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Best and worst of going digital

by on January 28, 2014
 

Alienware Steam Machine

Before the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 came out, a lot of talk revolved around an all-digital console.

Thankfully, both systems did allow for disc-based gaming as well as digital gaming, but is an all-digital future too far off? Look at the Steam Machines, basically a console that plays only PC games. Sure, they may not be gaining traction now, but if Steam can figure out the best way to utilize them they could possibly be a big player in the future.

xbox-oneIs all-digital bad? Well, yes and no. Read on to see why an all-digital system could be great, and why it could miss the mark with many gamers.

Pros

Everything you need from your home: One of the biggest pros of all-digital has to be being able to get everything you need from one convenient location. Everything would be available day one and, as long as the companies have good server space, will be quick and easy to download. Sure, it may take some time to download, but at least you can play one of the other games you own while waiting for the download to finish.

Sales, sales, sales: This is what has made me love digital games. With no need for physical media, there are always plenty of digital sales on consoles and PC. Often, you can get games that are normally $40-$60 for $10 or less, which is great. I don’t look for this trend to end soon, which will continue to be great for gamers.

Possible lower game price: The main reason that digital games are the same as retail games in price right now are deals worked out with distributors, such as GameStop. If you can buy everything from the system, deals like that are no longer needed, along with digital media.

Game trading could be great: This could be a pro or a con, but I’m optimistic. Like Steam’s family sharing, I think that sharing games among family and friends could be great. Being able to try new titles before buying or pooling together to get a game would be great. However, it would depend how developers want to utilize the feature.

 

PS4 release boosts Vita sales.

Cons

Better have the Internet: This is the big problem that made Microsoft reconsider having always online on Xbox One. Not everyone has the Internet or wants to connect online. If you don’t want that with a digital system, at least you’ll have a nice paperweight. A good, stable connection is a must for a digital console.

Better hope their Internet is good, too: Ubisoft’s DRM has had plenty of problems that shows the fault here. If a company’s server goes down, so does your game and enjoyment. With nothing for a console to check in with, they’ll go down just like not having Internet on your end. It’s a problem online gamers already have to worry about, and it can only get worse before it gets better.

Beware of space: Sure, not having physical games will get rid of discs. However, it also means that you’ll have to worry about hard drive space. Look at current systems. Even the largest systems, without external storage, can only hold maybe a dozen games or so, depending on size. Plus, with games getting bigger, they’ll drain space even quicker. If you plan on having a huge library, get ready to delete, reinstall and delete again.

Goodbye, used games: While sharing may be useful, used games will be obsolete. There will be no place to trade digital games in and buy them cheaper. Sure, there will be sales, but there will be no way to make money back on games to use elsewhere. While that may not bug some, others count on these rates to be able to try new games on a limited budget.

While digital has pros and cons, console developers seem to continuously want to try and move toward this direction. So, what do you think? Are you ready for all-digital, or do you want physical to remain?

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