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Topic: Pros & cons of digital downloads vs physical media.

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Murph

There was a thread on another site about the pros and cons of digital downloads vs physical media.

I'm of the opinion that if a physical disc/card is available, I can recoup some of my investment by eventually selling the game or at the very least, trading the game in for store credit when I'm done with it

The other issues is storage space. Obviously, an SD card will be necessary if you go with downloads..

Thoughts?

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Tasuki

Digital pros --

Dont have to worry about discs, whether it's having the room for a large collection, taking a disc out everytime you want to play a different game, scratching them etc.
I don't know about Nintendo but on PSN digital games tend to have a lot more better sales then physical games.
Easier to purchase region exclusive games.

Digital Cons --

You can't trade a game in if you don't like it, don't play it anymore etc.
Can't loan games to friends
Will probably need a bigger harddrive.
In Nintendo's case no universal means of transferring games like if I were to buy another Wii U if mine breaks gets stolen etc.

Physical Pros

Can trade games in.
Can loan friends games
If youre into displaying your collection
In Nintendo's case can play a physical game on any like system.

Physical Cons

Games can get scratched, lost stolen alot easier then digital
If you have a large collection you need alot of room.
If a game is only available in certain regions might have to pay alot to import.

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Zyrac

For games I expect to play often and never be outright done with - which mostly means online multiplayer games - I tend to get digital copies just for the convenience, even if it's more expensive. It might seem lazy to be willing to pay extra just to not have to swap out game cards, but the fact is this really does affect one's gaming habits - you're more likely to start playing the game on a whim if it's right there on the home menu.

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skywake

@Tasuki
The transfer issue has been resolved on the Switch. You can log in with your Nintendo Account to multiple consoles now and there's an option to set a console as the one your digital purchases live on. You just log in and say that the new one is the one you want to play your digital purchases on. If it's stolen you still have to ring Nintendo because you have to physically have access to the Switch you want to disable your purchases on. But it's still a huge step forward.

At this point the only thing its lacking are cloud saves

Edited on by skywake

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OorWullie

In my situation digital is definitely the better and cheaper option.Although I do now have a shop near me that sells imported US or EU Nintendo games for a fair local price,poor exchange rates from the pound means it works out about 20% more expensive than buying digitally through the E-shop.Although I've never lived int he UK for 16 years,that's where my money from my business goes to so when buying imported goods I need to compare it with UK prices.If I order games online from the likes of Amazon I have to pay postage and import tax plus the wait so it's not worth it.I bought most of my Wii U games from digital key sites which sold codes for about the same prices physical copies sold on Amazon so that worked out great for me.Since the pound has weakened though the prices on those websites have gone right up to the point you're barely saving anything.Now with Switch being region free though,having the option to buy from NA will definitely save me money sometimes over the UK shop and as the pound strengthens it will only get cheaper.

So there's that but I also love the convenience of having the games there on the system,I find I'm tempted to play them more.It makes the system look alive too.The first page of my Wii U is loaded with stellar games,not an 8/10 among them.I've never been one to trade in games either,not since the Megadrive days where as a schoolboy with a part time job I had no choice to if I wanted to play new games.

For Wii U I have 55 digital games with 14 of them being retail titles,10 of them 1st party.I have 10 physical games but Bayonetta 1/2 and Smash 4 came bundled with it and other than Mario Kart 8 (which I instantly regretted not buying digitally) the rest are 3rd party titles I picked up cheap when I was back home.I imagine it will go much the same way with Switch except this time,all first party titles will be digital.

Edited on by OorWullie

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NaviAndMii

Digital games (especially those saved to the Switch's internal memory) have faster loading times than carts - only a few seconds here and there - but, you know what they say; 'time is money' and all that! ..especially useful for speedrunners - or those high-flying business-types who only spare themselves around three and a half minutes a week to play games

Edited on by NaviAndMii

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rallydefault

Honestly - for MOST people, digital is better at this point. Even Nintendo pretty much has its account system to a place where accessing your games even on another Switch system is possible (as some have pointed out). Digital also means no need to carry game carts around, switch out carts every time you feel the whim to play something different for a few minutes, and for many you don't have to worry about games getting lost or stolen or eaten (lol).

Going physical in the year 2017 really boils down to 2 things: you just like the idea of having physical stuff, OR you don't want to shell out for big storage space.

I'm pretty much all physical with the Switch, but I'm readily admitting it's mostly for nostalgia purposes and it has no real practicality. I was never a big game loaner, I don't usually trade games back... on paper, it makes no sense for me to be doing this lol I just like the feel of it, though. Dunno. Nostalgia, man. Crazy thing.

rallydefault

Tasuki

@skywake Ah ok that's why I said Wii U, cause I don't own a Switch yet so I wasn't sure if the changed that. That is good to know.

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Octane

@NaviAndMii You save more money (and therefore time) by buying the cheaper physical games

@rallydefault Don't forget price! I can often find physical games for around €50 at launch, while the digital copies are €60.

Octane

Murph

I play a lot of sports games where there is a yearly release (at least on non-Nintendo platforms), so it doesn't make sense for me to go the digital route on those when I can sell or trade in 'last year's version' when the new one comes out.

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Menchi187

32gb internal storage. End of story. Physical > Digital > Nintendo Dgitial

Menchi187

Luke64

I prefer discs/cartridges simply because I like to display games. Not as handy as digital games, but hey I don't need some huge SD card.

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Bass_X0

I like to display games on my system. Game boxes are junk, they're not toys; you can't play with them.

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Lethal

Everyone forgets the biggest con of digital games.

1. You do not own the digital game. You are basically renting the game for as long as you manage to hang on to it. If the service that provides the downloaded game goes away, then you are out of luck down the road.

Physical games are and will always be the only safe way to actually own the game you pay for.

Edited on by SheldonRandoms

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skywake

I don't think cost is the difference between the two because it can go either way. For example sometimes there are discounts on digital purchases from My Nintendo, 20% off eShop credit or other promotions. Those discounts tend to stack so the digital purchase can be a lot cheaper. But digital is usually stuck at RRP while physical retailers will have launch day sales. I also think the worry people have about the download service going down is a bit over the top. It really doesn't cost them much at all to keep a digital game on the shelf and they're not about to nuke something you've already downloaded.

So the way I see it there are a few actual differences. For digital positives? A digital game is independent of physical media, if they release a new console that doesn't read the old physical media? Your digital purchases could make that transition. You also don't lose the game if the disk or cartridge gets damaged or lost. Also with the Switch I can buy a game from another region without having to pay shipping. I don't have to worry about a game having a limited run or being out of stock on launch. I haven't pre-ordered a game that could be downloaded because I figure that if I really want something and they sell out I can just download it. And lastly load times are generally better if you're running off internal storage.

For physical media? They don't take up any space on the console itself other than saves and patches. I can share them with someone else if I want to. They also look nice on a shelf. And that's about it.....

Edited on by skywake

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GoldenGamer88

I prefer physical games with Nintendo consoles. Partially it's the display aspect (though my shelfs look kinda messy these days, should clean them when I find the time for it) but also that it feels more satisfying to me to drive all the day into town to pick it up, free the box from its plastic 'prison' and put the cartridge/disc in. Because of all this process, I realize that I bought a new game which fills me with more satisfaction.

Digital on the other hand, I just need to have an eShop card/credit card, switch on the console and the game is downloaded with only miniscule input by myself, the player. I have noticed that most games I've downloaded won't get played right away since I am put off and annoyed by the long download times. So I feel more annoyed than satisfied and due to the little input in actually getting the game aside from paying for it, the realization that I bought a new game is a lot weaker. But since you have to download PS4 and XOne games onto the console even if you have the games physically, I rarely bother getting those from the store.

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Silly_G

The very nature of the Switch means that I'll be buying relatively few digital games this generation. If there is ever a situation where there is a really good deal on a digital version of a retail game (that I wouldn't mind double-dipping on), then I would have to consider it more carefully due to the higher costs of storage involved. I only ever intend to use one micro SD card with the system at any time, and I will not be carrying around additional cards. I may eventually upgrade to a 128GB card, or even a 256GB later into the Switch's lifespan, but they are prohibitively expensive at the moment, and I can't see myself upgrading my 64GB card any time soon.

Similarly, when the system memory of the 3DS was fully occupied with DSiWare games, I stopped buying any further DSi games. If developers wanted my money from that point, they should have ported their games to the 3DS, or Nintendo should have devised a solution where DSiWare games could be played from an SD card (I'm still dumbfounded that they've never resolved this issue).

So far, there have been a number of digital-only games that I refuse to buy simply because the file sizes are much too large (in addition to a high price, with most digital-only Switch games costing AU$30), and I feel that publishers should provide a physical release for games over 4GB (or even 2GB), even if they need to be priced higher than their eShop versions (or if they are restricted to limited quantities).

I'm basically drawing the line at around 2GB, and even that is being generous considering that most digital Switch games are at least 1GB in size (with only a very small number falling under 500MB). NBA Playgrounds is much too large at a whopping 7.4GB. This would not have been a problem on Wii U given that I have a 2TB external hard drive connected to the system (I doubt that more than 15% of it has been used), but on a portable device such as the Switch (where storing each game will invariably add to the total cost), then there should be a retail option available.

Mobile software is generally optimised in order to make them as small as possible given the limited on-board memory of smartphones and tablets (and in the case of iOS devices, there is no means of memory expansion short of buying an obscenely overpriced new device with greater memory capacity).

So far, I don't feel that I'm missing out on anything of value, but I will be disheartened if it becomes common practice for publishers to continue releasing such large (and expensive) games without the option of making it available in the form of physical media. I suspect that I will stick mostly to physical releases where the Switch is concerned, and be a little more selective concerning digital-only titles. Plus, there's the fact that I consider AU$30 to be too expensive for a digital-only game, and I would rather pay the extra $10-$20 to have a physical copy instead.

Silly_G

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GuruOfGreatness

GoldenGamer88 wrote:

I prefer physical games with Nintendo consoles. Partially it's the display aspect (though my shelfs look kinda messy these days, should clean them when I find the time for it) but also that it feels more satisfying to me to drive all the day into town to pick it up, free the box from its plastic 'prison' and put the cartridge/disc in. Because of all this process, I realize that I bought a new game which fills me with more satisfaction.

THIS!!!! (although I buy physical for all consoles, not just Nintendo ones)

Edited on by gcunit

GuruOfGreatness

mav-i-am

I will go digital for games that you can have a 5 min play on (Puyo Puyo if I ever buy it), as I think it is far easier to just know they are available.

But bigger games will be Physical for me.

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Bass_X0

Everyone forgets the biggest con of digital games.
1. You do not own the digital game. You are basically renting the game for as long as you manage to hang on to it. If the service that provides the downloaded game goes away, then you are out of luck down the road.
Physical games are and will always be the only safe way to actually own the game you pay for.

And you only own cartridges and discs as long as they work. I'd have discs become unplayable due to no fault of my own other than regular use. And sure you can still play cartridges but the days of playing old consoles are long gone. I only have five right now - 3DS, Wii U, Switch, PlayStation 4 and XBOX 360. If I want to play Super Mario World, I'm going to play it downloaded on my Wii U, I wouldn't play it on the SNES even if I still had it fully functional.

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