The Playstation Store’s 10 year anniversary last month was welcomed with a huge range of discounted games, a lot of them big titles I’d been eyeing up but wasn’t quite ready to purchase yet (e.g. £19.99 for The Last Guardian.)
While these discounts were great and exclusive, I always feel a little sad downloading a new game and not having a tangible disc to push into the machine. It’s something I worry is going to take over the console industry and in turn impact the wider bricks and mortar retail stores.
Retailer Gamestop is already facing closures over in the US, due to poor performance, with 150 stores apparently closing in the near future and while it’s true that these retailers can charge more for games, much more than a digital download may cost or an online retailer may charge, there are also more overhead costs to consider.
The world of music and film has already witnessed this change, as we move away from physical CDs and DVDs and pay monthly to gain access to streaming services or stores where you can purchase a digital download. However, these are usually no cheaper than purchasing the physical copy and so it’s all about ease and instant gratification – one could also argue that it benefits the environment.
However, while I have a Spotify account and watch Netflix, I really don’t want console gaming to become a solely digital industry, where you can only purchase titles via the PS Store or its competitor counterparts. There is still a place for discs.
There’s something satisfying about having a huge stack of games, sitting on the side or neatly placed in a holder. About looking through the titles and deciding which one to pick out today.
I love going into game stores and working my way through the rows of titles available, picking them up and reading the back to see if it’s something you fancy playing. The packaging and the artwork is something to enjoy looking at before you install the disc. This is all lost when it’s digitally downloaded.
PC gaming has already evolved to allow more of a digital preference, with the likes of Steam and Origin allowing users to directly download games. Many computers don’t even feature disc drives though, so this makes a lot of sense. It appears however that Nintendo obviously still thinks there is a place for physical games, as it decided to produce cartridges for its new Switch console – albeit at a tiny size – but this was the opportunity to make everything exclusively digital.
We’re already halfway there when it comes to digital downloads and consoles, there’s just a part of me that hopes ease doesn’t completely win over substance. Part of the fun of gaming is receiving that shiny new disc and running home to play it!
What do you think about console gaming going digital? This is just a personal reflection on the changes happening, it’s still an exciting development in the world of gaming though. Do you think it will become the norm?