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Digital games and you

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Every so often this comes up in other threads so I figured in my quest for a seemingly meaningless Silver medal I'd create a thread to discuss.

Here are some questions to start the conversation though no need to adhere to it:

* How do you feel about digital games?
* Do you own any digital games?
* Do you still buy physical games?
* What factors into your decision?
* Is streaming an option for you?
I'll go first:

* I was vehemently against digital games as far back as Wii Shop Channel. I preferred having something tangible to own. I have since eased up on this and even embraced digital games. I regret not buying Castlevania: The Adventure Rebirth as Konami has never rereleased it. That sounds like a mark against digital games. However, there are old physical games that are so far out of my price range, I will either have to accept that I will never play it or resort to less legal alternatives. For example, Konami has also never re-released Ninja Five-O digitally or otherwise.
* The first digital game I bought was Shantae: Risky's Revenge on DSi since I couldn't play it by any other means. I dabbled here and there mostly when the download was free or absurdly cheap. I'm all digital on PS4, largely adhering to my goal of waiting for sub-$20 sales. I generally choose digital for indie games on Switch. I have a couple to double dip digitally when they're under $10.
* I still buy the physical copy of new first and third party games on Switch though I will likely go all digital on the Switch successor as larger capacity SD cards become more affordable. I recently bought a 256 GB micro SD card for ~$27. By the time a Switch successor launches, 1 TB will likely be sub-$100, maybe sub-$50.

Still, my decision may depend on how Nintendo handles eShop purchases. As stated before, it locked purchases to four other consoles. Nintendo seems to be doing things differently this time. We'll see.
* For older games, I still prefer buying legitimate physical cartridges, discs, and cards. There's an intangible value in playing games on original hardware when possible (holding the old controller or handheld takes me back).

The main determining factor for me is the existence of patches. For old cartridges, that's just the game, flaws and all (homebrew patches aside). I get the argument that having a physical copy means you can still play that game even after it has been pulled from a digital store. However, I have no interest in playing a pre-patched game. Super Smash Bros. Ultimate, for example, is not the same game due to rebalancing.

Additionally, the fragility of discs makes me weary of them. I've taken certain steps to digitize my old purchases on GameCube, a story for another thread. It isn't just discs. Eventually, cartridges/cards will fail. Old hardware will fail. Here's an article about DS/3DS cards eventually deteriorating.
* Streaming is an option for me though I will have to tailor it to my gaming habits, assuming future performance of the service does not disrupt gameplay. Depending on price, I will likely do month-to-month, play the game(s) I want then let the service lapse until I'm ready to play another game. Netflix's most recent price increase not only has me considering not canceling my subscription but also thinking about how much I need any service readily available enough to pay for it all the time. When I originally signed up, Netflix used to be like $7.99, and now, it's almost double that. I also have plenty to play in my backlog. Maybe I don't need a streaming service for games.

Nintendo Switch Online appears to be an indication of where Nintendo plans to go in the future. It nixed Virtual Console in all likelihood because it's more profitable to force customers to pay for these games in perpetuity, no matter how many times they may have bought these games in the past. That rubs me the wrong way except it'll be out of our hands eventually. Just like our old games, us oldheads are going to die one day. Newer generations are already being raised with digital downloads and streaming.

Luigi Dude:
With the Switch, I've gone all digital.  I did buy Mario Odyssey phsical at launch and then bought a physical copy of Kirby Star Allies and Xenoblade 2 a few months after, but this is what caused me to stop.  Kirby: Star Allies is a very mediocre Kirby game and a huge step down from Return to Dreamland, Triple Deluxe and Planet Robobot.  The DLC though that was released after launch though was really fun, and the last set they released at the end of 2018 that included a new mode that took advantage of all the DLC characters added, was legit great.

See this is what made me realize that owning physical copies of games these days is pointless.  The actual physical copy of Kirby: Star Allies contains a forgettable Kirby experience while the good stuff was added digitally later.  So if my Switch dies on me some day, owning a physical copy of Star Allies doesn't mean much since I'd loss everything I liked about the game anyway.

Of course this gets me thinking, I spent hundreds of dollars buying games on the Wii Virtual Console, but haven't played that system in years.  I've bought a lot of indie titles digitally on the Wii U as well, but have been playing that system less since the getting the Switch.  So the worry about losing all my games suddenly doesn't become that big a deal when I hardly play the older systems as much once the new ones come out anyway.

So basically, when new games have new content added digitally anyway that isn't on the disc or card, and I don't play these old systems as often when a new one comes out, I don't really see that much of a downside to just going all digital anymore.  It's more convenient to have all these games on one system and don't have to worry about misplacing the disc or card.  Yeah if my Switch dies I'll loss these games but right now if it dies I can send the system to Nintendo and still get everything back.  In 20 years from now that might be the case, but in 20 years from now who knows what Nintendo's videogame consoles will look like.  Did anyone expect anything like Nintendo Switch Online 20 years ago, where Nintendo would officially give you access to most of their NES and SNES games for only $20 a year.

Actually with Nintendo doing things like NSO and Microsoft with Gamepass, who's to say most of the games I've bought on Switch won't be easily available through some kind of streaming service in the future.  Suddenly the thought of losing everything I've downloaded Digitally isn't that big a deal when they'll be easy alternatives.

Of course on a darker note, will I even still be alive 20 years from now?  Right now I'm 36, but who knows how my health could be when I'm 56.  Even though it's pretty common these days for people to live well past their 80's, the chances of series health problems happening do increase as we get older.  Worrying about if my digital games will still be around 20 years from now isn't that big a deal anymore when you realize there could be bigger things I need to worry about when I'm 20 years older.

So yeah, to me Digital is just a better option these days and the only downside of potentially losing your games decades from now isn't that big a deal when I have no idea what my life might even me like decades from now anyway.

I've been all digital for a long time now. The most recent physical games I own are early 3DS games from before they started selling retail games digitally. I've joked that there's a possibility my Xbox One's disc drive was defective and I just never found out.

For me, it's a matter of convenience. Especially on something like Switch, it's so nice to be able to pick up the system and immediately have access to my entire library. With games being so dependent on patches these days owning the physical media isn't really going to be better if the servers get shut down, and storage is still a significant concern because of that as well, so I really don't see that many advantages of physical anymore.

I am always prefer physical games over digital and rarely do I get a download version of something that is available on a disc or cart. I like to have the objects on my shelf and I like the ceremony of loading them into the console. It just doesn't feel like I have the game if it is only a download. Also, I don't like worrying about running out of memory on the console. I am the same with movies and tv and still prefer discs to streaming, though there is noticeable difference in quality there. Of course, I have a ton of games digitally because that is the only way to get them. If a download is absurdly cheaper than the disc then I might also cave in on that front. If I am on the fence about getting a game then the physical copy usually puts me over the edge while it being download only makes me hesitant.

Mop it up:
1. I'm not against the idea of digital games but for me, it needs to be done in a way which makes sense for consumers. PCs definitely have an easier time getting this right, it's tougher for consoles since they often use different hardware although we're reaching a point where that's no longer a necessity so things could improve from here. Especially the DRM-free games stores on PC, where the game can be moved with no hassle to any new device people get and still played fine, that's the way to do it. Nintendo unfortunately has been the worst at things.

In my eyes, the advantage of digital should be that it's available in perpetuity, no worrying about something physical breaking, wearing out, or being stolen, and preferably not a worry about being unable to redownload it. Though, another problem I have is that digital games are effectively worthless. There's no way to get any amount of that money back. With physical I like the idea that I can make back some of the money sunk into all this junk, should I ever need it for whatever reason. Or just wanting to get rid of a game that ends up absolute garbage. Unfortunately setting up a way to sell digital games would probably be a logistical nightmare. Steam at least offers returns for a brief period of time, this is what all the shops should do.

Ideally both physical and digital should be offered to give choice, but since digital benefits corporations way too much, I don't expect physical to be around much longer. :(

2. I won't get into whether anyone really "owns" digital games, don't worry! This post is too long as it is and no one likes it when I flap my fingers like this! But uh, yes, to answer this question flatly, I have some digital games. I've never bought retail games as digital, though I have a few from promotions or something. Like when Nintendo offered some through Club Nintendo. 'Member that? Good times. A majority of the digital games I have were bought dirt cheap or plain free, because as I said above they're worthless to me so I treat them as such. I actually have over 140 on Switch due to its various fire sales, and about 30-40 or so each for Wii U and 3DS. All the digital games I have for Xbox are from Gold.

3. Yup! They're still often cheaper than digital thanks to retailer specials and the used market. Aside from stuff I mentioned above, space is also at a premium on Switch due to its dinky internal storage and only storage solution being microSD cards.

4. If it's physical I get physical. If it's digital I wait for dirt cheap or free. For Xbox, see number 5.

5. For Xbox I haven't bought any games, physical nor digital. I don't have any Series X discs, just the 7 Xbone discs my bro gave me, plus a host of 360 discs that I'm unsure are compatible. Instead... Xbox Game Pass! To cover the question first: Game Pass offers cloud gaming so streaming is an option for me, however so far I've only ever used it to complete the quests real quick. In those brief times I haven't had any issues, games load and play fine. I download the games I want to play, seems safer.

Since I treat digital games as worthless then I actually prefer the idea of a subscription service like Game Pass over buying individual digital games. I see no real value in "keeping" a digital game after I beat it, so rotating games in and out using a subscription just makes sense. It works out to be a much lower cost this way... especially since I don't pay for the subscription either! It's surprisingly easy to get free months of Game Pass through Microsoft Rewards, and while I s'pose it isn't "free" it hardly takes any time to get point and some go hand-in-hand with playing games so it goes full circle.

I know you only asked about specifically streaming and not a subscription service, but I figured I'd mention that I prefer a sub to streaming since downloading games is always gonna be more stable.


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