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Offline Adrock

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Digital games and you
« on: February 27, 2022, 05:26:15 PM »
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.

Offline Luigi Dude

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Re: Digital games and you
« Reply #1 on: February 27, 2022, 05:59:47 PM »
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.
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Offline NWR_insanolord

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Re: Digital games and you
« Reply #2 on: February 27, 2022, 09:03:35 PM »
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.
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Offline M.K.Ultra

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Re: Digital games and you
« Reply #3 on: February 28, 2022, 12:38:30 PM »
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.

Offline Mop it up

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Re: Digital games and you
« Reply #4 on: February 28, 2022, 12:54:31 PM »
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.

Offline Khushrenada

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Re: Digital games and you
« Reply #5 on: February 28, 2022, 10:16:37 PM »
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.

Now that's how you start a thread! 8)

Man, there's a lot to unpack and discuss with those questions. Too much for just one post.

For now, I'll just start be giving my background to the topic. When it comes to digital games, I'm mainly approaching this from a Nintendo background. With launch of the Wii, that's sort of when digital games became a real thing thanks to the Virtual Console. Of course, with the iPhone also coming out around this time and starting the smartphone ecosystem that continues to this day, digital games were also taking off on other devices. Obviously, there was Steam on PC as well. Since my computer gaming is almost non-existent, I never really bothered to consider any of that. In fact, I'm not sure I've ever actually been to Steam's website... As for mobile games, they all seemed so simple and one note that I never really bothered installing any on my phone and just stuck with my DS for handheld gaming. (That'll show those mobile game developers!)

With the Wii, I never did get anything off the Virtual Console. For the most part, the games originally being offered on it were ones I already owned along with the original systems so I never saw the need to double dip. Later as deeper cuts did become available, I did consider it. As an example, when Sin and Punishment 64 was released, I saw some benefit to digital gaming as it could possibly help games that would be hard to release now due to factors like retired systems and limited appeal. Yet, I still dragged my feet on picking these up. In a way, it sort of didn't seem like it was that urgent to get them anytime soon. When the Wii U came, a lot of those games made the jump to that console so I could just get it for that system once the Wii Shop ended. (And with the Wii U eShop soon to close, I still haven't picked up Sin and Punishment but I get the feeling it will soon be appearing on the Switch's N64 app so this procrastination may finally pay off!)

Digital Gaming did change a bit in my eyes with World of Goo. That got a lot of good reviews and praise and highlighted to me that Digital Gaming wasn't just about small arcade gaming apps like Solitaire or Doodle Jump nor was it just about selling physically released games through download. There were now games worth playing that could only be gotten digitally. And I didn't really like that. If you got a game you didn't like then there was the possibility you could always sell it off and recoup some or most of the cost of it and get something else. Now, what happens? Moreover, demos of digital games at this time were kind of rare. As such, digital gaming felt like a more risky monetary gamble and so I continued to drag my feet on getting anything from the WiiWare offerings.

In fact, by the time WiiWare finally shut down in early 2018, the only game I ended up purchasing from it was Fluidity mainly based on the recommendation of Mop it up. I finally started playing a bit of it late last year around September. It's.... ok. Haven't gotten back to it after getting 5 or 6 rainbow drops but I probably will later this year to at least complete my WiiWare section on Backloggery. In the end, the one thing I did find of benefit from digital gaming was additional songs for Rock Band 3. In that case, the DLC was worth it. I really enjoyed playing Rock Band then and can still get hooked by it again when I boot it up when the mood strikes. The only thing I didn't like about the Rock Band and Guitar Hero games was that there was often like 10% of the songs on a release I was a fan of and wanted to play. With Rock Band 3 and its DLC shop, I could now have a game which full of the songs I'd want to play and listen to over and over. Who cares if there were like 20 or 30 songs on the base RB3 game I didn't like when I've now got like 150 songs I do like. It was much easier to spend money on that because the songs were a known quantity. I already liked them and I knew the gameplay wasn't going to be anything different or something I didn't like so in that case, digital gaming made sense. A company didn't need to release a new game with a new tracklist over and over (*cough* Activision *cough*) when you could just release one base game and then keep expanding the library for that game on the system it played on.

Of course, DLC would soon develop a reputation of being a way for publishers to charge more money for a game by holding back features behind a DLC paywall but, at that time, DLC seemed like a smart thing for certain types of games and was the main way I was engaging in the digital gaming space.

More to come later.
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Offline Mop it up

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Re: Digital games and you
« Reply #6 on: February 28, 2022, 11:02:55 PM »
(And with the Wii U eShop soon to close, I still haven't picked up Sin and Punishment but I get the feeling it will soon be appearing on the Switch's N64 app so this procrastination may finally pay off!)
Lucky for you it's already paid off, Sin & Punishment was among the launch titles for the N64 expansion!

Offline Khushrenada

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Re: Digital games and you
« Reply #7 on: February 28, 2022, 11:11:31 PM »
Whoever said, "Cheaters never win" must've never met Khushrenada.

Offline Stratos

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Re: Digital games and you
« Reply #8 on: March 02, 2022, 02:03:04 PM »
Was die hard physical until Switch. Its a convenience thing since it is portable and I'm lazy on switching carts even when at home/docked. Also been a little at odds with my wife with it because she wants less stuff and honestly I'm more in agreement now. I'd rather stay physical for the retro stuff and keep modern things digital.

Also SD cards are getting cheaper. I have a 512GB card I got for like $60 and still have plenty of space. Will grab a 1TB+ card when I need more and once the price is sub $100.

Also wife is so pro-digital that she basically gave me a blank check (within reason) on digital purchases since it is a win for both of us. So I don't worry about saving my "fun money" from our budget for games.
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Offline lolmonade

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Re: Digital games and you
« Reply #9 on: March 04, 2022, 02:02:20 PM »
How do you feel about digital games?

I've come to appreciate digital games for how they spare me the space to store them.  I've realized just how little space there is for gaming stuff before it spills over everywhere, and I'd like my home to be clean & organized. 

That said, I'll usually buy Nintendo games physically, either because I'll want to keep it or trade-in since they tend to hold value a little longer.  Not only that, but I'm extra mindful about how I can be locked-out of my digital library without an internet connection.  That last one makes it tough to buy a full retail game digitally unless it's something I'd want to pop on at a moments notice.

Do you own any digital games?

Lots and lots.

Do you still buy physical games?


What factors into your decision?

Availability of a physical copy vs something i'd want on the system.  Most indie games I like to play are digital only.

Is streaming an option for you?

100% No.  I tried Stadia and Luma in beta.  At best they were consistent but compromised graphics.  More often than not framerate hits or stuttering made most games unplayable.

Offline Order.RSS

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Re: Digital games and you
« Reply #10 on: March 04, 2022, 05:50:14 PM »
Kind of a mix. Sometimes I get (used) physical copies because they're cheaper, other times I'm willing to spend more for the convenience of a digital install. Particularly on Switch I agree with Insano:

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 do still see some advantages, particularly when it comes to the aftermarket of EOL devices. But it also stinks to go on a long trip and forget your cartridge or wanting to swap one out.
(This is envisioning a theoretical reality in which I get to take long trips, of course.)

Offline BeautifulShy

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Re: Digital games and you
« Reply #11 on: March 05, 2022, 07:04:48 AM »
How do you feel about digital games?

I don't mind digital as long as one is able to have them on the console forever and also make it easy enough to redownload if something happens to the hardware. 

Do you own any digital games?

I own some.  I started with digital games on the Wii through the Wii Shop Channel and Wii Ware games and I mainly got more into the Wiiware games because of the originality of the software.  Today with the Switch it is more of a matter of what I can carry around with me in the Switch case so I have some digital games and some physical games.   Also I have so many digital demos on my Switch it feels like I have a larger collection of Switch games than I would have otherwise.

Do you still buy physical games?

Yep I prefer physical games just so I have something I can grasp in my hand and just in case like with the 3DS and Wii U eshops closing and I can't  download them in time then I would go with physical.

What factors into your decision?

I kinda explained a little but convience and portability plays a part with what I obtain depending on what is going on in my life.

Is streaming an option for you?

Generally speaking when I stream it is typically PC games but probably for the next Nintendo console that would be a consideration since it can be fun to play with friends watching Nintendo exclusive games.

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Offline broodwars

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Re: Digital games and you
« Reply #12 on: March 06, 2022, 01:58:27 AM »
1. How do you feel about digital games?

I feel like they're a great option to have available, but I don't trust any of our digital storefronts, mainly because none of them have earned that trust. I feel like if digital storefronts are going to be taking our money, they should be obligated to keep those purchases available in perpetuity across all iterations of that service. So far, really only Steam or GoG have managed something like that, and I don't PC game these days so that doesn't really interest me.

2. Do you own any digital games?

No, and neither do you, in the legal sense. That's kind of the problem for me. I have digital games, certainly. Lots of them, actually, but I don't feel any sense of ownership when any company could pull their games from your hard drive at any time for any reason.

3. Do you still buy physical games?

Absolutely. If a game comes out that I'm interested in, I grab the physical version if possible. Yes, even if it means having to wait a few months. I like my physical copies, and I like my Steelbooks + physical CD soundtracks if possible.

4. What factors into your decision?

Price is a major factor, as is the availability of certain perks such as a physical soundtrack, steelbook case, etc. To me, if you're charging more than, say...$30 for a game, you should have a physical release. If I'm going to make the commitment with you to shell out that kind of money, I want something I actually own. It's also helpful if it's a game I either don't think I would play again or am not sure I'm going to like, since refunds aren't really a "thing" with console gaming like they are with Steam and trade-ins with physical games are still an option.

If there are no big physical perks and the price is low, then I consider that acceptable trade-off for leaving my gaming experience to the whims of publishers and service providers.

5. Is streaming an option for you?

No, not really. My home internet's alright, but it's not stable. I get "lost internet connection" notices all the time while playing my games. Thankfully, I tend to avoid online/"live service" games like the plague they are, so most of the time my games are unaffected. I can't imagine trying to play a major game streaming-only like this, nor wanting to play something with that level of input lag.
« Last Edit: March 06, 2022, 02:01:01 AM by broodwars »
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