So, earlier in the week I wrote an article about why I don’t like buying digital games, and prefer to buy my games on disc instead. But I figured that it would be a good idea to grab some perspective on the issue, and try to come up with five reasons for throwing away the discs. This wasn’t easy, because I believe the opposite, but here are the five reasons that I believe could warrant buying games digitally from now on.
1) In theory, you can never really run out of space
By this, I mean both physical space and digital space. Whilst having a collection of games, DVDs, books and CDs is cool (in my opinion), you do need to have somewhere to store them. In my case, I’m starting to run out of space to store all of these discs. I could buy a new shelf, but eventually I’ll run out of wall space for the shelf. Theoretically, my house is only a finite size, so eventually I won’t have room to buy more games. Obviously, I’ll end up selling the ones that I don’t play. But, still, the fact remains that by downloading games, I’ll be able to have hundreds and thousands of titles stored away in nothing bigger than the console itself. You can get external storage for the Xbox One now, so I could have a few terabytes worth of games if I wanted… or could afford it.
2) It saves time and effort
The worst thing about buying physical things is that you have to go out to get them, or wait for them to be delivered. Amazon is pretty reliable these days, but other companies aren’t – I’m looking at you, GAME. Furthermore, in most cases the games being sold in store are the same price as those being sold on the XBL Marketplace. Ordering online may be cheaper, but you still need to wait for the game to be delivered. Then you need to wait for the game to install onto your console before you can play it. Buying the game through the marketplace is a lot quicker (almost instantaneous if you’ve hooked your card up to the console) and you don’t have to wait for delivery – just for it to download. You can buy a game and be playing it within the hour without even having to leave your armchair. Lazy, yes. But in this busy world, it’s good to save a little time here and there.
3) It gives you the opportunity to wait for reviews to come out, and then buy a game close to release date without needing to pre-order it
Whenever I pre-order a game, I always pre-order it online. That’s because the game is pretty much guaranteed to be waiting for me when I come in from work. The only downside to that is that the reviews aren’t usually out until after the game has been released. The review embargo is usually lifted by the time that the disc has been shipped, so if the game is full of bugs, glitches and is just generally a bit crap, we won’t know until after we’ve paid for the game. But, by downloading the game instead, you’ll be able to have a quick scout of the reviews that are out there, and then make an educated decision as to whether or not you’ll be buying the game. I’ve been burnt once or twice over the years by not waiting – had I just downloaded the game instead, I would have been able to play a game around the same time in the comfort of knowing that it won’t disappoint, or not bothered buying it if it’s been generally slated.
4) It will never break, get lost, or stolen
This is probably the best aspect of downloading instead of buying discs. I’ve ruined one or two game discs in my time, and my console has ruined many more. I’ve also lost plenty of games, and a few of my friends have had their games stolen. Digital games, however, are completely protected from all of this. If it breaks, you can uninstall it and re-install it. If you lose your console, or hard drive, or either get stolen, you can just re-install it again. That’s for free, too. Because technically you’re buying a licence to play the game, rather than the game itself.
5) Most things can go wrong with your console, but you’ll still be able to play the games
Late last year, my Xbox One committed hari-kari, and decided to stop playing discs. It also decided to eat my FIFA 15 disc, but that’s a story for another day. Whilst I was waiting for my free replacement console, my digital game library was the only thing that kept me going. “Only thing that kept me going” sounds a bit dramatic. But I need to play games to relax, and if I can’t relax, I’m not an overly pleasant person to be around. Still, despite my disc drive munching on FIFA 15, I was still able to play the games in my digital library and, when my new console came, I was able to re-download those games. I wasn’t able to re-use the FIFA disc though.
So there we have it. I think I’m still more prone to buying game discs rather than downloading my games. But that doesn’t mean that I won’t download a game if it’s cheaper, or more convenient. Do you prefer downloading games? Or are you like me and enjoy having a physical collection? Let me know in the comments below!