hardware makes new consoles too expensive. Luckily, a whole new world of game streaming and emulation is being created, and this will be a huge boom to backward compatibility markets. If you bought a disc version of a game, you’d probably have to purchase it all over again for a new generation, but if you bought a digital copy, you’ll just have to redownload it on whatever backward compatible streaming service is made available.
You know what’s cool about the PC community? Mods. Because PC gamers are stored on a hard drive, fan communities can alter them to their heart’s content. That’s how we got Counter-Strike, Team Fortress, and lots of other big name games. The modding community has just started to open up to console games like Super Smash Bros. Brawl, but modding couldn’t happen at all with hard copy games… at least not without ripping the game data, altering it, reburning it, and then modding a console to allow it to play burned games.
If you have ever participated in a humble bundle sale, Steam sale, or good old games sale, you know that digitally distributed games tend to be a lot cheaper than hard copy ones. Even when you are looking for a old game, you’ll get a far better deal on Steam than you will in the used bin at Gamestop. Digital distribution cuts out the middle man, earning more money for publishers and developers alike, and saving you some cash as well!
Say you are going to a convention and you want to bring your entire library of games. With hard copies, you need to bring multiple containers filled with game case after game case after game case. Even if you bought a CD organizer, you're still going to take up precious cargo space. With digitally distributed games, you don’t even need to bring your console! Just add your account to another console and your whole library is right there. For people who travel a lot, this is just one of the 10 reasons to stop buying hard copy games.
If you pre-order a game from a retailer, you have to wait for the game to come out on launch day, receive a call from the retailer, and then head in to the store to pick it up. IF you pre-order it from Amazon, you still have to wait for it to ship to you on release day. However, if you buy it digitally, you can download it as soon as the servers update, which can be as soon as midnight on launch day. Heck, you can even pre-load games, or have your client install games for you even if you forget!
For those of us who own houses and multiple shelving units to store their game collection, having hard copies is a cool way to show off your geek cred. For the rest of us who are still eking out a living on barely passable wages and are stuck renting out an apartment from a sketchy landlord who smells like stale coffee and cigarettes, it’s a huge plus to have 100+ games take up no more real estate than the space on our console or PC.
Hard copy games can, unfortunately, become damaged. Your CDs can be scratched, your cartridges can get dirt in them, your DS games can have bent contacts, and the list of problems goes on and on. If you purchase a digital game, you won’t have the same problem. Your entire console can get dissolved by Martian space goop and you will still be able to replace it and redownload your whole gaming library (provided the Martians haven’t taken us over by then).
Finally, there is something enjoyable about being able to digitally sort your games. Instead of having to painstakingly alphabetize every title like you are some sort of underpaid librarian, all you have to do is click on a sort function and boom! Your games are sorted by title, amount played, most recently played, genre, and more in just a few seconds. Give it a few generations and you will be far happier that you chose this #1 reasons to stop buying hard copy games when your collection starts growing in the thousands.
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