Physical vs Digital

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Physical vs Digital

Postby Infyrin » April 4th, 2016, 5:10 am

Which do you prefer?

I'm 50/50 between them with weighed in pros and cons. I figure I'd share those with you and you can provide your own opinions on which may be better. This mostly applies to PC games, but you might like emulation so I don't see a problem bringing the subject of that along too.

Physical Copies (Pros):

Legitimate Copies - In times where copyright is in a heated debate and trying to find a line in a huge grey area is troublesome. It's much better safe than sorry to have a physical copy on hand than a illegitimate copy floating around that could get you prosecuted.

Bragging Rights - 4 years ago, I felt like a badass when I had a lot of good titles for the NES, SNES and N64 in their physical form. I was proud with the job I had at the time that helped me afford to build this collection, only to lose it several months later. Yeah I was dismayed. But, the one thing physical copies have over digital is that it's much more impressive to showcase the boxart and the completion of a title. Than it is showing just a file explorer window and browsing through a list.

Guaranteed Performance - This is a personal knock on emulation even though I used to be in the scene a decade ago. I'd much, by comparison, prefer a legitimate copy than a digital one. For the reason that the physical copy is guaranteed to work flawlessly without tinkering with settings and banking on certain computer performance that may or may not run said game as much as a console/hand held would.

Resell Value - People would pay a lot more when you're reselling certain copies than they ever would if you're somehow caught selling ROMs or even Repo copies.

Physical Copies (Cons):

Space - Unless you have the room, storing physical copies can be a pain and can make you look like a hoarder if you aren't prepared in advance for the collection you're about to build.

Availability - Finding certain games is abysmal and really plays on a few key factors. Where you're living, what thrift shops are around you, any Goodwills nearby and if there's generosity in local ads that are kind enough to make things affordable for you to get these copies. It'd be nice if some things were produced again, but, progress says otherwise.

Resell Value - This has it's issues and I'm sure you could relate. Finding shady resellers be it in flea markets or the stores I've mentioned above, may make copies priced at an arm and a leg to get them. Even on extremely common titles for their time like Super Mario Bros for the NES, someone will want $12+ for it and that's not really worth it for a common title. Let's throw in condition upkeep while we're at it, people get their panties in a bunch over conditions and I do predict in a couple decades, finding a decent copy of a game will practically be a diamond find no matter what title it is.

Digital Copies (Pros):

Space - It is extremely easy to organize all of your digital titles in however way you want and you don't really have to worry about clutter. Also, they don't take up a lot of space for storage on an HDD, non-PC games that is.

Digital Copies (Cons):

Resell Value - Unless a game is from a digital distributor like Humble Bundle, Bundle Stars.etc and you have keys you can sell under Steam's sale, selling digital games is mostly a miss.

DRM - With physical copies, you don't always have to put up with DRM as often as you run into when it comes to digital copies. With Steam having you to keep it running to run a game can get annoying, granted there is GoG that says "**** that" and allows for DRM-Free alternatives.

Availability - This is mostly in concern regarding to services like Virtual Console, PSN and X-Box Live Arcade. Where, if decided, digital games can be pulled from your account and can be pulled at a whim from being purchased on the digital marketplace. There are still some games that just aren't available in those services that'd be nice to have. Let's not even start with Region Lock...

Those are all the ones I've pulled off the top of my head, I know I could've said more but I want to leave whatever room for what you can come up with.
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Re: Physical vs Digital

Postby Strato » April 6th, 2016, 6:52 pm

I prefer digital over physical for convenience. However, the pricing is not competitive yet for digital over physical. Here's a comparison of a $60 new release pricing:

$60 new release bought digital = $60
$60 new release bought at Amazon with 20% Prime discount = $48
$60 new release bought at Best Buy with GCU + $10 pre-order discount (available on some games) = $38

Additional step for physical games: After 1-2 weeks, complete the game and resell it used on Amazon or eBay gaining back ~$40-$45 after fees recouping almost all of the cost of the game. This is how I afford to pick up most new releases.

I definitely prefer the ability to launch a game right away off my drive without changing discs and to not take up space with physical copies of games but right now there is just not enough price incentive for me to switch to all digital.

My situation is somewhat unique though since I churn through games for Achievements and Trophies as well to capture gameplay for Youtube videos. There are of course games that I know I will be putting tons of hours into which I will hold onto or wait 6 months after their release to pick up for $10-$20.

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That covers new releases. For retro games, I have slowly been selling off my old collection of games. Unfortunately, they just take up too much space and we have seen a huge increase in prices for games as more collectors enter the market. I also just can't trust the physical version of any game that saves data due to potential data loss on physical copies. I feel crappy doing it, but almost all my retro gaming is done now through emulators. Also, sites like http://www.retroachievements.org are fantastic for encouraging replaying older games in new ways.
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Re: Physical vs Digital

Postby Prince Shondronai » April 8th, 2016, 3:40 pm

Physical, all the way. I'll still buy digital-only games, but I'd much rather have a disc or cart.

I don't like relying on download services keeping my games available if something happens to the data on my end. Lost Winds on the Wii was removed from the shop, and somehow got erased from my system's memory. Now it's gone forever, even though I paid for it.
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Re: Physical vs Digital

Postby Strato » April 8th, 2016, 11:40 pm

Prince Shondronai wrote:I don't like relying on download services keeping my games available if something happens to the data on my end. Lost Winds on the Wii was removed from the shop, and somehow got erased from my system's memory. Now it's gone forever, even though I paid for it.


Unfortunately, I think that situation is unique to Nintendo. I know on PSN/Steam/X-Box Live, I own a number of delisted titles and even if I were to delete them from my local storage, I still would be able to download them again. Hopefully Nintendo's new account system has fixed this by now though.
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Re: Physical vs Digital

Postby The Phoenix » April 19th, 2016, 3:16 am

I usually like physical copies with most games. The problem with digital (and this applies to emulation and Steam games sometimes) is that there are some, if not, a lot of issues when trying to play the games.
Emulators for older systems (like the SNES, NES and other similar emulators) are very accurate (depending on the emulator) and provide great performance even on a sh*t computer. Nestopia does a fantastic job at emulating NES games with no real issues or performance hits. For SNES, Higen or Bnes are extremely, cycle accurate emulators that get the job done. I would not say the same for ZSNES however, as it is a piece of sh*t. Its UI is great, but most games have so many graphical bugs it's unbelievable. There's a hybrid that combines Snes9x with the UI of ZSNES but I forgot the name completely. When you use ePSXe or PCSX2 the issues become very apparent. Depending on the game there will be either lots of issues, a few issues or no issues when trying to play some games.

Now with Steam, old games just do not work well on the newer systems. It's either that, or the game becomes broken or sh*tty as a result of being digital instead of physical. There is no dedicated team for checking old games for bugs, that rarely happens. This is where the physical copy does its job well. Exhibit A, the Grand Theft Auto series, or, more specifically, III, Vice City and San Andreas. The Steam versions are horrible and are littered with issues. The physical copies of the games? Work much better then the Steam versions.

In the end it depends on the situation I guess. But I usually just prefer physical copies of a game rather than digital most of the time.
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Re: Physical vs Digital

Postby Yoshi[NX] » April 20th, 2016, 12:06 pm

Old 16bit games have a tendency to not work at all. Which is sad because I like old 16 bit games.
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Re: Physical vs Digital

Postby Kamek » April 23rd, 2016, 11:31 am

Physical all day. Especially as a Nintendo gamer. Did you see what happened to UMvC3? Capcops lost the rights, and no longer available digitally. There's too much potential for losing things with digital.
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Re: Physical vs Digital

Postby Sapphire Rose » April 23rd, 2016, 1:44 pm

Living in a smaller living space with multiple people I prefer digital right now. If I had the space I'd LOVE to get my physical collection up again, but unfortunately I just don't have the room.
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Re: Physical vs Digital

Postby The Phoenix » April 25th, 2016, 1:08 am

Kamek wrote:Physical all day. Especially as a Nintendo gamer. Did you see what happened to UMvC3? Capcops lost the rights, and no longer available digitally. There's too much potential for losing things with digital.


Similar thing with Scott Pilgrim Vs. The World. I still own it, but unfortunately you aren't able to purchase it anymore.
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Re: Physical vs Digital

Postby Danansmith » May 11th, 2016, 2:40 am

I am very interested in this post and I will pay further attention to this post, thanks!
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Re: Physical vs Digital

Postby stevensargent » August 2nd, 2017, 11:08 pm

It depends on the situation.
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