Posted by patrickklepek (2212 posts) -

When I buy a video game in a box these days, it's because of one reason: this game means enough to me that I want it taking up precious space in my apartment. I want it to exist outside of a hard drive. That feels real.

The death of physical media is coming, and not limited to games. It will impact every medium, and nothing can stop it. But death is such a hyperbolic term. It makes a good headline, it might underscore the broader trend, but it's also untrue. It's simply changing.

There might be a day when physical media ceases to exist, but I doubt it. What's released, however, might become more selective, targeting collectors and the nostalgic. Physical will become a premium that specific consumers pay for, and the rest move on. How do you explain the rising sales of vinyl music?

In the coming years, most of us will redefine our relationship with physical media. It's going to become more important. What we physically own will come to represent us in a brand-new way. It's no longer about access. The same way posters, action figures, and other accents are strategically placed in our apartments to materially represent our interests and values, physical media is joining that club.

The launch of EA Access, a new subscription service from the company that loves angering people with new subscription services, might be the company's most interesting offer yet. It doesn't offer anything I'd be willing to pay for, but as a thought experiment, it's fascinating. For a monthly ($4.99) or annual ($29.99) fee, subscribers gain access to The Vault, a selection of EA games currently limited to Battlefield 4, Peggle 2, FIFA 14, and Madden NFL 25. It's slim pickings at the moment, given EA's immense back catalog, but the The Vault's currently limited to what EA's published on Xbox One. That means no Dungeon Keeper or Wing Commander.

While I'd love a Netflix for games, we're years away from that, and individual publishers are probably not our best route there. Who wants to subscribe to a Universal Pictures subscription service? It's more likely EA Access provides a template for broader services, ones Sony is currently experimenting with through PlayStation Now. Only a few publishers could get away with charging individual subscriptions. The only one might be Nintendo. It's easier to imagine paying for a subscription with a rotating lineup (i.e. Netflix/PlayStation Now), and spending more to play what you want, when you want (i.e. PlayStation Network/iTunes).

I don't own many video games anymore, but that depends on our definition of ownership. Even though I've purchased numerous games on Steam, Xbox Live, and PSN, I don't own them. I've purchased a license to play them, a license that won't necessarily last forever, and nothing guarantees my previous purchases will work when the next wave of hardware arrives. That's been more and more true as hardware's grown more complex.

With the exception of media no longer working on new hardware, a situation more frequent for games, this paragraph could be rephrased to reflect the vast majority of my purchases today.

  • I don't own many movies anymore because I'm streaming on Netflix, Amazon, and iTunes.
  • I don't own many books anymore because I'm buying digitally from Amazon and iTunes.
  • I don't own many albums anymore because I'm streaming on Spotify and Pandora.

Each of these services are riddled with DRM, but it doesn't bother me. I get what I want at really great prices.

Here's a look at the shelf above my TV.

There's one other shelf in my home that has a stack of boxes. It's mostly horror and TV.

Both of those shelves are really important to me. It represents so much about me and my wife. There's limited space, which means what's there has importance. It's not the newest purchase, it's not a random selection, they're my favorites. If you look through that shelf, you can glean an idea of my tastes and values, and get a small understanding of who I am. Over time, that's where physical media is going: representing personality.

Puppet Master, Upright Citizens Brigade, Friday the 13th, X-Files, Futurama. That's me.

Catherine, BioShock, Prince of Persia (2008!!), Klonoa, Mirror's Edge, Dark Souls. That's me.

It's not a perfect system, of course. There are scads of digital games, books, and movies that I "own" not represented. Sometimes, I mull printing out box art, so games like Super Meat Boy or Journey can join them.

When I originally moved to San Francisco, most of my games were removed from cases, shoved into a binder, and thrown under a couch. Know how many times I opened up that binder? Probably twice. This wasn't a back catalog, it was diary of abandoned purchases, one I trimmed every time my wife and I moved. As we'd pack boxes, I'd look through our shelves, comb through the binder, and toss what I hadn't seen, played, or listened to. If I really wanted to play that copy of Viva Pinata that I'd been telling myself I'd eventually play, I'll buy it again.

This isn't everyone, of course. I'm painting with a broad brush. Lots of people like having collections. That's not me. That's OK! And there are reasons, even for me, to have small collections. I'm tired of purchasing Super Mario Bros. for every new platform Nintendo puts out, for example, so I'm happy to have a CRT with a bunch of old consoles hooked up to it. Sony and Microsoft are only going to port a handful of games from PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 onto the new platforms, so I'll need to keep them around, in case I want to play You Don't Know Jack.

I'm conveniently looking at the upside, but maybe that's because this transition already happened with books, movies, and music, while games lag behind. Specifically, it's console games. How many Steam users are upset over the death of the box? PC gaming used to be dying, now it's bigger than ever. Do you want a box or hundreds, if not thousands, of games for way cheaper? Give a little, gain a lot. It means the publishers gain more control, but consumers have benefited, too. Steam is DRM, but most are happy. The benefits of Steam have not totally trickled down to consoles, but it's coming. PlayStation Plus was the first sign, and Microsoft soon followed with Games with Gold. There will be much more of that.

Or maybe not. Maybe we'll give up control, games will be ruined, and we're all screwed. I'm an optimist!

The question is whether Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and publishers like EA can provide better reasons to choose digital. It has to be more than convenience. That's not much of a carrot anymore. EA Access provides a hint of where we're going. We'll see how quickly that happens, but we're marching (dragging?) in that direction.

In the meantime, I just looked at my shelf. Who wants a copy of Super Smash Bros. Brawl? I don't need it.

#1 Edited by Video_Game_King (36272 posts) -

How do you explain the rising sales of vinyl music?

Hell if I know. I still don't know how people even play the music they buy on vinyl. And I know somebody who owns a vinyl record.

Wait a second, what's Valkyria Chronicles doing at the butt end of that shelf? Are you just throwing DVDs and what have you all helter-skelter across your shelf? Show some pride. Alphabetize, son!

#2 Posted by Spitznock (599 posts) -

These thoughts on physical versus digital copies of games and movies will of course vary depending on the person.
Digital is far more convenient, but I personally would much prefer a physical disc copy of something. When I pay for a digital purchase, sure I get the game or movie, but I don't feel like I've actually paid for anything.

Online
#3 Posted by MarvinPontiac (122 posts) -

I for one welcome our new digital overlords.

#4 Posted by Krataur (410 posts) -

This article gives a good explanation of my views on physical vs. digital, as well. It's already happened with TV and film, as you said. I collect Blu-Ray copies of the shows and movies that are important to me and display them in the limited amount of space I have put aside for that. The rest I'm happy to simply have 24/7 access to on Netflix/Amazon Prime/etc.

And really, that's not that different from how it's always been. Netflix like services have taken the place of traditional rental stores, but now we always (well...usually) have access to those movies without having to leave the house.

#5 Posted by Lyfeforce (403 posts) -
#6 Edited by Winsord (1300 posts) -

How do you explain the rising sales of vinyl music?

Vinyl sells for a different reason than most physical media. Buying a physical game is much more akin to buying a CD. It's a physical disk, sure, but all of the content on it is digital. Listening to something on vinyl gives it a very specific quality of sound that differs from any digital setup. Part of the draw to vinyl is definitely just having large sleeves with the artwork on them and some physical intrigue, sure, but it mostly has to do with the different experience you get from listening to it than you do from a computer.

Games are now much more similar to CDs. You rip them to your computer (install them to your system) and then the disk is a lifeless husk that just takes up space (DRM for the consoles).

#7 Posted by Chumley_Marchbanks (156 posts) -

I don't own many video games anymore, but that depends on our definition of ownership. Even though I've purchased numerous games on Steam, Xbox Live, and PSN, I don't own them. I've purchased a license to play them, a license that won't necessarily last forever, and nothing guarantees my previous purchases will work when the next wave of hardware arrives. That's been more and more true as hardware's grown more complex.

@patrickklepek I'd like to point out that by buying a physical copy of a game you are still only licensing the software, as stated by Sony's software license agreement for example. Although it doesn't affect what you said, I think in these circumstances it's important to recognise the fact.

#8 Edited by mrsmiley (1146 posts) -

"How do you explain the rising sales of vinyl music?"

In all seriousness though, I've started to realize the importance of physical media myself, mainly in regards to pictures. I love being able to open up an album or box and physically sort through pictures. These pictures will last a very long time without anything more than keeping them in a safe, dry place. However, hard drives full of digital pictures all have a limited lifespan of around 1-10 year, as you never know whether a hard drive will die a month after you buy it! Because of this, you essentially have to buy a new hard drive every few years to keep transferring your growing digital photo library. So rather than easily-accessible boxes of photos for my future kids to sift through, I have a bunch of hard drives, most of them internal, that need to be connected to a PC so someone can scroll through photos. It's so easy to pull out a box of old photos, but such a pain to have to setup a hard drive, and just feels less... personal I guess?

It's great that there are photo sharing/storing websites like Facebook, Flicker, Imgur, etc out there to make accessing photos easy, but we know that websites are prone to become outdated or close down. If you think that having all your photos on a server somewhere is backing them up, you're doing it wrong. I'm curious how much it would cost to have several thousands of photos just printed up, as it's something I'm really considering at the moment. I'm sure there's a bulk printing company out there that could do it more cheaply and efficiently than a Walmart of Costco, but I'm sure it would still be quite costly. Either way, it's something I'm really considering. How cool would it be to take those great family and friend Facebook photos and put them into a physical album? Maybe it's "old-school," but I think it's something we will cherish more when we get older. :)

#9 Edited by samface6 (21 posts) -

Until Australian digital game prices become reasonable, we're stuck with physical boxes.

Sometimes a 2 year old game will still be priced at $89.95 on PSN and it'll be $29 in the bargain bin at retailers.

But I do totally agree about the vinyl-style collector aspect of physical copies. Just look at the prevalence of collector's editions.

#10 Posted by Godmil (154 posts) -

seriously, how bummed are you that Ben Kuchera posted a similar article yesterday?

#11 Edited by Roboculus92 (533 posts) -

@video_game_king said:

How do you explain the rising sales of vinyl music?

Hell if I know. I still don't know how people even play the music they buy on vinyl. And I know somebody who owns a vinyl record.

Wait a second, what's Valkyria Chronicles doing at the butt end of that shelf? Are you just throwing DVDs and what have you all helter-skelter across your shelf? Show some pride. Alphabetize, son!

From what I can tell, it is alphabetized. He just happens to have a game in his blu-ray movie collection. Maybe he ran out of space elsewhere.

#12 Posted by Hailinel (25205 posts) -

Fuck the argument that an all-digital future is inevitable, or even desirable. People that argue for it never seem to acknowledge the many downsides and seem flabbergasted when they run into the limitations inherent to digital media. I still buy books, listen to CD, and buy physical games whenever possible. And if that makes me a dinosaur; then so be it.

The nature of any collection will ultimately reflect personality, whether that be the angle of the completions, personal taste in genres, nostalgia, or whatever else people collect anything for. It's always been that way. Does that lead to collections being curated at times? Yes, but that's normal.

This article just made me angry. I know I shouldn't be, but fuck it.

#13 Posted by ArbitraryWater (12106 posts) -

At this point I prefer physical products for everything that isn't a PC game. Part of that comes from pragmatism, used physical games drop in price much more quickly than their digital counterparts, but I also don't quite trust console online services yet. Steam and GOG are good enough and ubiquitous enough to make digital only on PC a very viable option. I can't say the same for PSN or XBL yet.

#14 Posted by makejump (10 posts) -

Great article Patrick!

The importance of access vs ownership of a thing (video game, music, movie, any work really) is something even us gamers can't avoid coming to terms with. I think it speaks to the importance of having a placeholder for the experiences that games have given us. For some it's okay if it just occupies a place in a digital library, for others, I think they come to associate a meaningful experience had with a specific game with more than just the medium it was delivered in. The physical aspects of the game (the way a controller feels in your hand, or the type of glow you only get from a CRT) anchor you to an experience that words do a bad job of detailing. They put you in, and construct for you, the place you have that experience. They also become a way of accessing that experience at a later date as well.

Flipping a switch on the back of your rig gets to be just as important as seeing the kill screen.

#15 Posted by TheOrz (13 posts) -

I don't know really know where videogames are heading, but man I love that you have a box set of evil bong movies.

#16 Edited by ghostNPC (793 posts) -

@winsord: similar things could be said to owning a physical copy of Parappa the Rapper and a CRT. Due to lag of input on LCD screens, you can't get the same perfect experience anywhere else than on the original setup. Not that Patrick is making that point in the article, just my observation.

#17 Posted by GaspoweR (3489 posts) -

I really like how succinct, accurate, carefully worded, and not-at-all-alarmist the title for this article is. Good job with that sir @patrickklepek!

#18 Posted by Yummylee (22538 posts) -

Frankly I'm going to stick to physical for as long as possible, unless there's a crazy good sale happening. Digital prices for console games in Europe are insanely overpriced, but with the rise in random sales even on PS3/360, it's starting to even out a little. Though when it comes to buying games new, I'm always going to side with physical. Same with movies and books, too. I've got a decent selection of Blu-rays, though I only buy them when they're about maybe... £8 at most. I never go for the day-one £20 price tags or whatever. Books are the same, but that's because I'm not as invested in those mediums nearly as much as I am video games. Music, however, is purely digital for me.

Even besides prices, I simply prefer to actually own the things I buy, which is of course a common reasoning for the people who still buy physical. Part of that is also preservation, as Patrick himself mentions we don't know where the future may take us, and there's a better assurance with physical that in 15 years time you'll still be able to play these games. I'm not a diehard collector or anything either, but at the same time I do enjoy watching my room slowly fill up with more and more stuff.

#19 Posted by edsone (269 posts) -

I don't own many video games anymore, but that depends on our definition of ownership. Even though I've purchased numerous games on Steam, Xbox Live, and PSN, I don't own them. I've purchased a license to play them, a license that won't necessarily last forever, and nothing guarantees my previous purchases will work when the next wave of hardware arrives. That's been more and more true as hardware's grown more complex.

@patrickklepek I'd like to point out that by buying a physical copy of a game you are still only licensing the software, as stated by Sony's software license agreement for example. Although it doesn't affect what you said, I think in these circumstances it's important to recognise the fact.

This.

#20 Posted by Beaudacious (934 posts) -

Vinyl is just a niche market, for were all super cool DJ's playing friends weddings, and people born after the creation of the Walkman trying to be hipster-nostalgic about the past. If you probably correlate the growth rate of new subscribes for music subscription services, that would eclipse any numbers for vinyl.

@video_game_king: Its called a record player, it spins the record while a needle reads the changes in the grooves to produce music.

#21 Edited by Sydlanel (317 posts) -

Personally.. I want to get rid of all physical media, evil unnecessary boxes gathering dirt.

I want a small white box that contains all the information in the universe. I also wish there was a really small wireless Ultra HD mobile projector, to get rid of screens and cables as well.

Also transfer my consciousness to a sexy android with Jetpacks.

PS. @patrickklepek I'd take that copy of BRAWL, but it's likely that just the shipping down here would be more expensive than buying a new one.

#22 Posted by Paindamnation (815 posts) -
#23 Posted by DoctorTran (1575 posts) -

How do you explain the rising sales of vinyl music?

Hell if I know. I still don't know how people even play the music they buy on vinyl. And I know somebody who owns a vinyl record.

Wait a second, what's Valkyria Chronicles doing at the butt end of that shelf? Are you just throwing DVDs and what have you all helter-skelter across your shelf? Show some pride. Alphabetize, son!

Well... it helps to have a turntable and speakers...

#24 Posted by JTHomeslice (244 posts) -

Your relationship with physical media has become intimate.

#25 Posted by Corvak (1172 posts) -

The difference between ownership of a license physically and digitally, is that nobody can find a way to tell your SNES that you can no longer play Chrono Trigger. Right now we depend on console makers and Valve to lay out the ground rules for the digital marketplace (one reason I accept these virtual monopolies). Basically, they've set a precedent that a publisher can't cut off access to purchased items if licensing changes down the road, or a publisher goes out of business, at least for single player games. It does cost them money to provide those downloads, but it is a cost they likely bear in the name of customer service.

#26 Posted by PXAbstraction (352 posts) -

@godmil said:

seriously, how bummed are you that Ben Kuchera posted a similar article yesterday?

I suspect that while Patrick's article discussed why he's not into physical media any more but acknowledged that others might be and that's cool, Kuchera's was probably him just saying he's not into physical media and how wrong and/or stupid a person you are if you still like it. I'm guessing, I never give him clicks any more but if historical trends are accurate, I suspect that's it.

#27 Posted by patrickklepek (2212 posts) -

I don't own many video games anymore, but that depends on our definition of ownership. Even though I've purchased numerous games on Steam, Xbox Live, and PSN, I don't own them. I've purchased a license to play them, a license that won't necessarily last forever, and nothing guarantees my previous purchases will work when the next wave of hardware arrives. That's been more and more true as hardware's grown more complex.

@patrickklepek I'd like to point out that by buying a physical copy of a game you are still only licensing the software, as stated by Sony's software license agreement for example. Although it doesn't affect what you said, I think in these circumstances it's important to recognise the fact.

Excellent point!

#28 Posted by Brodehouse (10128 posts) -

How do you explain the rising sales of vinyl music?

Vinyl sales hit a 22 year high. In other words, since 1992. A decade after vinyl stopped being the number one choice of customers and became fetish objects for Nick Hornby. This has something of the presentation that vinyl sales are as high now as they were in 1974.

I work in a video game store where we sell retro consoles and games. All of which are available online. The people buying boxed NES games and SNES carts and asking if we have any TurboGrafX games are not searching for them because of some natural consumer advantage of physical media; they're antiques collectors. I would know, we can smell our own. I didn't buy a sealed coppy of UmJammer Lammy because physical media is the best and most affordable way to play, I bought a physical copy of UmJammer Lammy because it's a fetish object. It's no different for the people buying LPs. They're not interested in an LP because of objective reasons, they want LPs because of sentimental reasons.

There's a part of my city with a historical reenactment area, sort of like Colonial Williamsburg. People legitimately enjoy visiting that place, but that doesn't mean that Life Was Better or they figured out some secret that we've lost. It's an intellectual curiosity. Fifteen years from now, physical media will be the Colonial Williamsburg of video games. It will be an intellectual curiosity that some people keep in their life out of sentimental attachment. There will be a scant few who talk about how Life Was Better with physical media, and you'll look at them the same way you look at any atavistic Luddite who wants to go back to shoeing horses and dying of dysentery.

If you're wondering something along the lines of "how will people display the things they love to build their own identity", then you must not have social media. The entire purpose of social media is visible digital identity. I've had so many facebook apps to serve as an outward-facing bookshelf (that all go under when Facebook does an update). Half of the user functions on your very website are designed for people to display their identity through digital means. People compare their Steam libraries all the time. The concept of achievements is digital display of ... well, heroism. 'This is what I've played and the things I've done in them'.

#29 Edited by Hailinel (25205 posts) -

@pxabstraction: I wouldn't be surprised. Patrick generally at least tries to see more than one side of a story. Kuchera just berates you for not falling in line.

#30 Posted by TheHBK (5563 posts) -

I wouldn't mind digital if it came in a box. Like what MS originally planned with the Xbox One. I thought it was cool to buy the game and not need the CD, like what physical games on PC do today.

#31 Edited by vsharres (14 posts) -

As been one of these people that is buying a lot of LP's lately, which I only buy my favorite albums that I can display on a shelf, I completely understand your point, and that some form of physical medium for video games will exist, but one thing that they have to change is how video game cases they are made, 90% of them are ugly as shit, with very bright colors designed to attract the eye of an unsuspecting buyer at Gamestop.

I think the ideal would be what Irrational Games did with Bioshock Infinite, providing additional covers for the game (although it was for the wrong reasons), and that is the only game that I have a physical copy in the last 6 years.

#32 Posted by Seeric (168 posts) -

I'm honestly a bit split on the whole 'physical vs digital' debate. On the one hand, it means we are seeing a lot of great games in the $5-15 range which definitely would *not* have launched anywhere near that price (or at all) had they been physical.

On the other hand if it's a much smaller price difference, such as $5 digital vs $10 or $15 physical, I'd much prefer to have a physical copy. In part, this is due to a love of collecting games; I like having a box and a manual because they are pieces of history which give insight into the era, the older manuals are especially great as they are often crawling with official artwork of areas, characters, and enemies (sometimes even in color!), and I always prefer playing a game on its original console if possible because then you are playing it with the controller it was designed for and with all of the glitches, bumps, bruises, and oddities which future releases may have ironed out.

More importantly though, I prefer for the longevity for my copy of a game to be entirely under *my* control. With a physical copy, the only thing you need to worry about is how well you take care of that specific copy; if your system breaks, if online support is pulled, or if your memory card gets corrupted it has no direct impact upon the game itself. On the other hand, if a game is tied directly to a service or if a game is downloadable and your system breaks and the service and/or download support is pulled for one reason or another (or if your account is hacked or your account is banned), that's it, your game is gone forever even if you replace the system.

#33 Edited by ZironZ (90 posts) -

I really hope services like Playstation Now don't catch on as the sole distribution method.

The thought that game will be streamed, and therefore impossible to emulate in say 10 years, is a real sad one.

#34 Posted by Phoenix87 (486 posts) -

Good riddance to physically media. And that's coming from someone born in 85. I can't stand clutter and I'm happy to have less of it.

#35 Edited by patrickklepek (2212 posts) -

@pxabstraction said:

@godmil said:

seriously, how bummed are you that Ben Kuchera posted a similar article yesterday?

I suspect that while Patrick's article discussed why he's not into physical media any more but acknowledged that others might be and that's cool, Kuchera's was probably him just saying he's not into physical media and how wrong and/or stupid a person you are if you still like it. I'm guessing, I never give him clicks any more but if historical trends are accurate, I suspect that's it.

I also didn't--no offense to Ben--read it.

#36 Posted by whitegreyblack (500 posts) -

PC, and multiplayer-centric console games such as Destiny, are the only times I find myself able to embrace digital-only. For me, it's all about access to my media - my backlog and lifestyle leaves me often playing games months and years after their release. I don't trust console infrastructure to allow me to access this media years down the road in a digital format.

And yes, I am a bit old and a bit of a curmudgeon.

#37 Posted by Karkarov (3273 posts) -

How do you explain the rising sales of vinyl music?

Hell if I know. I still don't know how people even play the music they buy on vinyl. And I know somebody who owns a vinyl record.

Wait a second, what's Valkyria Chronicles doing at the butt end of that shelf? Are you just throwing DVDs and what have you all helter-skelter across your shelf? Show some pride. Alphabetize, son!

Uh ... I own a vinyl record player. I imagine that's how other dudes do it too. Also yes, my debut album of the Beatles on vinyl sounds better than a digital version, suck it!

#38 Edited by GERALTITUDE (3535 posts) -

I have lots of physical things. Games, Books, Vinyl, Comics, etc.

For me physicality is memory. Without the objects I lose too many references, too many possible memories lost in time..

Like tears, in rain.

#39 Posted by Alucitary (118 posts) -

@gaspower said:

I really like how succinct, accurate, carefully worded, and not-at-all-alarmist the title for this article is. Good job with that sir @patrickklepek!

I second this notion. The title could have easily been posed as a question like most other site editors tend to do to draw views through rage and concern, but instead we have an authoritative statement that conveys an interesting topic and attracts views simply on merit.

#40 Posted by Gobias_Int (6 posts) -

This is all anecdotal. Would love to see numbers and data used to explain trends not just "things are changing." It's great that Patrick doesn't like discs and pc gaming is "bigger than ever" but maybe use some numbers to back stuff up.

#41 Posted by csl316 (9428 posts) -

I still buy CD's and Blu rays and boxed games. I'll rent movies off Amazon, and if I really like it I'll buy a physical copy.

I like having digital backups, but I don't feel like I really own something til I can touch it. Another thing is that it's easy to forget about stuff if you can't see it. Without a boxed copy of Tenchu Z, I'd completely forget about Tenchu Z.

So that's what it comes down to, I don't want to forget about Tenchu and that copy of One I own on PS1.

#42 Posted by akraftwerkorange (13 posts) -

My favorite thing about the cloud and digital media is it's decluttered my life immensely.

Not only has it kept me from physically collecting things, it's cured my desire to own things/consume period.

I use to spend my weekends hitting up thrift stores and buying random shit off ebay, like some kind of obscure nostalgia junkie, hopping from one obsession to the next, forgotten toy brands from the 80s and 90s, vinyl, retro videogames+arcade cabinet, digital watches, massive DVD collection, obscure cult movies/anime on VHS, Back issues of magazines, 80s era electronics, Small TVs and CRT monitors, digital clocks/ casio watches.

Then Netflix came along and curbed my want for more obscure DVDs+Bluray. Day one downloads stopped trips to gamestop/bestbuy. Audible stopped book buying. Tumblr feeds satiated my fixation on 80s industrial design. Spotify means i no longer hoard a local library of music. I can watch retro Lets Plays on youtube for my retro gaming fix. I use Giantbomb to vicariously play new releases saving myself for maybe 2 important titles a year.

And soon I didn't actually want anything. I wrote new rules for myself, if it's on ebay I don't need it (no nostalgia). I can get whatever I *need* on amazon prime or the local grocery store.

2 years ago I boxed everything i owned in plastic bins for storage, threw the rest to the curb, and never looked back, I feel freed, my lifestyle is *almost* minimalist. I stopped being sentimental. I enjoy empty space rather than shelves of nostalgic crap. I can appreciate something without owning it.

#43 Edited by GaspoweR (3489 posts) -

@alucitary: Yeah, it sounds "pleasant" and it totally makes sense. You don't feel like you got duped into reading it.

#44 Posted by Tatsuyarr (75 posts) -

Even if I would like to buy digital copy the choice is already made for me: the physical copy is always cheaper than the digital one and not by a small margin, I'm talking of a difference of 10 to 20 EUR so it's far from negligible. Except on PC, for now digital version of triple A games are a luxury.

#45 Posted by Javadoze (1 posts) -

The question is whether Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, and publishers like EA can provide better reasons to choose digital.

Nintendo has their own digital deluxe promotion with the WiiU that gives you eShop credit for every certain amount of purchases you make on digital games.

#46 Posted by Wintg005 (2 posts) -

Its taken me a long time but I finally got rid of my CD cases. The CDs are in a binder since I haven’t been able to toss them. Don;t know why I was attached to those cases for so long. They have been in a bin for years and I just have to lug them around every time I move. I guess being in a small NY apt is helping me downsize ha!

#47 Posted by Random45 (1279 posts) -

Reading this article makes me feel pretty melancholic, and I don't even really know why. I acknowledge that digital is definitely the way the future is going, but even knowing that, there's just something about owning a physical copy of a game that makes it feel more real - like you have actual ownership over it.

Well, whatever, I'll get over it.

#48 Posted by spraynardtatum (3670 posts) -

Ownership is my problem. Convenience is...convenient but I just really dislike the transferring of ownership that comes with subscription services. The terms and conditions are horrendous.

#49 Posted by superslidetail (38 posts) -

There are probably less heavy CRT's out there than the one you have. lol

#50 Edited by lylebot (34 posts) -

I don't really see much difference between the bits on a disc and the bits that traveled over a network to land on a hard drive. They might have a different "feel", and there are a few genuine differences (such as that you can trade in a disc but not a hard drive), but in general you're getting the same thing either way.

I think a more disturbing trend is what Adobe is trying to do with Photoshop: they now sell Photoshop with a subscription to Adobe's cloud storage service at $20/month, and if you cancel your subscription you cannot use the program. (Totally horrible for someone like me that uses Photoshop maybe two or three times a year, but is willing to pay the old $200+ prices to do those 2-3 things over the course of 6 years.) What if this EA thing turns into something where you can't play EA games unless you have a subscription to EA's service? What if this digital download trend is leading to "software-as-a-service" for everything? I think that would be truly awful.