Physical Gaming vs Digital Gaming - The Ultimate Debate Thread

Text-only Version: Click HERE to see this thread with all of the graphics, features, and links.



Jmanghan
Let's get ready to ruuuummmbbbbllleeeeeeee!!!!!

There have been a lot of discussions as of late discussing the pro's and con's of both digital-only and physical-only, it's time to make one big main thread so that all of us can finally debate this.

These arguments have been sparked a lot more recently due to the shutting down of the old PS Store on mobile and web, which has now culminated in the entire shutdown of the PS3, PS Vita, and PSP stores altogether.

Here's a few good, fair, point-for-point debates done on physical gaming vs digital gaming:
https://www.makeuseof.com/physical-games-vs-digital-games-best-to-buy/
https://3dinsider.com/digital-or-physical-games/
https://ag.hyperxgaming.com/article/9719/the-pros-and-cons-of-digital-vs-physical-games

Here's why digital is just... better:
https://www.theverge.com/21441153/ps5-xbox-series-s-physical-vs-digital-next-gen

Here's David Jaffe (creator of the God of War and Twisted Metal series') defense of Sony shutting down the old console PS stores:
Tz69VCK2xmM

Digital gaming is considered more convenient in every way, they are digital, after all... Meaning they can be accessed without physical cartridges, discs, etc. They usually load faster, can be deleted and re-downloaded at your leisure, and even be backed up to the cloud along with your saved data. You can back them up onto flash drives, external hard drives, etc. They aren't susceptible to damage, being scratched up, broken, or stolen. You can even have the game on multiple systems of yours at once with cross-buy.

On the other hand, people have attacked digital gaming as a whole due to popular Nintendo games being removed on March 31st, 2021 (along with the PS Store fiasco), making them question whether digital gaming is a good idea when stuff could get pulled from purchase at any time. Attacking the digital market for removing things that they'd planned to buy.

There's also the argument many people have been making since the advent of online gaming, they feel it is a lot easier to hack an account then it is to decide to break into someone's home and steal their physical games. For older games this is more apparent, as many of them had no updates, so you only need worry about the physical degradation of the game and the console it's played on. Then there's the fact that there are many physical games that one can't play legally and have never been on a digital store to date, requiring a physical copy to play.

Then there's people who just don't have very good internet, or HAD good internet but no longer do, which makes it very hard to download games OR update them, especially when said games are very big these days, being gigabytes upon gigabytes of space (with some saying that if games keep increasing as they are, it may turn into terabytes.)

To make it fair, since digital has been the clear and obvious victor in many KMC debates, and even in the makeusof page above, we'll throw in a defense for physical media:
https://www.imore.com/heres-why-i-will-always-choose-physical-copy-over-digital-game
https://collider.com/why-you-should-keep-buying-blu-rays-and-dvds/
https://www.mediaplaynews.com/in-defense-of-the-disc/

Also, here's a video from a smaller youtuber talking about why he prefers physical gaming over digital:
LLLSJsflHu4

Finally a more comedic video from "Scott the Woz" if the above stuff bores ya:
iPuMudhDHaE

I just wanna point out none of the above points were really made from a personal level, I just tried to keep it fair.

Now at last we have a place to discuss this never-ending topic.

With all that said, discuss, and debate!

Smasandian
Is there any discussion anymore?

Digital is the norm on how we consume content. Video games are slightly lagging behind the current trends but in 15 years, there will most likely not be physical releases anymore.

Computer games have gone all digital now and it has been for many years. Xbox Game Pass I believe has been a pretty large success. And I assume Sony will most likely offer something similar down the road.

Even Nintendo has started to move towards digital.

cdtm
What a stupid debate.


Physical will always be better. Try playing digital when the internet is down.

Compare physical and digital Lego Lord of the Rings. Oh wait, you can't because LLOTR isn't available for digital download anywhere.

Smasandian
Look at other media....

Movie and TV has gone all digital. Every single major TV station has a streaming platform. You can buy blu rays but the majority of people do so because they have a top notch home theatre setup.....Even Disney, the biggest publisher has moved most of their content to streaming...3 years ago, I had to make do with the Canada TV station CBC for Disney content for my kids...but now...all of it its available (which is awesome).

Music...all streaming.

I think the only thing left is really books...but I don't think that will go away because reading a physical book is a specific feeling...and its not provided by holding a tablet or e-reader.

Streaming....opens a ton of options.

Smasandian
Originally posted by cdtm
What a stupid debate.


Physical will always be better. Try playing digital when the internet is down.

Compare physical and digital Lego Lord of the Rings. Oh wait, you can't because LLOTR isn't available for digital download anywhere.

You know all of your "indie" games that you talk about?

They wouldn't exist if releasing on physical disc.

StyleTime
Originally posted by cdtm
What a stupid debate.

Physical will always be better. Try playing digital when the internet is down.

Compare physical and digital Lego Lord of the Rings. Oh wait, you can't because LLOTR isn't available for digital download anywhere.
cdtm destroys all his credibility in his opening post. Glad you're still doing okay buddy. thumb up

In what imaginary world do you live in that digital games need an internet connection beyond the original download? I literally just played Shantae and the Seven Sirens offline. Opened up FF7R, DOA6, and P5 too.

The ones that do is because of developer/platform policy, or because they are online multiplayer games. For example, games obtained free through Playstation Plus require an online connection. As I said a billion times though, anti-digital logic is people hating DRM policies and not understanding the difference.

Digital is better in nearly every situation.
Originally posted by Smasandian
You know all of your "indie" games that you talk about?

They wouldn't exist if releasing on physical disc.
thumb up

Digital distribution is the best thing to happen to indie games ever.

StyleTime
Keep in mind, I'm not saying toss out your physical games. I'm all aboard the digital train personally, but I understand that collectors exist. Practicality was never their concern though, and I totally get that. If you just like collecting things, go for it.

But just say that. Just say that physical media brings you comfort. Just say you have an emotional attachment to them. It's absolutely fine to feel that way.

Just don't argue that they are somehow superior to digital...because they're not. That's all I'm saying.

I walk ~2.5 miles(~4 km) to grocery shop, and ~2.5 back. There are closer grocery stores, and it's utterly impractical since I can only carry so many bags. I can't make a logical argument supporting it, but I do it because I enjoy the walk. It's fun for me to listen to music/podcasts and take a stroll. I don't need to fabricate lies to justify it. It makes me feel good and doesn't hurt anyone, so I do it.

Jmanghan
So, I bring forth an argument for physical gaming, at least in Latin America and the Carribean. Last year Nintendo shut down their e-shop access for Wii U and 3DS, this is old news, but it had a seriously disturbing line there:

"In certain Latin American and Caribbean countries, limited Nintendo eShops for the Wii U system and Nintendo 3DS family of systems have provided a few basic functions, such as game code redemption. Those limited Nintendo eShops have closed as of July 31, 2020 JST and users in the affected regions will no longer be able to access them to redeem a download code, redownload software or update software. Also, any software that requires the limited Nintendo eShops to operate may cease to function. (Note that Mexico and Brazil are not affected.) We thank everyone for using the limited Nintendo eShops and for being such great fans of Nintendo."

redownload software.

So yeah, I'll keep buying my physical games, cool that one day my Fire Emblem DLC will be useless though.

Khazra Reborn

cdtm

Kazenji
Always physical for me. With digital there's the chance of it disappearing.

StyleTime
Originally posted by Jmanghan
So, I bring forth an argument for physical gaming, at least in Latin America and the Carribean. Last year Nintendo shut down their e-shop access for Wii U and 3DS, this is old news, but it had a seriously disturbing line there:

"In certain Latin American and Caribbean countries, limited Nintendo eShops for the Wii U system and Nintendo 3DS family of systems have provided a few basic functions, such as game code redemption. Those limited Nintendo eShops have closed as of July 31, 2020 JST and users in the affected regions will no longer be able to access them to redeem a download code, redownload software or update software. Also, any software that requires the limited Nintendo eShops to operate may cease to function. (Note that Mexico and Brazil are not affected.) We thank everyone for using the limited Nintendo eShops and for being such great fans of Nintendo."

redownload software.

So yeah, I'll keep buying my physical games, cool that one day my Fire Emblem DLC will be useless though.
That is apparently only for the limited E-shops, as Nintendo didn't do full E-shops in those countries. From what I understand, they don't have games on them and those folks generally just use the closest same language E-shop to them (Mexico, Brazil, US, etc). For those that did use codes, Nintendo said you can contact them if you need assistance retrieving previously purchased software. It sounds like it won't be on the "shop", but you can still obtain it.

On a side note, importing physical games isn't feasible in many places. From browsing reddit, apparently Brazilians are looking at 300-350 R$ per physical game due to tariffs and such. Digital gives them the chance to play things they might never get a chance to otherwise. I think the frickin' PS2 didn't even arrive there until 2009.
Originally posted by cdtm
And losing internet access to a console means you're stuck with whatever's on it, as is the case with my console.

And you can't even patch new physical discs.
And if your console malfunctions and can't read physical discs, you're out of luck completely. Happened to me and it sucked.

With digital, you could at least just buy an adapter to go online. Or play the games you already have.

Either way, you're talking about malfunctions. Those happen to anything.



The whole "it can be taken from you" argument goes back to what I said earlier though: people not understanding the difference between digital games and DRM. Some platforms let you own the game with no DRM, so it can't be taken from you.

I somewhat understand if you're wary of Sony/Nintendo/etc I guess, but that's not inherent to digital games. That's just what that specific platform does.

Tzeentch
Physical is almost always better for the consumer, in the context that a used game market is important for protecting consumer rights and protection (developers/producers having absolute control over the pricing of their games and your access to them is a net negative for consumer rights). However it can't be denied that digital copies are waaaay more convenient, to the point that even a staunch anti-corporate individual such as myself has pretty much completely switched over to digital. I haven't had a disk drive in my computer for about 5 years and I think the last time I actually bought a disc game was like Halo 4 or something. With modern internet speeds it only takes a couple hours at most to download a game and cloud sharing has made it extremely convenient to go wherever you want and still have your stuff.

The argument that physical discs have more permanence than digital makes no sense. Physical discs can be lost or damaged, a digital copy can't. Even if all digital games required a internet connection, that's more than feasible for 99% of people living in a first world country, unless you are living in ****ing Afghanistan it will be very unlikely that you'll have zero access to an internet connection of any form, and if you are that deep in the sticks you likely won't have a power source either so it's a moot point.

BackFire
Think it really depends on what you want. For convenience and lack of clutter, digital is obviously best. For dependability and collectors, physical is the way to go.

Personally most of my purchases now are digital.

-Pr-
I treat digital and streaming much differently, personally.

My preference is digital, but standalone. Like, I don't mind ripping discs to save space, but I don't want to be using a version that could be edited/censored or removed from the marketplace at someone else's discretion.

Smasandian
I generally only buy physical games if I plan on trading them in after I am done...or they are for the Switch.

Since COVID, I haven't bought a physical game....with being a Game Pass subscriber, those games where I would trade in after I am done..I will just wait until they either go on a super good sale....or wait until they hit Game Pass.

But in reality, physical is going away..and 10 years, I would be surprised if there is physical copies.

jaden_2.0
Depends on the game, for me. If I'm getting a sports game I'll typically go digital. If it's a 3rd person or 1st big action/adventure game and got a big fold out map in the case I'll buy physical cos I like shit like that.

cdtm
vl0582D52ng


Glad I rolled MS.

Kazenji
^ The PS4 also has cmos battery too.

Jmanghan
I'm just saying you will never ever have a guarantee, (assuming you game on consoles) that your digital purchases are indefinite, and that the company that LET YOU buy them won't take them from you tomorrow. The real e-shop and it's downloads could go just as quick as that limited e-shop.

Would it be a questionable decision? Yes. Would they receive tons of backlash? Yes. But there's still never any guarantee that they won't decide to up and down all your digital purchases.

That's not even the only way your stuff can go missing. Suppose someone hacks your email, your PSN, etc.

I'd argue for most of us on KMC, we're far less likely to get robbed, break our discs, etc. Assuming we're all functioning adults. I mean as a kid I ****ed up tons of my games, but as an adult I'm pretty immaculate with all my games, especially PSP games (which are likely the easiest to ruin.)

All I'm saying is, if Sony exits the console gaming business, or is bought out and decides "nope, no more downloads, we need that server for something else now", then people who spent hundreds of dollars on those games is screwed.

Maybe you'll call me dumb, but I honestly believe I'm far more likely to get hacked or hell, for Sony to get bought out before I'm robbed or my games get ruined.

Yes there's the inevitable death of physical media: Disc rot, but experts say majority of us will be long dead before stuff like games and movies (DVD's and Blu-rays alike) start to rot.

Smasandian
The thing is....most games I will never play again. I would say 80% of them. I realized I don't care if I kept Assassins Creed Syndicate....

In 15 years, if Microsoft kicks the bucket and I want to play a game that I cannot access anymore......I will probably pay the $5 bucks to pick it up again.

StyleTime
Oddly enough, my house was actually broken into as a kid. The assholes took every game I owned.

I've never had any of my digital games accounts hacked ever(I probably just jinxed myself). I agree it's possible, and I'm not arguing burglary like that is common for most folks. I don't even intend this as a counterargument, as its anecdotal and just one incident. I have legit experienced my physical games being stolen from me though. That neighborhood was going to shit right before my parents decided to move us away from there.

Tzeentch
Originally posted by Jmanghan
I'm just saying you will never ever have a guarantee, (assuming you game on consoles) that your digital purchases are indefinite, and that the company that LET YOU buy them won't take them from you tomorrow. This cuts both ways. Conversely, you can NEVER lose or damage a digital copy of a game. I lost my entire PS2 and 360 physical collection in a house fire in 2012, as a example, and numerous disks to simple wear and tear as a child. How is that more permanent than a digital copy?

Smasandian
I lost all of my DVD's when I was in my 20's because some people busted down my door.

Another good thing about digital is that you will most likely not come across situations where you cannot find a game anymore. Publishers only print a number amount of discs...while digital doesn't have that (unless its artificial scarcity).

Jmanghan
LimitedRun said a thing, but it was quickly called out by tons of people:
https://twitter.com/LimitedRunGames/status/1374002466983923712

"This is the inevitable digital future. At some point all digital storefronts will cease to exist, replaced by newer technology or storefronts. Digital purchases are not forever. #ForeverPhysical"

Smasandian
So a group that publishes physical games says all digital stores will cease to exist....of course they would say that.

Jmanghan
Think it's kind of hypocritical that they criticize digital gaming and wanna support physical gaming, yet refuse to reprint games.

I get that's the whole point of the games being "Limited Run's", but don't say "Forever Physical" when a small amount of people actually get to buy your games (that are usually gone within a month and cost 2-3x as much as the original digitally.)

Smasandian
Yeah, that is major downside of physical games..there is only a finite number of printable copies available.

And you are right, its very hypocritical.

Kazenji
Limited run games in particular, People put a monopoly on them selling copies more then they're worth.

StyleTime
Originally posted by Smasandian
The thing is....most games I will never play again. I would say 80% of them. I realized I don't care if I kept Assassins Creed Syndicate....

In 15 years, if Microsoft kicks the bucket and I want to play a game that I cannot access anymore......I will probably pay the $5 bucks to pick it up again.
I also agree with this. thumb up Even in the context of DRM games, it doesn't change much. I think if folks were totally honest with themselves, they'd realize their games collection mostly sits around collecting dust. I had this same conversation with folks about digital comics. "Owning" it just feels like an empty concept here. You do own it, but is it actually serving you in any way? You read/play/watch it once, or even a few times, then it goes into permanent storage.

The same people likely have bank accounts though. I think folks forget how huge a deal that was historically, and even now. There was an entire generation of folks that wanted to keep their cash stashed in safes in their houses instead. Why? The money in your bank account, technically, could disappear tomorrow. This actually happened to some Chase Bank customers years back, due to a glitch in Chase's system. You still happily have your checks direct deposited into your account though, don't you?

And that's something far, far more serious than your game collection. We do this stuff with music, movies, and any number of other things. People get weird about it when it comes to games for some reason though.

Smasandian
I would say though...I hate reading digital books. I prefer physical copy of books.
And there is a reason why e-books are not overtaking physical books.

And that...most people who want to read a book that is popular would most likely use their local library.

StyleTime
The book thing is complicated, for many reasons. It's possible physical books are just preferred by many, but these counts are also a bit misleading.

The big one that everyone references is the 2019 report from the Association of American Publishers. That one has it's flaws.

More articles pointing some shortcomings in counting book sales, especially the Nielson(the other one typically referenced). https://www.janefriedman.com/myth-print/ https://electricliterature.com/everything-you-wanted-to-know-about-book-sales-but-were-afraid-to-ask/

I think a fully accurate gauge of digital sales vs physical would reveal a far different landscape tbh. Remember, Amazon and many other e-book sellers don't actually publish their sales figures. It's hard to say how much they are selling exactly, and accounting for digital subscription readership is also complicated. Independently published titles(a way bigger thing in e-books) are also not counted since they don't have ISBN's, and are hard to gauge without real data from places like Amazon.

Additionally, no one predicted the rise of audiobooks. They are already overtaking e-books by some estimates, and show no signs of slowing down. Considering their rate of growth, we may be witnessing the return of oral story telling. It's like technology allowed us to reconnect with our roots, in a way. The oral tradition is the original way humans told stories.

Jmanghan
Wouldn't ya know it, despite being safe since 2012, my PS account was hacked. smile

StyleTime
That sucks. Did you get it back? Lose anything?

Jmanghan
Originally posted by StyleTime
That sucks. Did you get it back? Lose anything? I can't imagine what I'd have lost, but yeah I got it back.

I have no idea how it got hacked?

Is 2-Step verification required in this day and age? Cause if so that.. ****in sucks.

BackFire
It's not required, but it's a good idea whenever available. I have 2-step verification for everything I can.

Tzeentch
2 step verification is absolutely required, yes.

Ridley_Prime
Yeah. Is a small price to pay for a peace of mind.

Jmanghan
They also made a purchase using my saved card. smile

Rayman Legends for $5.24

Trocity
I like digital gaming on my ps4 because it takes away the taxes. I save 10 bucks on full price games.

cdtm
Digital stuff pays the same tax as physical stuff here.

StyleTime
Originally posted by Jmanghan
They also made a purchase using my saved card. smile

Rayman Legends for $5.24

Are you happy about it? What's with the smiley? Lol

Jmanghan
Originally posted by StyleTime
Are you happy about it? What's with the smiley? Lol It's a sarcastic smiley.

StyleTime
Oh. thumb up

Yeah. I actually use digital codes to add money to my Playstation account nowadays. It adds an extra step when I want to purchase something, but I've already had to cancel a couple of cards due to hacks before. It wasn't from gaming, but I guess having my card info in fewer places helps either way.

I'm thankful my bank's fraud detection acts pretty quickly, and they refund your money. It can be annoying when I buy something, they block me, and I have to call them though. I guess better safe than sorry.

Text-only Version: Click HERE to see this thread with all of the graphics, features, and links.