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Digital Distribution is a relatively new game delivery service growing in popularity, with Steam arguably being one of the most successful examples based around an online store. Consumers can purchase and then download games directly to their computers, game consoles, handheld devices, or even phones. Digital Distribution is often tied to an account in which billing info is taken. This account also retains all information of purchased games allowing the user quick access if a re-install of a game is required.
Digital Distribution Services
These only include a few of the many options for Digital Distribution.
Criticism of Digital Distribution
Digital Distribution allows users to purchase and download games in an easy fashion and without having to visit a brick-and-mortar store. Customers do not need to keep track of discs or CD-Keys, only their account information. Depending on the service and publisher, games may be removed and then reinstalled at will, as many times as desired. Certain distribution companies also allow games to be downloaded and installed prior to release, with activation occurring on release day.
Digital Distribution does not provide a physical box or manual. For this reason, re-sale is impossible (though many physical games are now impossible to resell due to activation limits, as well). Being relatively new and still growing in popularity, digital distribution also does not always support all new game releases. Many digital distributors require the customer to be actively connected to the internet to play a game; when traveling or in rural areas, this is not always possible.