Why Digital Distribution Trumps Physical Distribution
Over the last decade we’ve seen more and more mediums going digital. Most music is now pirated and bought online through services like itunes, and more recently streaming TV shows and Films through services like Netflix is becoming the norm. We are transitioning into an almost exclusively digital age, and gaming is inevitably next to go. That’s a good thing… here’s why:
1) It’s far more convenient
You no longer need cluttered Ikea shelving units to house your endless collection of plastic boxes because everything is organized and instantly available on your console or PC. Buying your games is easier than ever, no need to wait for a package to be delivered or a game to be in stock and you don’t even need to walk to a store! All you need is a credit card and an internet connection; buy your game, hit download, wait 1 or 2 hours for it to finish, and play. Want to pre-order your games and set them to automatically download at release? Existing services are either already providing that ability or will soon.
2) It’s cheaper, for not only the consumer but the developer and publisher as well
Discs don’t need to be pressed, manuals don’t need to be printed, plastic cases don’t need to be manufactured and nothing needs to be transported. This eliminates a huge cost because those valuable savings could either go towards a game’s budget, which is increasingly important as development costs continue to soar, or as now there is a higher profit margin on each game sold games may get even cheaper. I acknowledge that generally speaking games aren’t cheaper on digital stores yet, but the insane and regular sales that we see on services like Steam more than makes up for that.
3) Downloads don’t break, consoles are cheaper
It’s impossible to lose downloaded media to physical damage or misplacement. Even in the rare occurrence that a file gets corrupted you can simply re-download that game. Remember the Xbox 360’s infamous problem with scratched discs? The whole issue would not have even existed if we had our games off a server. The absence of a disc drive makes hardware smaller, quieter, and even a little cheaper.
4) It’s good for the environment
Think of all those poor trees that have to cut down and turned into manuals, or that oil that needs to be turned into plastic cases. No trees need to suffer! No oil needs to suffer! Hell, even if you hate the environment, it means less recycling.
Okay, sure, maybe it won’t be a collectors item anymore, maybe you won’t be able to lend your games to people and perhaps some will never feel like they truly own their games (though we’ve never understood that last argument), but the pros vastly outweigh the cons.