First off, I just want to highlight that this statement is directed more at consoles than it is PCs, particularly at the current-gen consoles. I also know that digital games are a little cheaper in the States but, sadly, that isn’t the case here in ol’ Blighty.
1) It’s a chore to see what games you have
I’ve always been a proponent of having a ‘collection’, particularly when that collection is of books, comics, DVDs and games. The iPod has beaten my physical collection of music, but I could see the fun in having a collection of CDs or vinyl, too; it’s probably something to do with my love for museums and having lots of nice things to look at. Having a digital collection, however, is something quite different. Instead of rows of cases on a shelf, you’re left with digital games that can only be seen when booting it up. I often find that my eye might catch a certain game that sits on my shelf, and it will inspire me to play it. I only ever go in to my digital library when there’s a specific digital game that I want to play. In my case, it means that I have scores of digital games gathering digital dust in my collection which are left untouched, because I forget that they’re there. Especially on the 360, where I have so many digital games that it’s actually a chore to search through them.
2) It’s expensive
Now, I can’t vouch for every country in the gaming globe, but I can tell you that in the UK, digital games are bloody expensive. You’ll be paying in excess of £55 for a game that you can get off of Amazon for £40. Occasionally they might put a sale on, and you can grab a bargain or two, but if you’re looking to both save money and get the latest games, buying digital games is not the way to do it. Maybe they’re trying to keep the market competitive, who knows, but considering that they’re selling something that doesn’t physically exist, requires little to no staff time, packaging, manufacture or costs overall, I’m always a little suspicious as to why they’re so expensive. Maybe it’s because they know we’ll pay it?
3) You can’t trade them in
So, not only are the digital games expensive, but you’ll also never be able to get any money back for them. You can’t trade in a digital game, because technically it doesn’t exist. A physical disc, however, can be sold on for monetary value. Granted, it won’t be what you paid for it in the first place, but it’ll definitely be better than nothing. When I was at school, I would buy the latest game, play it for a few weeks, complete it and then trade it in for another game. Money was tight, so I’d buy a game for £40, trade it in for £30, buy a game for £30 and trade it in for £20, until there weren’t any games left for the money I was getting back. That way, I got to play four or five games for my £40. If I wanted to play four or five games from the Xbox Live store, I’d be looking at at least £60, provided they weren’t the newest digital games out there. I mean, Zoo Tycoon is still £44.99…
4) It gets to the point where you can’t fit more games on the console, unless you want to invest in more memory
Every hard drive has its limit. The Xbox One’s 250GB limit might sound like a lot, but it’s actually pretty tiny – I only had the console for half a year and I’d already maxed out the memory before the update for external devices was released. Obviously, you can buy external memory, but when you’re not getting a physical product in your hand, and when that product is more expensive anyway, it feels a little lame.
5) You can’t lend games to your buddies
One of my favourite things to do with my friends is to swap games. It’s a great way to save money, and it’s also a brilliant way to share the games that you love with the people that you love. It gives you the opportunity to bond over the same experiences, over the shared joy created by a wonderful game. You can’t do that with digital games. If you want to share a digital game you have to invite the person over… and… like… talk to them and stuff.
So, overall, I’m not a fan of buying digital games. However, I do know that there are advantages. So, in the spirit of opening up my own eyes, I’m going to write a sequel to this article stating five reasons for boying off those discs! So look out for that one in the coming days and, once you’ve seen my arguments for and against digital games, let me know what you think in the comments section below!