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Topic: Why are digital games not considered ''property''?

Posts 1 to 20 of 54

alexwolf

I wanted to address a constant point of comparison between physical and digital games, which is ''actually owning'' a game.

I often see the phrases ''with digital copies you don't own the game'' or ''if the server goes down you are left with nothing'' and I really don't understand how this is the case if you just download the digital game and store it on a microSD card.

Outside of collecting or reselling purposes, what is the difference between owning a single game cartridge and a microSD card with multiple games in it? Why does the argument of ''not truly owning a game when going digital'' exist? Are those arguments, that are all over the place, just flat out wrong, or are there some other merits to physical games that I am unaware of?

Edited on by alexwolf

alexwolf

Magician

The biggest merits for opting for a physical copy over digital are:

1) The ability to share that game with a friend.
2) Experience that game in its entirety and still be compensated if you opt to trade or sell that copy.
3) The ability to play the game in the absence of servers. Digital games are only a temporary license, available to use only as long as the platform holder remains in business (Sony, MS, Nintendo, etc.). e.g. - If Nintendo went out of business and you needed to redownload a game you bought digitally, you would be unable to.

But convenience is king.

Why attempt to track down a physical copy while the digital copy is only a click away?

Edited on by Magician

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Sunsy

As someone who has digital games downloaded to DSi and Wii, their digital stores shut down and I can still play them. As long as the game is on the system, you should be able to play them no problem. The concern comes from when the store inevitably shuts down.

The DSi Ware Shop and the Wii Shop Channel are no more, so if I deleted a digital game from DSi and Wii, they're gone for good. Which is the concern I believe. Heaven's forbid, a system breaks and needs replacing, chances are your games can't be downloaded to the replacement system.

I play both physical and digital, they both have their advantages and disadvantages. Physical is great for saving microSD card space, while digital is convenient (good example, years ago I was once snowed in, and wanted to play Super Mario 3D World on Wii U, bought it digitally).

Personal note, because of store shut downs, I wish more digital games were DRM-free, that's one advantage I see some PC games having.

Edited on by Sunsy

Sunsy

alexwolf

@Magician

Your first point is valid and I already mentioned your second one. As for the third one, I don't agree. What do you mean that the digital game is a temporary license? Download and store it in a microSD and it is a permanent license, no different than a physical game. If Nintendo goes out of business or closes the Switch e-shop, what difference does it make to your already downloaded digital game that is sitting on your microSD card?

alexwolf

Magician

Switch Physical Collection - 834 games (as of November 18th, 2021)
Currently playing: Spiritfarer (Switch)
Favorite Quote: "Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic." -Arthur C. Clarke

Anti-Matter

@alexwolf
That's for the case if you bought the machine very late when the server has been closed, for example purchasing Wii after the server get closed. You will unable to buy Wii Ware games anymore, not even a chance.
Also, for the games that has been downloaded from eshop to Micro SD card, if someday you lost them or the data inside got erased or damaged, there is no way to get them back once the server is closed.

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alexwolf

@Anti-Matter

I don't understand you first point. If the server is closed, you can cannot even buy the game digitally anymore, at least not from the eshop. If you buy a digital code from a third party when the server has been shut down, then you only have yourself to blame.

As for your second point, this is true for physical games as well. If you lose your physical cartridge, you no longer own the game. At least with digital games, you can still download the game again, as long as the servers are intact. But again, even if the servers are closed, losing the microSD with the digital game or losing the physical cartridge has the exact same outcome of you not being able to play the game anymore.

alexwolf

Zuljaras

@alexwolf Well one thing you did not take into consideration is that SD cards are write/read medias and are more prone to failure. Also you can't take your SD card and put it into another Switch as you have to format it to use it.

They are bound to just one Switch.

Edited on by Zuljaras

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alexwolf

@Zuljaras Ah yes, that was the point I was missing, each micro SD is tied to only one Switch... I feel pretty stupid now ūüėÖ So you need to preserve both the console and the SD card for a digital game to be considered "forever yours".

alexwolf

MarioBrickLayer

@Zuljaras @alexwolf That is the primary concern for me. I'm collecting physical Switch games, with the hope that I can continue to play them long after Nintendo stop supporting the system. I think it's my favourite console and there are so many great games on it. I'd like to be able to play games on different consoles in the future if one is damaged of faulty.

MarioBrickLayer

Purgatorium

Lotta great arguments for emulation in here.

Edited on by Purgatorium

Purgatorium

Dogorilla

Sunsy wrote:

The DSi Ware Shop and the Wii Shop Channel are no more, so if I deleted a digital game from DSi and Wii, they're gone for good. Which is the concern I believe. Heaven's forbid, a system breaks and needs replacing, chances are your games can't be downloaded to the replacement system.

Just to be pedantic, you can still redownload Wii Shop games you own (not sure about DSi). I think Nintendo has said that won't be possible forever though. Either way, I live in fear of the day my Wii breaks.

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I don't even know any more, I have so many video games, help me

alexwolf

MarioBrickLayer wrote:

@Zuljaras @alexwolf That is the primary concern for me. I'm collecting physical Switch games, with the hope that I can continue to play them long after Nintendo stop supporting the system. I think it's my favourite console and there are so many great games on it. I'd like to be able to play games on different consoles in the future if one is damaged of faulty.

it just occurred to me now that it's not such a big deal that the sdcard is locked to a single system. If your Switch breaks or something, and enough years have passed that the Switch eshop shuts down, chances are Nintendo will have moved on to its new hardware. So, even if you wanted to buy a new Switch, it couldn't be found in the market, only used and in absurd prices. Sure, the option to play your games would still be there if you own the physical copies, but would be very expensive and you wouldn't even be getting a brand new console.

Then, there is also the chance that Nintendo just makes more powerful iterations of Switch for the next 1-2 generations of gaming, which doesn't seem farfetched at all with Switch's success. Not to mention how they have minimized costs by uniting their home console and portable divisions. So, it seems very possible that the next iterations of Switch will run the library of Switch games, while also preserving the Switch eshop.

Edited on by alexwolf

alexwolf

Zuljaras

@alexwolf I am curious why are "worried" about digital/physical differences?

People like digital and physical but the difference I see between the 2 groups is that physical people just want games to be released physically.

While the digital people say that digital is the "fUtUrE" and the rest gamers do not need physical releases.

Why can't we have both?

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Snatcher

I just want both man.

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Sunsy

@Dogorilla Didn't know that actually. I haven't been too worried about the Wii Shop Channel downloads mostly because I have them backed up to SD card (same with few DSi Ware games I have).

Few times I did try to connect to the DSi Shop, it's down.

Sunsy

Dogorilla

@Sunsy I have my Wii downloads on an SD card too but I was under the impression that the games on it would only be recognised by the Wii console they were bought on. Not 100% sure if that's correct though.

Currently Playing:
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kkslider5552000

To me I think its more of a complicated issue involving ownership of digital games, online multiplayer servers, the limited lifespan of storage devices and sometimes the, at best, indifference companies have to the very concept of their customers owning anything at all.

As far as I can tell anyway. Probably a legal issue on some level too.

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BruceCM

kkslider5552000 wrote:

As far as I can tell anyway. Probably a legal issue on some level too.

Yep. It's a fact that you don't actually own digital games. What you get is a licence to play it, which increasingly involves a lengthy contract you have to accept to do so ....
But actually you often have to agree the same terms if you get the physical game as well, so although you do own the box & cartridge, it's debateable whether you own those games either

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Tendo64

I remember having similar discussions when music streaming/digital downloads first became prevalent and I was still buying CDs.

The reason? The main one being, I liked to have something physical to show for the money I spent, the other being my car was old and had a CD player. But we're creatures of habit, and breaking those habits can be hard.

I've now got a Spotify premium account and love it. My current car is too new and doesn't have a CD player - but I can play all the music I want through the sound system with Spotify premium. Less is more in this situation, as is convenience...

In relation to gaming, I currently feel the same as I did in my CD music era. Something to show for money spent (granted games are a lot more expensive, too), and likely a hangover born from growing up in the physical era when digital game downloads hadn't even been a wet dream yet. Creature of habit.

But as it is, I'm running out of room to store physical games, just as I did with CDs. Could only be a matter of time before I make the jump from physical to digital.

Feel digital is just the progression of how things will go eventually, but not for a long time - not until most of those who grew up in the 'physical era' have died off, at least.

A lot of newspapers have ceased printing, in favour of paywalled online news - that move hasn't gone down well with a lot of consumers, primarily those who were used to picking up a physical copy in years gone by. But they've had to adapt as that's what it is now.

That said, I suspect if Nintendo did the same tomorrow and ceased physical production of games, we'd all survive, suck it up, keep going and (albeit some begrudgingly) embrace the new format, because that's the way things are to be.

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