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Most Console Gamers Still Prefer Physical Media

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the cloth-map-and-dorky-keyring-syndrome dept.

Data Storage 232

arcticstoat writes "Despite the advent of online game stores on all three major consoles, most console gamers apparently still prefer hoarding collections of gaming discs to downloading games. A recent survey conducted by Ipsos in the UK revealed that 64 per cent of the 1,000 users polled would rather have games on physical discs, while only 25 per cent would prefer digital copies. In the survey, 55 per cent of those polled said price was the key factor in determining their interest in downloading games, while 27 per cent said they wanted games available online before they were in the shops. Ipsos' director Ian Bramley explained, 'Interest absolutely drops away when you get to the types of pricing that you might charge for a new physical disc. People's perceptions are that they're not prepared to pay as much for digital content — they make the connection that it's not a physical disc and therefore it should be cheaper.'"

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Why I prefer physical media (5, Insightful)

Rik Sweeney (471717) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780046)

Because I can trade it in when I'm done.

Re:Why I prefer physical media (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780072)

Which is exactly as bad as piracy and you shall burn in hell for harming the gaming industry, you monster.

Re:Why I prefer physical media (5, Insightful)

krovisser (1056294) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780076)

I don't care what format it is as long as I don't have to be connected to license servers--which may or may not be running--every time I want to play.

Re:Why I prefer physical media (5, Interesting)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780102)

Well that and things like ubisoft changing stores. I got an email from them earlier today that they'll be changing stores the beginning of August. Subsequently I won't be able to download those games again because they're not going to carry over those purchases. Now, fortunately I already have a copy, and am downloading again just to make sure that it's fully functioning, but this is why I don't generally buy download only games.

Re:Why I prefer physical media (4, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780134)

Or buy used. Both the core of "they make the connection that it's not a physical disc and therefore it should be cheaper" - people have control over what happens to physical media.

Re:Why I prefer physical media (5, Interesting)

ndnspongebob (942859) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780198)

I second that, also, i can let my friends borrow a game and try out some of their games. gaming is very social, its something we do for fun. too bad soul-sucking gaming corporations cant understand that. a game that is downloaded cant be shared, everyone has to download their own copy. so a digital game provides less value than a physical game.

Re:Why I prefer physical media (2, Interesting)

Flowstone (1638793) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780332)

That alone is the strongest point of it all. you can't trade in a downloaded game, you can't lend a downloaded game to a friend, blockbuster can't rent it to people (although im sure gaming companies would love to do that first hand.) and ultimately it's condition and working nature is upto the user's level of care.

Re:Why I prefer downloads (2, Insightful)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780334)

Steam.

I have re-purchased games after losing the disc, scratching the disc, loaning it to a friend (who lost it/forgot to return it/damaged it), losing the installation code, etc.

So far Valve has done a good job in my opinion. I will continue to buy my games via Steam and play them on my desktop at home, my media center PC, my laptop, and occasionally even my desktop at work -all with a single purchase.

Re:Why I prefer downloads (1)

Local ID10T (790134) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780482)

Sad... replying to myself.

Of course, the article was talking about console games and I am not. Steam really needs to get a foothold in the console world, preferably on all the major consoles -now that would be worth my $.

Re:Why I prefer downloads (1)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780618)

"I have re-purchased games after losing the disc..."

There's your problem. You think that it's acceptable to have to repurchase games simply because of a small problem like scratching the disc. Used to be that game companies would actually mail you a new disc if you sent in the old one. Not anymore.

Re:Why I prefer downloads (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 3 years ago | (#32781114)

Agreed, I've found the risk analysis for my habits to come down in favor of Steam for the most part, too. The risk of Steam disappearing forever or having a temporary outage is less than my risk of harming my disk or temporarily misplacing it. The fact that my most-played Steam games are also multiplayer (and thus require an internet connection anyway) helps, too.

I still prefer physical media for consoles, though. I chalk it up to a combination of the planned obsolescence of the platform, smaller HDD, vendor lock-in, and familiarity with a stack of console games next to the TV.

Re:Why I prefer physical media (5, Insightful)

fermion (181285) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780556)

Exactly, physical games have a resale value. Imagine how hard it would be charge $30,000 for a car that had no resale value. Sure it loses 50% when you drive it off the lot, but that means there is 50% that can be recouped at any time.

This is also why I don't think a book an ebook is worth more than $10, as long as it is released on the day of the hardback, and on $4 if it is more than a year old. With a physical book there is some inherent value. It can be sold, lent, given away. Many people can read it, and the cost of the book has to include that a certain number of sales are lost due to this. But an e-book kils the secondary market, so it does not have the value. This may mean that some people make less. So be it. There is no inherent right to profit.

Re:Why I prefer physical media (5, Informative)

Mr. Freeman (933986) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780596)

Also, if your hard drive becomes corrupted, or whoever you bought it from loses the records of your purchase you can still play your game.

Re:Why I prefer physical media (1)

nomorecwrd (1193329) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780684)

Always prefer physical media....

A couple of years ago I found a little treasure hidden in my attic... my old Atari 2600, with all my beloved cartridges.

Plug it to my TV through RF.

And it worked!! I had a lot of fun playing Combat, Space Invaders with friends.. even Adventure

Ok... no way to compare it with a PS3 or XBOX, but I wonder if 20+ years from now, and just for fun, one will be able to just plug in the console and play a game based on digitally distributed media.

I wonder if I can still connect in mi Commodore C-64 to that BBS.. ;-)

Re:Why I prefer physical media (1)

Bakkster (1529253) | more than 3 years ago | (#32781194)

Ok... no way to compare it with a PS3 or XBOX, but I wonder if 20+ years from now, and just for fun, one will be able to just plug in the console and play a game based on digitally distributed media.

I know the XBox 360 DRM licenses itself to the console you download it on (and can be relicensed once a year, if you get a new one), so as long as your original hardware works it should work even if MS burns the servers. So you're trading the inability to lose individual games for the unfortunate fact that if the console goes, so do all the games.

Re:Why I prefer physical media (2, Insightful)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780814)

I can also archive it for a few years, without having to make my own physical copy or keep it lying around clogging up the hard drive. (not on consoles myself, but it applies to PCs)

Digital downloads of software automatically get categorized as "ephemeral" or "rental" in my head. Great for the yearly purchase of Turbo Tax. Seriously, I have 15 year old games I occasionally play from companies that have been out of business for ages. Annoying enough to try and track down some fan site that may have some patches, it'd just be that much worse to try and track down someone with hacks to make it work without a license server, trying to find who is still hosting the official downloadable content, etc. (yeah, I have the patches archived too, now to see about finding a Zip disk reader...)

Re:Why I prefer physical media (2, Funny)

nomorecwrd (1193329) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780872)

I have one shiny, as good as new, parallel Zip Drive for sell ;-)

It even comes with a piggyback Ni-Cd Battery adapter, so that you can carry it around with your laptop.

Re:Why I prefer physical media (3, Interesting)

Inda (580031) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780916)

I get a lot of value out of the five quid Xbox360 Arcade games. I only bought Risk a few days ago and it already say 18 hours of gameplay!

Sure, I can't sell them but they're only a fiver. I loss far more money selling a brand new game after a couple of months.

AND (1)

future assassin (639396) | more than 3 years ago | (#32781174)

I can buy it used for 1/5 the price which lets me play a game I would have never bought in the first place and if I don't like it I can sell it for the same amount or more.

DRM (5, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780056)

We're so used to getting dicked around with the inability to format shift digital media that the only thing that seems safe is physical media.

Re:DRM (3, Funny)

binarylarry (1338699) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780100)

Yeah because they don't put DRM on the physical media....

Re:DRM (2, Insightful)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780318)

It's fairly transperent in comparison to some of the DRM the world has seen; carried over (say, to new owner) directly by the physical media itself.

Re:DRM (2)

commodore64_love (1445365) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780320)

They do but it's easily cracked and once that happens there's nothing the company can do to put the genie back in the bottle.

Re:DRM (1)

sznupi (719324) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780362)

PS. "Transparent" in the context of the story at least, console physical media.

Re:DRM (4, Interesting)

CordableTuna (1395439) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780158)

On my shelf is the boxed copy of Empire: Total War. Every time I want to play it I have to ask Gabe Nevell for a permission. In some ways the non-DRMed downloadable games are more real than that box.

Re:DRM (2, Insightful)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780246)

Just download a No CD crack. There's no reason to have the CD in for most games (well there may be music on there but for stuff like GTA you can copy it to the game directory).

Re:DRM (4, Funny)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780852)

Except those sites that host No CD cracks are scary places. Pirates and crackers hang out there, malware hidden beneath the surface, etc. No thank you. That's like saying saying you can go to the adult book and novelty store to get past region encoding on a DVD.

Re:DRM (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780866)

What console is that game for?

Re:DRM (2, Informative)

countSudoku() (1047544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780178)

Don't forget backwards game companies, Nintendo the main culprit, who fail at letting legitimate owners of their stupid products migrate our games to the next device. I call shenanigans!!1! I buy a Wii, would love to buy a black one, but can't because of special MarioDRM which makes me purchase the downloaded content all over again. I buy a DSi, would love to buy a DSxl, but can't because of MarioDRM. Nice work, Nintendo! You are teh suck! You just made me walk away from two new system purchases. That's just dumb. Dumb, dumb, Nintendo.

now shit (-1, Offtopic)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780060)

and most women still prefer a fat nigger cock.

Re:now shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780110)

[citation needed]

Re:now shit (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780522)

Come on over and I'll give you a "citation" :wink:

yes, downloads should be cheaper... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780096)

A few pence/cents cheaper.

mass pressing CDs and bulk distribution means that the cost of the disc is negligible

Re:yes, downloads should be cheaper... (2, Informative)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780150)

The mark up of the store combined with all the intermediaries is not negligible.

Re:yes, downloads should be cheaper... (1)

Simmeh (1320813) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780274)

It's not the cost of the disc at issue, its the significantly lower value of the product. The product value is determined by the buyer, and has no connection to the costs involved. A CD I can put in my PC and emulate one day. I can make copies of it. Its a "thing", with a (shrinking) booklet. It's WORM, rather than the nebulous "DLC".

Re:yes, downloads should be cheaper... (1)

sqlrob (173498) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780752)

I definitely agree, and that's the main reason I don't buy downloaded (GoG being the exception on PC. XBLA / PSN games I almost never consider).

I was just addressing the cost issue, not the value issue.

Re:yes, downloads should be cheaper... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780264)

A few pence/cents cheaper.

mass pressing CDs and bulk distribution means that the cost of the disc is negligible

The marginal cost of each additional disk might be negligible, but the cost of making that first one is significant.

Can't trade a download (5, Insightful)

GreatDrok (684119) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780104)

The only download game I bought was GTAIV-TLAD and almost as soon as I bought it they brought out the physical copy Episodes from Liberty City with that and the Ballad of Gay Tony on it. It was twice the price of the download but didn't require a large chunk of the disc space on my Xbox (20GB launch system) so I waited until one came up pre-owned cheap and picked that up. So, I've bought TLAD twice now. If I had bought a real disc I could sell it and get some money back but I can't. Great from the game publishers but crap for buyers. I won't do it again and in fact the vast majority of games I buy are preowned or discounted substantially such as Bioshock 2 bought brand new for half price. In 6 months or so I'll pick up Red Dead Redemption once all the fuss has died down and pre-owned copies hit the market at a decent price.

For me, if I had to buy games at full price I think I would stop buying them pretty much all together so none of my money would go into the industry - download games are just bad news.

Re:Can't trade a download (2, Informative)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780322)

Your main issue here seems to be lack of hard drive space.. though the Xbox does have a really weird system there so I maybe can't advise you to upgrade it. I bought a 40GB PS3 and shoved a 320GB HDD in there, I'm very happy to buy stuff online if it's cheaper. No having to wait days for delivery or go shopping, just download the game in a few minutes and go.

Re:Can't trade a download (1)

ZXDunny (1376265) | more than 3 years ago | (#32781050)

No having to wait days for delivery or go shopping, just download the game in a few minutes and go.

Unfortunately, my geographical location means that I'm limited to a download speed of about 20-30KB/Sec, which most of the time clocks in at about 10KB/Sec. This means that I can walk into the neighbouring town (12 miles away), buy a game, walk back and still have acquired the data quicker than if I had downloaded it. Physical media every time for me.

Re:Can't trade a download (1)

kaizokuace (1082079) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780532)

well, I think digital distribution is extremely convenient. If it was priced competitively with the used market more people would be likely to buy games. For example a game comes out on Steam and then after a month or 2 the price can be slashed to used prices. Since the downloads cant be "used" they should price to match used. There is no physical media so distribution costs are negligible and prices can be discounted very well. The way Steam does one day deals or special sales. Those games sell like hot cakes at the low prices. Turning more profit than at full price ever could.

Regarding digital downloads (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780108)

while only 25 per cent would prefer digital copies. In the survey, 55 per cent of those polled said price was the key factor in determining their interest in downloading games, while 27 per cent said they wanted games available online before they were in the shops.

Case in point: Steam [steampowered.com]

You have sales. You drop your price. You advertise. People buy games that they would have skipped over in an alternate timeline. You make more sales. You make more money. Everyone wins.

Honestly, at the price point of $5.99, I wouldn't cry if I couldn't access a steam game in 4 years. If all digital downloads had sales like steam, then I bet this poll would be much different.

Re:Regarding digital downloads (1)

Flamora (877499) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780324)

Bingo. I've bought games that I was severely on the fence about during the current sale because they were less than five dollars. That's less than the cost of lunch at the university I work at. It's not something I'm going to lose sleep over if the game turns out bad, or as related to the story and argument at hand, if Steam suddenly winks out of existence and I can not authenticate them.

We're in it for the long haul (5, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780112)

Generally, if I have a physical copy of the game, I can expect to still run it 20 years later, long after their authentication servers have bit the dust. I still play Alpha Centauri and Civ3 fairly often, and occasionally dig out the old N16 games.

Re:We're in it for the long haul (4, Insightful)

quanticle (843097) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780328)

Generally, if I have a physical copy of the game, I can expect to still run it 20 years later, long after their authentication servers have bit the dust.

That may have been true in the past, but these days, games purchased on physical media are just as DRM encumbered as their digital download brethren. It doesn't matter if you purchase Assassin's Creed 2 on a physical disk or as a digital download. It'll still communicate with its DRM servers as you play. These days, all you're paying for is a license key. The physical copy of the game is just a convenience, as you can generally install more quickly from a physical disk rather than a network connection.

Re:We're in it for the long haul (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780470)

that's where piracy comes in handy. You paid for the game and the "pirates" let you play it when ever/how ever you wish. which is how it should be. but not the pirate part games should be this way straight from the developer.

Re:We're in it for the long haul (1)

h4rr4r (612664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780604)

All of my ps3 games work without network connectivity. My PC games work with the community provided patches.

The PS3 games will work with an emulator one day too, just like my ps1 and 2 games do now.

Re:We're in it for the long haul (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780652)

Not the console version.

Of course they have to be cheaper digitally (4, Insightful)

KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780114)

No resources are wasted on materials, packaging, shipping or handling. Just electricity.

Re:Of course they have to be cheaper digitally (0, Redundant)

gontech (994373) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780478)

Except for the bandwidth, the servers handling the data requests, the support staff to make sure the system stays up... When you're talking about transferring hundreds of gigs, it can be cheaper to ship physical media.

"per cent" (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780120)

If only we had a shorthand symbol to represent this useful concept, we could save many characters.

eh.... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780122)

If I had the ability to move my downloaded games easily between one console and another, then I wouldn't mind download-only games. As it stands, unless a game is of OMFGMUSTPLAYNAO quality (I'm looking at you, 'Splosion Man, Shadow Complex, Cuboid, and others), I generally stay away from them.

Ironically (or not), unless there is a killer special edition, I exclusively buy PC games on Steam now.

Re:eh.... (1)

stoanhart (876182) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780490)

Same here.

It's kind of strange, isn't it? Sure, with Steam you can move your games from PC to PC, but it really doesn't solve the whole "what if the servers are not around in 10 years" issue. Yet, Steam is such a convenient package that I use it. Good execution, I guess.

Re:eh.... (1)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780940)

Basically right now, if a game has DRM I will not purchase it, unless maybe it's "OMGMUSTPLAYNAO 2, Revenge of the Fanbois". So my only Steam game is Portal and Half Life 2. Those will probably remain my only Steam purchases, ever. I have not purchased Bioshock, and probably never will, even though I am interested in playing it. DRM has effectively cured me of purchasing new games.

Remember, you don't need to buy this stuff, you don't need to purchase or pirate music or videos or games. You can just stop being a consumer. Play older games, or play games that don't have DRM (they still exist, for instance Fallout 3 which doesn't even require you to have the DVD inserted to play it).

Game companies don't care though as long as the hordes of kids with access to mom's credit card exist, so this sort of boycott doesn't affect them. But it does make life a bit simpler overall.

Re:eh.... (1)

Pojut (1027544) | more than 3 years ago | (#32781072)

If a game with Draconian DRM comes around, and is multiplatform, I'll just get it on a console. Publishers are usually the ones who dictate DRM, and I wouldn't want to punish developers due to a business decision beyond their control.

Why shouldn't it be cheaper? (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780124)

People's perceptions are that they're not prepared to pay as much for digital content — they make the connection that it's not a physical disc and therefore it should be cheaper.

Why shouldn't it be cheaper? With digital distribution you don't have to worry about pressing disks, printing manuals, designing box art, shipping, storage, and a host of other costs. If I'm getting less stuff, why shouldn't I pay less?

Re:Why shouldn't it be cheaper? (1)

jedidiah (1196) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780436)

Most importantly, digital distribution cuts out a couple layers of middle men.

If you are buying directly from the developer, or through a single intermediary then the asking price should be no higher than "wholesale".

Every time a physical product changes hands, someone needs to get their cut. It's no different for shiny discs with "content" on them.

Re:Why shouldn't it be cheaper? (2, Interesting)

Darinbob (1142669) | more than 3 years ago | (#32781082)

Oddly though, despite cutting out the middle men, the prices don't get lowered. With a boxed game, you can expect the price to drop rapidly after the first few months, and eventually you can find it in the bargain bin. Digital prices drop extremely slowly though. The cost of inventory is high for stores, but it's also the reason that prices drop over time, so that they can get rid of the inventory and free up shelf space. No such pressure for digital downloads.

Even the initial day one prices are similar between stores and digital downloads. Maybe there's a tiny discount for digital downloads, but not nearly as much as cutting out the middle men would imply. Basically boxed games are expensive with tiny margins, and digital downloads are expensive but with huge margins.

Re:Why shouldn't it be cheaper? (1)

c_forq (924234) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780524)

I would expect better on slashdot. What about the expenses of servers, redundant connection to said servers, and staff to keep the servers running?

Umm.....it SHOULD be cheaper! (4, Funny)

the_macman (874383) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780126)

Gee...imagine that. Introduce a method that eliminates the need of ALL packaging costs, ware house storage, shipping costs, duplicating hardware, the initial cost of the physical media, the cost of printed manuals, and customers expect the price to go DOWN? Plus we have get the added benefit of DRM lock in! Who do they think they are? Don't they understand we need to profit at all costs?! The audacity.

Re:Umm.....it SHOULD be cheaper! (4, Interesting)

Warhawke (1312723) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780830)

This is a major consumer misconception. While I'm the first person on the "give me reliable physical media that you can't revise post-purchase a la 1984" bandwagon, I've spent a long time dealing with smaller publishers in switching to digital distribution models (and all the while explaining why DRM is evil), and I was surprised as anyone to learn that packaging costs, storage, shipping, hardware, printing, and media costs are an infintesimal part of the production cost. More than that, digital distribution comes with its own set of incredibly high costs that actually outpaces traditional distribution: data servers, drive platters, support staff, server storage location... not to mention all of the costs that remain the same - graphic design, advertising, product placement, and even physical-copy game-cards so people without/uncomfortable with using credit cards online can purchase too -- which all has to incur traditional packaging costs, warehouse storage, shipping costs, duplicating hardware, physical media, package printing, etc.

Not to mention online advertising is a total b*tch to do right. With a physical product, it has the added benefit of advertising itself (forgetting for a moment retailer practice of charging for shelf-space placement). With digital, no one knows it's there unless you're paying someone to advertise it for you, or giving them a substantial chunk of the pie. So yes, digital distribution is not only going to NOT cost less, it's probably going to cost a whole lot more. Just look at e-book pricing arguments, because the same amount of work is going into them, and that work usually costs a lot more. Web developers get paid $75-$125 / hr. industry rate; truckers get a touch over minimum wage. Why bother with digital downloads, then, if it's going to cost more? Perishability and tracking. Not only can you ensure a 1-1 purchase / use rate by destroying the secondary market, you can also research market variables by looking at the profiles of who is downloading your media and what other kinds of media they are purchasing. Hence, this is why DRM has become so attractive to publishers, because in everyone's cry for digital distribution, what everyone REALLY wanted was cheaper IP, and publishers as for-profit organizations were compelled to recoup on profits lost by the shift to digital distribution.

Re:Umm.....it SHOULD be cheaper! (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#32781202)

I'd mod you informative if I hadn't already posted. Personally at this point, I only buy download only games from indie developers and sites like GoG that allow me to own the game sans any kind of DRM. There's a lot of games that I'd love to buy, but won't because the DRM or packaging is ridiculous. Starcraft II is a game that I really want to play, but won't due to the ridiculous DRM policy in place on it. Well, and them removing network play.

Steaming (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780128)

I don't care if your games are $1, Steam. I want to be able to trade them. If copying is "stealing", then I should be able to trade. For example, you can steal a banana or trade it.

You can't have it both ways.

wtf? (4, Insightful)

kuzb (724081) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780130)

Despite the advent of online game stores on all three major consoles, most console gamers apparently still prefer hoarding collections of gaming discs to downloading games

You know, that might have a lot to do with the fact that most titles are never available for download until they're 5 years of age or older. It's like saying "more people prefer chocolate to vanilla" in a store that only sells chocolate.

Because I can Keep it (1)

decipher_saint (72686) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780186)

There are some games that will never, EVER get a re-release so the only way I can ensure I enjoy something for years to come is to actually buy the damn thing and keep it.

So far the only thing that has foiled this is theft...

Duh, a no brainer (5, Insightful)

Rurik (113882) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780200)

Physical media will always be far superior to digital.

1) Can buy the game used. Instead of paying $60 for a game, you can wait a few weeks and get it for $35-40. Within a few months, it's available for $20-30 while Steam still sells it for $60.

2) It can be resold. After you spend 10 hours finishing that game, you can turn it around and resell it for 80% of its buying price. You can then apply that money towards #1 and buy another game for cheap.

3) You're not stuck with it. How many games, honestly, do you still play after a year? Maybe one or two. Why be permanently stuck with a game that you'll never play again? And why be stuck with a game that sucks? How about those poor saps that paid $60 for Terminator Salvation, discovered the game could be beaten in 5 hours, and had absolutely no replay value?

4) You can trade games. The ultimate barter. Tired of a game and need a break? Trade with a friend for a month. Want to see if a game is really fun? Borrow it from a friend. Downloadable demos do not compare.

5) A visual reminder. Having a physical boxed item is a visual reminder that you have a game that you can play. I compare this to the Humble Games bundle I bought a few weeks back. I honestly keep forgetting that I have these games to play, since they're just icons on my desktop along with dozens of others. It's different than being bored and walking to a bookcase to view through a physical collection.

Re:Duh, a no brainer (3, Insightful)

drinkypoo (153816) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780408)

Physical media will always be far superior to digital.

Single-user registration keys are gradually eroding all the benefits save not having to download.

The visual reminder thing is silly. That's why we have icons. Make sure your games have 'em.

Re:Duh, a no brainer (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780418)

1. Just bought the 2K complete pack on Steam for $90. 27 games for $90. I'm sure you can go get that deal at any Gamestop, though.

Re:Duh, a no brainer (1)

Rurik (113882) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780464)

I'm sorry for your loss.

The one advantage of steam (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780560)

Is that they offer older games at good discount. Just bought Street Fighter IV via Steam for $10, where as the console offerings are around $20-30 second hand.

And a couple of weeks ago, I bought the bundle of 5 codemaster racing games for $20.

So I'd guess that the price point for when I would buy games digitally is around $10.

That said, I do take pride in my collection of retro games consoles and those games, which get a run every now and then. And I'm not going to re-buy those to run on new hardware.

Re:Duh, a no brainer (1, Insightful)

Twinbee (767046) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780770)

Physical media will always be far superior to digital.

Not really no. Physical media takes up space.

1) Can buy the game used. Instead of paying $60 for a game, you can wait a few weeks and get it for $35-40. Within a few months, it's available for $20-30 while Steam still sells it for $60.

You can still theoretically sell a non-DRM digitial copy, and delete the original, though you'd have to be honest about it. You used the word 'always' initially which implies that at no future point will humanity be honest in this way.

2) It can be resold. After you spend 10 hours finishing that game, you can turn it around and resell it for 80% of its buying price. You can then apply that money towards #1 and buy another game for cheap.

See 1.

3) You're not stuck with it. How many games, honestly, do you still play after a year? Maybe one or two. Why be permanently stuck with a game that you'll never play again? And why be stuck with a game that sucks? How about those poor saps that paid $60 for Terminator Salvation, discovered the game could be beaten in 5 hours, and had absolutely no replay value?

Er, there's always the delete/uninstall button...?

4) You can trade games. The ultimate barter. Tired of a game and need a break? Trade with a friend for a month. Want to see if a game is really fun? Borrow it from a friend. Downloadable demos do not compare.

Swap (non-drm) digital copies, and both parties can delete their initial originals. Problem solved.

5) A visual reminder. Having a physical boxed item is a visual reminder that you have a game that you can play.

Get a nicer presentation system then. In the future, we'll have 200" OLED monitors displaying 'game box covers' in 3D with all the bells and whistles you could ever want. Perhaps you want the smell of the paper box emulated too?

Re:Duh, a no brainer (1)

Radres (776901) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780858)

The grandparent post deals with the realities of DRM, you are living in a fantasy land where the games are not DRM. So while it's true that in theory digital media is better, in practice DRM makes it so that it is not.

The real complaint... (1)

nitehawk214 (222219) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780216)

Their real complaint is that consumers are not willing to pay full price for something they cannot turn around and sell when they are done with it.

Also, it is cheaper for the publishers to distribute downloads then it is for physical media. Why shouldn't we get some of that discount passed on to us? This sounds like the RIAA model: Distribution is cheaper, so we get a bigger profit margin. Screw the customers for thinking they should get what they pay for!

Mr. Bramley just doesn't get it...

Re:The real complaint... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780442)

Distribution of physical media is so cheap anyway, how much do you think it costs to press cd/dvd media in bulk?

The cost of distribution has been getting cheaper and cheaper for years, while the cost of prerecorded media has steadily gone up... Downloads are simply the next step to further gouge the customers.

"digital copies"???? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780220)

What the hell do you think the disc is?

Uhm, disk space also a factor. (3, Informative)

RyuuzakiTetsuya (195424) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780236)

I've got somewhere around 20 or so PS3 games and only a 40GB HDD.

Even if you assumed I had upgraded to a 500 gig disk, at about ~10 to upwards of ~40gigs per game, usually 10, my drive starts to fill up. Fast. And I still need to store saves, music, video and everything else.

Screw that.

Just give me discs.

Re:Uhm, disk space also a factor. (0, Troll)

tepples (727027) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780450)

at about ~10 to upwards of ~40gigs per game

How is the PS3 so inefficient? Downloadable games on the Wii are only 10 to 40 megs.

Just give me discs.

There are plenty of games on Wii Shop Channel for 10 USD each. That price point will never happen with retail discs unless they're on clearance.

Re:Uhm, disk space also a factor. (1)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780580)

at about ~10 to upwards of ~40gigs per game

How is the PS3 so inefficient? Downloadable games on the Wii are only 10 to 40 megs.

Mkay Mr. Troll. Here's how the PS3 is so "inefficient": It has games that offer dozens (perhaps hundreds) of hours of visually rich, unique content. Oddly enough, you need gigs and gigs of textures and sounds and movies to achieve this. Not everyone has game tastes that stop at Wii Tennis, with its grand total of 2 textures.

Re:Uhm, disk space also a factor. (1)

nomorecwrd (1193329) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780796)

Because Wii is just a refurbished GameCube with nice controls. ;-)

Graphics, sounds, music, and everything that make the games rich in terms of multimedia is heavy

You can have same game with midi music and cartoon characters at 640x480 for 10 megs or photorealistic 1920x1080 graphics with AC3 sound for 10 gigs.

No suprise (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780282)

While i'm not a gamer, i have an extensive DVD & CD collection, and i refuse to pay to download a bunch of bytes, if i pay for it, i want it in a shiny container that i can put with the rest of my collection.

Also, physical media can be sold on, downloads.... not so much

sony ps3 otheros and blocking access to PSN (1)

speculatrix (678524) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780312)

With many games retailing for a lot more than $10, I refuse to buy without a resale option, so I nearly always buy physical media... usually 2nd hand off ebay, since I'm late to the PS3 so even old games are still new to me. That said, I've downloaded lots of demos from the PSN, and did buy one game off it (lemmings) because it was quite cheap and not being able to trade it in or swap with friends doesn't matter too much.

Another reason is that I've got an old firmware, as I'm still holding on to OtherOs/Linux on my PS3, so I've been blocked from the PSN store, putting about $5 in limbo. I'm hoping a hacked firmware will appear which will renable otheros but allow access to the store, but it seems GeoHot has taken a back seat on that.

I've had a PS3 since late last year - bought a phat just as the slim came out, getting a discount, and I wanted otheros etc. It replaced my (chipped) original xbox (non-360) which was stolen.

Re:sony ps3 otheros and blocking access to PSN (1)

fredjh (1602699) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780460)

Along with what you said:

People's perceptions are that they're not prepared to pay as much for digital content -- they make the connection that it's not a physical disc and therefore it should be cheaper.

I have this problem with eBooks, too... many paperbacks cost nearly just as much as the physical versions, but you have no right to resale.

I feel we're saving the manufacturers a pretty significant amount by buying electronic only versions, they ought to make it worthwhile for us... that is, unless they want to continue the self-fulfilling excuses for pirating.

People aren't all dumb (1)

nedlohs (1335013) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780342)

They know that being able to resell the physical disk is worse something.

Re:People aren't all dumb (1)

AmonTheMetalhead (1277044) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780468)

It's worse for the publishers alright

Cost... (1)

Bert64 (520050) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780386)

People assume that a download is worth less than a physical copy because they can't physically hold it, however if you consider the actual cost of a dvd the difference in cost will be a couple of cents at most.

There is also the worry that downloads will be tied to something arbitrary like an account or a single piece of hardware, which you may lose access to and thus lose your games.

Personally i prefer downloaded games that i can store on an HD to the hassles of physical media, then again the only game downloads that don't place arbitrary restrictions on me or price-gouge are the usual pirate sources.

Re:Cost... (1)

Dragoniz3r (992309) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780638)

People assume that a download is worth less than a physical copy because they can't physically hold it, however if you consider the actual cost of a dvd the difference in cost will be a couple of cents at most.

Let's not forget about the printed booklet (which is vastly expensive if you listen to ubisoft), the box it's held in, the plastic wrap around that box, the cost of loading it onto a truck, moving said truck halfway across the US, unloading it from the truck again, and getting some highschool monkey to put it on the shelves. The shelf space itself may cost money too.

It's still bullshit that physical games cost so much, but that doesn't mean there are no costs involved with producing them.

Plays4sure (1)

MillionthMonkey (240664) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780654)

As of August 31, 2008, we will no longer be able to support the retrieval of license keys for the songs you purchased from MSN Music or the authorization of additional computers. You will need to obtain a license key for each of your songs downloaded from MSN Music on any new computer, and you must do so before August 31, 2008. If you attempt to transfer your songs to additional computers after August 31, 2008, those songs will not successfully play.

IIRC they did allow a short time for people to quickly burn their purchases onto audio CD.

A music collection is usually supposed to survive sitting in a corner mostly undisturbed for years. You shouldn't have to periodically "maintain" it to keep stuff from not playing anymore. You shouldn't have to watch your email for announcements. You should be able to wake up from a coma and pull out any arbitrary album, despite how long it's been there, and assume that it will play.

Re:Cost... (1)

careysub (976506) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780674)

People assume that a download is worth less than a physical copy because they can't physically hold it, however if you consider the actual cost of a dvd the difference in cost will be a couple of cents at most...

About 5 years ago the cost breakdown for a CD sold in a store included 80 cents for packaging/manufacturing, 90 cents for distribution, 80 cents for retail proft, and $3.89 for retail overhead. So if we are talking about retail price in a store selling the game, the cost of making and distributing that disk added up (then) to $6.39. See: http://wizbangblog.com/content/2004/10/14/does-a-cd-have.php [wizbangblog.com]

Even the taking retailing costs entirely out of the picture it is $1.70. Do the game makers only sell their disks from their website? Even if so we must adding shipping/handling costs to this $1.70 . Not exactly "a couple of cents at most."

Really? (1)

WillyWanker (1502057) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780534)

Wow, you mean consumers are smart enough to realize that paying $60 for a digital download gives them less than paying $60 for a disc with a case and a manual?

No shit sherlock. Fer real?

it's the licensing that kills ya (3, Insightful)

jollyreaper (513215) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780548)

I hate physical media. It's a pain in the ass. I'll tolerate getting DVD's from netflix but I'd prefer if everything streamed. I'm damn well never buying another DVD again. Of course, life is made easier by being able to torrent what I can't get through netflix. I'm also very happy reading my books electronically. Sometimes reference hardcopy is nice but for novels and the like, electronic is the way to go. But they dick you too hard through the online stores. And that's the weakness with the games.

As far as games go, they're screwing you six ways from Sunday. You have to buy from the official store. I know on itunes for iphone apps you have to back it up yourself since they won't let you download it again if you lose it. I don't know how Xbox handles that sort of thing. I know people are complaining about trying to migrate downloads from console to console so I guess they're handling it poorly. And then there's the issue on getting discounted used games, trade-ins, borrowing a game from a friend, etc. Can't do any of that with downloads. And the hard drives on the consoles are so limited. 20gb for an Xbox? please. Oh, they came out with a 250gb. Whooptie fucking doo. You run out of space real quick and they sure as hell won't let you hook up an external drive via usb.

So given the current state of the industry, I'm stuck preferring physical game media to downloads, but that's only due to the legal constraints. If not for that, downloads would be the way to go, same as it is with PC.

Re:it's the licensing that kills ya (1)

BlueFiberOptics (883376) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780778)

My issue with streaming services are the lack of subtitles. I like to have English subtitles when I watch movies because my friends are not native English speakers. (Or if I'm watching a non-English movie)

Re:it's the licensing that kills ya (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780802)

You can re-download purchased iTunes/iPhone store apps. I have done this many times already, even after getting an upgraded iPhone model. The iTunes account saves your purchase history.

Re:it's the licensing that kills ya (1)

Warhawke (1312723) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780984)

You have to buy from the official store. I know on itunes for iphone apps you have to back it up yourself since they won't let you download it again if you lose it.

That is completely untrue. [yahoo.com] Your iTunes apps are saved to your account, so if you accidentally or intentionally delete something, you can download it again.

I don't know how Xbox handles that sort of thing.

The exact same way. All purchases are tied to your account. Sure, if the servers go down then you're boned, but then you could have just backed up your data in the first place.

[A]nd they sure as hell won't let you hook up an external drive via usb

You can set up 16 Gb partitions for use with USB media [xbox.com] to back up all of your game content and saves, minus disk images of physical disks (downloads work fine) and user data, which cannot be duplicated but can be recovered from their server. Is it DRM? Yeah, and it's restrictive. Is it screwing you six ways from Sunday? Not really. You're losing the sell-back option, but it was only a matter of time before publishers started going after the used game market anyway [yahoo.com] .

I like both ... sort of (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780572)

I like having as many of my games as possible all loaded in a harddrive, so I can just turn on the console remotely and play. No swapping discs, no noisey cdrom drive, etc. Same principle as why people prefer a "jukebox" they can stick in their pocket.

However, I do still prefer physical media, since I want to actually OWN what I purchase. So while I have bought a few independant games via download, I prefer discs for the AAA stuff.

Now, the irony here to my first comment above is that even if I install my games to my XBOX hard drive, I still have the inconvenience of swapping the damn disc as "proof" I own it. Legit customer, inconvenienced. I was much happier with my PS2 and HDLoader. Power up, get a menu of my games, pick one and play.

Wii games don't move... (3, Informative)

Moof123 (1292134) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780644)

Downloaded Wii games live on the console, and can't get moved off to a new one. So while the Wii will play old Game Cube games, all your downloaded content will not be forward compatible to the Wii 2 (or whatever they come out with next). Physical media likely will have some sort of path forward if history is any lesson.

So yeah, disc please!

Prices dropping like mad (1, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#32780718)

After seeing games that are only a couple years old on Steam for under $10, I could give a shit less about physical media. I have lost all interest in being a "hard core" gamer having to have the latest and greatest in hardware and software. I barely have any time to play much less go up to Best Buy to dig through the somewhat limited selection they have.

I don't much follow anymore the release dates of new games. It helps me not get overly excited about the next big thing and keeps me from pre-ordering it. My biggest indicator as too whether or not a game is going to be a AAA must have title is when they hold the $50 release price for 4-6 months. You don't even much need to read the reviews since most of the companies panic and drop the price on a game they know is shit.

Once any games hit the $10 and under mark I'll buy it just to have something to play with for a few hours/days and then delete it off my system. It's the gaming equivalent of one of those snack bags of chips.

As far as sharing with friends, fuck them, they need to go buy their own damn copy so we can play co-op or multi-player.

EA is why I'm soured on digital media (2, Informative)

socz (1057222) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780860)

So, when Spore came out, there was this big thing and I was like that sucks, but probably won't affect/effect me because I don't really go for those games or most games from EA right...

So a friend made (convinced) me to get BattleField 2142 right... So after a format or 3 (hardware issue) I wasn't able to play because I've hit the max install limits. I was very upset ;D

So I hit the EA forums, and literally, a "mod" said to send him PM's with info and they'd help out. Although people were helped at first, that was the end of it. The "mod" said that EA people weren't going to "fix" those problems. That's when the outrage started!

So after hearing NOTHING back from EA directly, the "mod" was actually more helpful even though they didn't work for EA, I did what everyone else was doing (and suggested everyone else to do) which was reporting EA to the BBB. Big whoop right?

EA actually answered, once, and never again lol. So I said f this and forgot about it. Months later I tried it and sure enough it installed, with no surprise. I had found out that after a certain amount of time (I think weeks) the installs "get cleared" from their system and allow it to be installed once again on a "different" PC. What was different was the install, as the hardware (except one stick of RAM!), case, software and programs were all exactly the same! So since then I go out of my way to keep people from buying their games.

So yeah, whenever possible, I try to stick to physical media. Sure, it could have the same exact thing built into it, but I am not forced to install a downloader which downloads a game several GB's fat each and every time you want to reinstall. I backed up all my files and installers and it just didn't like that. It thought I was trying to trick it! So yeah, I played by their rules once, and they lost a customer and hopefully countless others as well.

Hard rive crashes (1)

DogDude (805747) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780888)

I wouldn't mind buying games online except that if the hard drive in my PS3 crashes, I lose my games. Sony says that they are not responsible if a hard drive crashes and games are lost. It's up to the user to back up the hard drive on their own. Well, fuck that. I'll just buy the discs and not worry about backups.

Consoles are for trailer trash (-1, Flamebait)

zaibazu (976612) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780892)

It is just idiot proof. Consoles are also built to be used by people that aren't exactly cumputer literate. The user has to be able to play a game without much thinking. It will take at least a decade till this model will fade. Turn the console on, put in disc play game, a console just can't afford to be more complicated than that with the current market situation.

How about a physical media that doesn't wear? (1)

trout007 (975317) | more than 3 years ago | (#32780944)

I know I'm dating myself here but I remember my first CD ROM drive. You had a little case that had a sliding door similar to what a 3-1/2 disk looked like. It was great because you didn't have access to the disc surface and you couldn't scratch them. I have kids and it's hard for them to properly hold a CD so they always get finger prints on them.
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