Monday, June 17, 2013

Digital Copies vs. Physical Copies

With all the news coming out of E3 concerning the push for day one downloads of new releases, I figure now is as good a time as any to explain why I think this isn't a good thing.
They are really pushing this down our throats.  But before I go any further, can we please drop the redundancy of "digital downloads"?  I mean, the digital part is contextually implied by the download part, and the download part is the inherent method of delivery for digital content.  It irks the shit out of me.

Anyway, for anyone currently misled by the marketing push of day one downloading of titles, the reason behind this is that it kills the market dominance of places like GameStop.  You don't have to use the gas to drive to the store, you don't have to wait for the store to have a copy in stock, and you don't have to hope you don't get stabbed on your way in.  A downloadable copy in a system specific store is always available and always ready for consumption.

For anyone still curious how exactly this will impact physical retailers, consider this:  You can't trade in a digital copy.

Makes sense now, right?

Publishers will be looking for ways to aggressively push the day one downloads of new releases, and ways to make it "feel" like a wiser purchase to just buy a downloadable copy.  As a person who fully supports buying new games to make sure my money goes (majority, anyway) to publishers and developers, I love the logic behind this.  And I mean, less plastic and paper used, good for the environment.  Cool deal.

As a person who knows enough about bandwidth, store capacity, ever inflating file sizes, and data caps, I fucking hate the logic behind this.  Long-time PlayStation Plus members will probably immediately know what I am going for here.

This, as a PlayStation Plus subscriber, is a service that is well alive and established, and thoroughly used thanks to their Instant Game Collection.  These past 2 weeks they put some excellent games up for free, and as a broke-ass gamer, I downloaded every one of them.  Deus Ex: Human Revolution, Dust 514, Vanquish, XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and a few smaller titles.

Total download size: 36 gigabytes.

What. The. Fuck.

It literally took me 24 Hours to download all of these games and install them.  I don't think that I have a slow connection; I was downloading at 1-2 megs per second over wireless, which is not shabby.  I also thankfully do not have a data limit, or if I do, its ridiculously high.  These things mean that its just a matter of convenience for me, a burden only in that that locks down my connection for a considerable amount of time.  But there are plenty of people out there who do not have such fortuitous internet connectivity as I, that have much lower data speeds, that have date limits.

The point of primary concern with this:  Uncharted: Drake's Deception is now in the Instant Game Collection.  File size:  40 gigabytes.

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