Physical vs Digital

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#1 Posted by Jamin724 (455 posts) -

Hi all, I have been going back and forth of choosing physical vs digital copies of items. I am 30 years old and most of my life I have done physical media and when this generation came I was excited to switch to digital. Now that we are about 1/2 through the life cycle I want to go back to physically mainly because the prices are so much cheaper. The PS4 store does have sales but the prices are still far higher then most games you can get retail. Am I crazy for wanting to go back to physical or should I stick it out with digital. Space and bandwidth are not an issue for me it is mainly just the prices on the games, though I do like them on my shelf a lot more then in a digital library.

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#2 Posted by colourful_hippie (5764 posts) -

Dude I think the most important things are your personal thresholds for costs and convenience. If paying less for something ranks higher in your books then go get the physical copy when it's cheaper than the digital. If you like convenience more then digital is the way to go.

Personally, having a PC has already pushed me all in on digital. I pretty much buy exclusively digital games on consoles and even for 90% of my Nintendo game purchases. I think I only bought 2 physical games this year alone. One was Pokemon Moon for my girlfriend because I already have Sun and her copy would most likely be sold and I got a physical copy of DOOM for her months back when it was going for $20.

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#3 Posted by marc (842 posts) -

When I buy a brand new release, I always go digital where the PS Store does not charge me taxes. If I buy a game that has been out for a while, more often than not it is during flash sales. I do purchase disc copies in situations when they are cheaper than going digital, however. I want to stay 100% digital, but sadly I cannot due to the frustration of pricing.

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#4 Edited by Neurogia (79 posts) -

I go with whatever is cheaper.

It's extortion that digital is much more expensive than physical.

My most recent example is I picked up a physical copy of FFXV for $49.99CDN for the PS4, but the digital version costs $79.99CDN. Why should I pay almost double for digital?

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#5 Posted by Quipido (1303 posts) -

@jameboycolor: I am the same - I went almost full digital with my new PS4, but now I am at 90% physical becasue it's cheaper, faster to re-install and I can always lend those to friends or even sell. And yes, a good portion of games is used, so no money for developers, but I have to go with my wallet on this one. I woul love to support them more, but they have to meet me halfway with the price. Some good sales on PSN lately, but here in EU it's still often like 20% cheaper at launch for a new physical copy and anywhere from 40% to 60% in another month or 6 weeks. Also a big part of this is the trend of unfinished games - even those who specificaly say there will be no issue with this, like FFXV who pushed their release date so "everyone is playing a finished game without the need for a day 1 patch", they went ahead and put 9GB patch on release anyway and then, after I finished the "game" they announced they will expand the storytelling and such. Fuck that, I sold the game for 80% of what I spent on it while it's hot. That one was a big dissapointment and going physical is at least a form of protection for me.

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#6 Posted by cyberbloke (152 posts) -

I always go physical when I can. It is cheaper and I can sell them when I am finished and buy something new with the cash.

Digital should be the way to go by now, but until the prices are at least the same I will stick to physical.

When (or if) games go digital only, I will probably buy fewer games and wait for sales.

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#7 Edited by pompouspizza (1387 posts) -

All things being equal I would always go digital but the price difference is way too much to do it with everything.

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#8 Edited by SupesDupes (25 posts) -

500GB Hard Drive means I can't have too many digital games installed at the same time.

Price being the same, I'd go physical so that I can lend/exchange games with friends.

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#9 Posted by Dispossession (114 posts) -

Mostly physical but it depends on the game. I go digital for games I am the most excited for since it unlocks for me at 9pm in my state.

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#10 Posted by jdizzlefoshizzle (151 posts) -

I've honestly been surprised by how good the ps4 has been about discounting digital releases. The weekly sales often cover a large range of different games to the point where often when I'm thinking about buying a particular game, recent examples being assasins creed syndicate and rise of the tomb raider, chances are theyll be part of a pretty good sales price within a couple weeks. Also the PS store has been pretty okay about price drops for older games outside of sales. For example the new Ratchet and Clank dropped from 40 to 20 dollars when it was still relatively new. Its definitely not as flexible as a physical stores pricing (there is kind of a tier system of new game 60 dollars, last years hot game 40 dollars, much older game 20 dollars), but its much better than I thought it would be. My main problem is that there are weird outliers where games that noone is really thinking about get forgotten by Sony and they kind of forget to price drop it. For example: Diablo 3 is still 60 dollars on the PSN store. This mostly happens to games which are not in the public mindset and kind of get forgotten or left behind by sony (similar to how 50 cent Blood on the Sand is still 60 dollars on 360 digital stre I believe). Overall, though, I'd say maybe 50 percent of the time an older game will be close to matching physical prices through either a price drop or a sale. This isn't as good as physical of course, but its much better than last generation, and much better than I expected.

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#11 Posted by NTM (10380 posts) -

I'm still more into physical. The only issue with physical to me is that over time, that piles up, and you have to find room (well, if you're someone like me that doesn't sell or trade in games). That said, although you have to wait for a game to update and install on disc (and made even worse when games have DLC to download), I am not as into doing it digitally because it just takes so long, even with a good connection. I like taking games off the system if I know I'm not going to play it for a while.

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#12 Posted by FrodoBaggins (1181 posts) -

Physical. It's cheaper 99% if the time so it's not even really a discussion. Plus I like amassing a collection and displaying it on my shelves, ordering the games from right to left, favorite to least.

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#13 Edited by ev77 (69 posts) -

Honestly, digital has made great strides in just the past year or two on consoles to consistently have great sale prices on a large number of games; even to the point where I've witnessed a number of games being cheaper on digital then their physical counterparts.

They have their pros/cons, but at this point I don't think you can go wrong with either (well unless you are purchasing an EA game, cause fuck those guys).

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#14 Posted by Humanity (17032 posts) -

The fact that digital games are still more expensive that boxed copies remains a complete mystery to me. They already eliminated game manuels from boxed versions and now digital games have finally eliminated the box itself yet the price is not only the same but in fact it retains a higher value for a longer period of time.

It's similar to that Bombcast question someone wrote in about why DLC rarely gets discounted. I remember waiting for Dishonored DLC to finally go on sale and it never did. The game itself would be cheaper than the individual DLC packs which was super weird.

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#15 Posted by Rokkaku (271 posts) -

I'm 90% physical as well because it's certainly the cheaper method here in the U.K. and I have the space to store them. As I don't mind selling games when I'' finished why shouldn't ensure that I have an asset I can reclaim some money from in the future? Digital is great for those games like Bastion or Jazzpunk where the initial cost is what I would call acceptable loss in exchange for enjoyment gained and ease of access in instant access for shorter sessions. It's strange that digital is often so much more expensive than physical but that's still the world we live in, for now at least .

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#16 Posted by glots (3471 posts) -

I still tend to buy physical copies often enough, but I've also noticed that if I had any patience at all, I could've got Dishonored 2, Titanfall 2 and Watch Dogs 2 from the PSN Store for half the price that I paid, in just a few weeks after they got released. Granted, it's the holiday season so that probably has something to do with the prices going down this fast, but I still do have a feeling that I'm going to go completely digital by the end of 2017.

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#17 Posted by MeierTheRed (5543 posts) -

For PC i have been digital for years now, its easy and its cheap. Consoles is another matter thought, i tend to only buy digital versions if they are on a discount. Here in Denmark the prices on PSN releases are more expensive then their physical counterparts.

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#18 Posted by Dussck (1032 posts) -

If the price of the digital copy is anywhere near the physical one that I always go for digital. I don't care about having those CD's and cases anymore, in fact I rather don't own any.
But most of the time the digital version pricing is way off. For instance; most AAA titles are on the PSN store 70 euro's and I can almost always get them for 50 euro's in a shop very nearby.

For me the only big downside of digital is that you can't lend the game to a friend.

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#19 Posted by RonGalaxy (4852 posts) -

I really don't care about owning games/movies/music at all. So until digital offers a good path for me not being stuck with a game, I'm gonna stick with physical. I still buy digital only games, but if I could I would just rent them.

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#20 Posted by SlothfulKing (27 posts) -

I usually choose physical because I am able to get a physical copy cheaper than a digital copy. Thank you Amazon Prime.

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#21 Posted by Maxszy (2184 posts) -

I'm similar in your case as I am 29 and in the same boat.

I go exclusively digital on my PC. That being said, PC has a lot more options for getting good sales on digital games than consoles so it has that going for it.

As far as consoles go though, I almost exclusively go physical because the price is usually way less expensive. I will get digital console games, but only if the price is mostly in line with the physical version.

I'm with others and how they have mentioned they have a problem with the cost difference between physical and digital. There is no reason they should be different and on principal I won't pay $60 for digital version if the physical version is on sale for $40 somewhere else. It just doesn't make any reasonable sense.

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#22 Posted by OurSin_360 (5340 posts) -

Consoles i would say Physical for the reason everybody else is saying, it's cheaper. On Pc it's all digital for me though.

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#23 Edited by zombievac (483 posts) -

@quipido said:

@jameboycolor: I am the same - I went almost full digital with my new PS4, but now I am at 90% physical becasue it's cheaper, faster to re-install and I can always lend those to friends or even sell. And yes, a good portion of games is used, so no money for developers, but I have to go with my wallet on this one. I woul love to support them more, but they have to meet me halfway with the price. Some good sales on PSN lately, but here in EU it's still often like 20% cheaper at launch for a new physical copy and anywhere from 40% to 60% in another month or 6 weeks. Also a big part of this is the trend of unfinished games - even those who specificaly say there will be no issue with this, like FFXV who pushed their release date so "everyone is playing a finished game without the need for a day 1 patch", they went ahead and put 9GB patch on release anyway and then, after I finished the "game" they announced they will expand the storytelling and such. Fuck that, I sold the game for 80% of what I spent on it while it's hot. That one was a big dissapointment and going physical is at least a form of protection for me.

I completely agree with this (and FYI I'm in the US, no state income or sales taxes in NH either).

I'd love to go all digital, but I can't justify getting less (a long term rental, therefore no resale value, which also uses lots of bandwidth) for almost twice as much in many cases. The digital pricing that MS and Sony charge is insane when they make many times the profit on a digital sale and yet the stores still beat their pants off on physical pricing, which they get a much lower cut of. It's really messed up, they might want to hire some competent economists.

Plus, I'm fully aware that Comcast may roll out their data caps in the state I live (NH), and if that were to happen to me like it did my friends who live 10 mins away in Maine, I would have a serious problem on my hands and physical copies not impacting my data cap would be a lifesaver.

EDIT: Also, as of late, I'm actually getting the physical version of PC games too a lot more often, again due to insane pricing differences - but they're always just codes in a box these days, or MAYBE one DVD saving me 8GB of download. My local Best Buy doesn't carry them in store, just online normally, but always has a copy on release day for me since I pre-order, and cancel it if I don't want it. So I still get the benefits of a digital copy, with the pricing of physical ($60 vs $35-$45 usually).

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#24 Posted by MATATAT (1172 posts) -

If pricing was consistent I would 100% go digital all the time. I don't want discs and I don't want to constantly be changing them out. But things like 20% off games with Prime makes this difficult. My only exception is Wii U because of their absurdly small HDD space. Yes I did buy external storage for it and that was promptly destroyed by a cat falling off the TV stand. So I don't really want to do that again.

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#25 Posted by Blu3V3nom07 (4473 posts) -

95% of my XONE games are digital. It's just too convenient. I'll probably have to get a 4 or 5 TB external hard drive, soon.

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#26 Posted by Nixamo (43 posts) -

Physical on anything over 10 Gigs, because it will be faster to drive the 50 mile round trip to a store and back than download a thing.

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#27 Posted by zombievac (483 posts) -

@matatat said:

If pricing was consistent I would 100% go digital all the time. I don't want discs and I don't want to constantly be changing them out. But things like 20% off games with Prime makes this difficult. My only exception is Wii U because of their absurdly small HDD space. Yes I did buy external storage for it and that was promptly destroyed by a cat falling off the TV stand. So I don't really want to do that again.

LOL, cats are the bane of technology... the sheer amount of chewable cords on my gaming PC, consoles, and VR headsets is nutty at this point. Might I suggest you can get a cheap 128GB+ USB stick these days for storage that's pretty hard to break? I assume those work on the Wii and WiiU like normal hard drives, but I'm not 100% sure nintendo didn't break that ability, somehow!

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#28 Posted by jay_ray (1542 posts) -

@humanity said:

The fact that digital games are still more expensive that boxed copies remains a complete mystery to me. They already eliminated game manuels from boxed versions and now digital games have finally eliminated the box itself yet the price is not only the same but in fact it retains a higher value for a longer period of time.

It's similar to that Bombcast question someone wrote in about why DLC rarely gets discounted. I remember waiting for Dishonored DLC to finally go on sale and it never did. The game itself would be cheaper than the individual DLC packs which was super weird.

The reason boxed things go on sale and can get really cheap is because they have a physical identity. Sales mainly happen to get rid of stock and clear shelf space. Since digital things require no physical space stores don't really have an incentive to put things on sale.

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#29 Posted by Humanity (17032 posts) -

@jay_ray: Which is a shame because it also leads to more people waiting for a sale that will inevitably happen on the boxed version a lot sooner than the digital one. It's like one foot forward and one foot backwards with the digital frontier - the relative ease of being at work and buying a game and even telling your PS4 to start downloading it so that it's ready when you get home is great. So is not having a DVD in the drive to spin up, especially with the PS4 having a lot of problems with the disk ejection malfunction. On the other hand, these are small conveniences I can live without if the boxed version is $15 cheaper (for example). I'm not going to pay $59.99 over $34.99 just because I don't have to put a disk in the console. If they want people to embrace an all digital future they should incentivize this future on all fronts.

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#30 Posted by jay_ray (1542 posts) -

@humanity: Why incentivize when the digital future will happen in time anyway? PC has fully made the switch at this point and just look at Steam who has started to scale back from the ridiculous sales they had 5 years ago to them just being pretty good nowadays. Most Steam users either buy on day one or wait for one of 5 big yearly sales. Consoles have started to have those sales digitally and with more regular occurrence but sales on boxed copies happen more spontaneously as stores try to clear shelf space outside of sale season (Black Friday, Boxing Day, etc.).

The hurdle is publishers as they have to opt in to a sale digitally where a physical store usually already bought the game to sell and have no recourse left other then to move the games out of the store some how (publisher buy back, reselling to a 3rd party distributor, in store sale, etc.) when the game doesn't move.

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#31 Posted by MATATAT (1172 posts) -

@matatat said:

If pricing was consistent I would 100% go digital all the time. I don't want discs and I don't want to constantly be changing them out. But things like 20% off games with Prime makes this difficult. My only exception is Wii U because of their absurdly small HDD space. Yes I did buy external storage for it and that was promptly destroyed by a cat falling off the TV stand. So I don't really want to do that again.

LOL, cats are the bane of technology... the sheer amount of chewable cords on my gaming PC, consoles, and VR headsets is nutty at this point. Might I suggest you can get a cheap 128GB+ USB stick these days for storage that's pretty hard to break? I assume those work on the Wii and WiiU like normal hard drives, but I'm not 100% sure nintendo didn't break that ability, somehow!

That's actually what I had and they somehow fell on it or swatted it to literal pieces. I never quite figured out how it happened. Getting an external HDD that attaches via cable would probably be safer but the spot where I have my Wii U is nestled in such a way that there isn't much space for one. Thus my reasoning for going the USB route heh.

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#32 Posted by Humanity (17032 posts) -

@jay_ray: Simply because they want to move units now as opposed to the indeterminate future, and they will do that better if they incentivize digital sales as opposed to physical ones - then they can finally move away from the annoyance of working with retailers.

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