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

Posts 21 to 40 of 54

Bolt_Strike

Because the publisher decided they're not so they can make more money.

Bolt_Strike

Switch Friend Code: SW-5621-4055-5722 | 3DS Friend Code: 4725-8075-8961 | Nintendo Network ID: Bolt_Strike

Burning_Spear

I'm physical only, though I double-dip on digital for games I play often, e.g. Puyo Puyo Tetris, to minimize swapping of those tiny game cards. That said, I think the point of "digital games could be lost if your console breaks" is specious in that it's equally likely that a physical game card could get damaged or lost. Now DRM of course is another topic. If I need an Internet connection to verify ownership, then that sure sounds like a game I'm renting until the servers are shut off.

I would imagine, that as digital becomes more prevalent, there will be a movement to have digital games sold in a format that will be forever replaceable.

Mechabot Ultror Fights Again

Spanish_Bread

I think when you own something, like a house, a car, or a game cartridge... You'll be happy to share your property, with a friend/family... Like "hey guys, let's have a party in our new house", or "I just bought a new car, we can do a road trip", or "I just bought mario kart for switch, you guys wanna try this one?"

But

If you own a digital game, say Diablo II Resurrected, you either say these to your friends:
"Just bought Diablo II Resurrected for Switch! Oh what a great way to play this classic game on the go, you should buy it too"
or
"Just bought Diablo II Resurrected for Switch! I can lend it to you, but maybe you need my switch to play it, or I'll give you my switch account and password and you just download it for yourself, if that's okay with you? (or with me?!)

Spanish_Bread

Matt_Barber

There's surprisingly little difference between the legalities of buying games physically or as downloads.

Certainly, if you buy a game as a digital download, you absolutely own it. Your rights there are just as much enshrined in law as if you buy it as a physical product. This includes the rights to make backup copies, bypass digital rights management and even emulate it if the original provider stops supporting it.

Sources:
https://www.pcgamesn.com/drm-copyright-infringement
https://h2o.law.harvard.edu/cases/5198
https://www.copyright.gov/title17/92chap1.html

Europeans also have the right to re-sell digital downloads:
https://www.flaglerlawgroup.com/consumers-in-europe-gain-righ...

Companies aren't going to make any of this easy for you, but they'd get absolutely destroyed if they took it before a court to try to stop you.

Obviously, if game has a substantial online component that requires a server to run, you might still not be able to unless the software required to run the servers is released to the public. However, this applies whether you bought it on physical media or as a download.

You don't own games acquired via subscription and streaming services either. So, it's best not to think of the NES/SNES games on NSO as part of your collection.

Matt_Barber

SKTTR

Another point is that nowadays downloads are linked to an account while physical games aren't linked to anyone.
You can have thousands of the best games on your memory, but they're worth sh... nothing if you want to sell them. In comparison you can resell each physical game directly to the person who wants to pay the most.
When your memory card strikes, all the games on it are dead. And when you don't have a backup stored somewhere and the servers shut down (and eventually they all will) then all your games are game over.
On long-term it's more convenient and safe to have games physically.

Edited on by SKTTR

Switch fc: 6705-1518-0990

Jrpglover

alexwolf wrote:

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?

Because in the small print of buying digital games there's actually a clause that says you don't own the game but rather rent the licence valve ( steam) was sued by the French government a few years back because of this valve claimed that you can't resell your games because you don't own then but you still have to pay full price and a one off fee ( buying the game) but it's been that long I can't remember if France won or not

Jrpglover

ophone

My main problem with physical games nowadays are the updates you still need to get digitally.
When the servers are shut down you can't re-download the patches, although they are essential to run some physical games properly depending on which version of the cart you own.
You could back up the patches onto a PC, but what if your Switch dies or gets lost when the servers are shut down? Unfortunately you can't run your backup on another Switch.

I have high hopes for the community, which will preserve these patches (and even whole games) on the internet, even if the whole procedure is illegal.
I also hope companies like Analogue will release a good quality Switch clone if I still like to play such games in a decade or two (and if I'll still be around). I don't believe my current Switch will live that long, consoles aren't as sturdy as they used to be.

Since January 2021 owner of my first real Nintendo "home" console.
Currently on Metroid.

Zuljaras

@ophone Just to add to that You can offline patch games by using 2 Switches. If one Switch has updates of a game you can use the share "patch" function and update the game on the other Switch without internet. They added that to make sure that if you play local multiplayer games ALL switches are on the same version so they could interact with each other.

But yeah, in the future we can all play backups of games on moded Switches. It is inevitable and I am all for it, in 15-20 years ofc

Zuljaras

ophone

@Zuljaras
Yeah, but I'd need to find someone with an exact copy of my games library. ūü§£

Since January 2021 owner of my first real Nintendo "home" console.
Currently on Metroid.

Matt_Barber

I wouldn't worry about patches. All the Wii U ones have already dumped and archived and the eShop for it hasn't even been shut down yet.

By the time the Switch's commercial life is over, I'm pretty sure it'll have received the same attention.

Matt_Barber

SwitchForce

BruceCM wrote:

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

Then you need to watch this video to better learn why Digital you have no ownership vs Physical you have physical and legal ownership of the game.

Digital Distribution Vs Physical Media and True Ownership

SwitchForce

alexwolf

@SwitchForce

This video doesn't state anything more than the obvious. You can't sell digital games, if the company or the server closes you cannot download them anymore, and you cannot lent them to your friends. If someone doesn't want to sell or lend his games, then the only real issue is that you will eventually lose the ability to redownload them. However, if you make sure to store them in sdcards, the only real issue becomes that this sdcard is tied to a single console only.

Of course it is absolutely ludicrous that the MSRP of physical and digital games is the same, when taking into account how much less costly digital games are to produce, but this is a different discussion altogether.

I prefer digital video games in general but for expensive 1st party tittles that almost never go on sale for more than 33% I usually prefer buying physical.

alexwolf

Octane

alexwolf wrote:

Of course it is absolutely ludicrous that the MSRP of physical and digital games is the same, when taking into account how much less costly digital games are to produce, but this is a different discussion altogether.

Do you have actual numbers to back this up? I've seen this a lot, and I think people overestimate the manufacturing costs of physical products, and underestimate the costs of digital distribution. Blu-rays are printed for mere cents these days. And keeping an online storefront up, and the electricity costs that come with maintaining the storefront, downloading data, etc. is also not zero. Is there a difference? Probably. Enough to lower the MSRP? That's the question.

Octane

alexwolf

@Octane

I don't have facts but I think it is pretty basic logic if you consider the below:

  • Cartridge cost
  • Packaging cost
  • Distribution cost
  • The physical game price includes the profit of the middle man, and with digital games there is no middle man
  • The physical games have resell value, the digital games do not

Based on all of the above I think it is blatantly obvious that the MSRP of digital games should be way lower than it is, but this is a different topic than the one discussed in this thread.

alexwolf

dmcc0

@Octane for the large volume stuff like COD, GTA, Mario Kart etc the cost of manufacturing per unit would be a rounding error, but for indies and the stuff that doesn't sell millions there must be at least some difference otherwise "Code in a Box" wouldn't be a thing for these games - they'd just put a cart in there. There must some benefit of having some presence in physical stores though (extra visibility possibly) otherwise they wouldn't even bother with the cart in a box and just go full digital.

I recall reading stuff about digital vs physical prices back when Steam was becoming popular and the stores were panicking that physical sales would plummet, putting pressure on the publishers to keep digital prices on par with physical - even threatening not to stock their games if they didn't.

Typical online split is 70:30 for digital storefronts - game publisher getting 70% and the store getting 30% whether that's Apple, Google, Sony, Nintendo or whatever. I doubt publishers are getting 70% back on a physical sale at any store

dmcc0

diwdiws

Makes me happy that i just pirate nintendo games

diwdiws

Octane

@dmcc0 Most indie games are more expensive when they release on a physical copy. Kena will be $50 when the physical copy comes in November, but the digital price is only $40 right now.

Octane

dmcc0

@Octane Which backs up the point @alezwolf made when they said digital should be cheaper. They're charging more for the physical because the cart, packaging, distribution etc cost more for a physical game. EA, Nintendo and all the big guns can afford to keep the price the same because that additional cost is likely spread over many millions of units rather than maybe tens/hundreds of thousands.

Edit: just came across an article where the CEO of Runic Studios (Torchlight) was asked about the low price of Torchlight 2 - its a fairly old article, but still relevant I think:

"But it's also possible because we no longer sell PC games in boxes. There's no way that, if we were a box-based game, that we could charge [$20]. It's really the advent of the digital distributors like Steam and stuff that make this possible, just because so much‚ÄĒ when we sell a $20 box at WalMart we get like $3.50 back, whereas we get like $14 back for a digital sale."

Link to article (Kotaku): https://bit.ly/3nUx3bh

Edited on by dmcc0

dmcc0

Matt_Barber

That's for an indie publisher selling games at low prices though, and they're an outlier.

For a major publisher selling $60 games, their slice of the retail pie is going to be more in the $30-40 bracket. That's maybe still a bit less than they'd get through selling at the same price through an online store but the difference is pretty small, plus any discounts offered would come out of their cut rather than the retailer's.

Mainly though, the costs of running an online store are huge and mostly fixed, so you've also got to maintain volume to keep one profitable. That's relatively easy for Valve, because they've cornered the PC market and most of their customer base will be regularly buying compatible hardware.

For someone like Sony or Nintendo though, they've only got a limited window of profitability before the hardware becomes obsolete and customers move on. If they were to cut their margins on individual games we'd probably be looking at an even narrower window.

In an ideal world we'd have total backwards compatibility and purchases could just be rolled forward to successor platforms. However, we've instead got to rely upon games preservation efforts to step in when the commercial life is over.

Matt_Barber

dmcc0

@Matt_Barber That's the thing though, we just don't know how much it costs to run an online store and how that compares to producing physical copies - it's all just speculation.
I've given an example where a publisher said they'd make way less with physical and you've essentially dismissed it as being an indie and an outlier then come up with your own numbers with no sources to back them up. I'm not saying you're wrong, just that we've no idea how much they're making on those because nobody is releasing that info to the public.

As I said in my previous post, for those massive publishers there's probably not a huge difference between physical & digital cost because economics of scale mean they are spreading it out among many millions of sales/titles and they have the power to negotiate better deals with stores for physical copies, but not every game sells FIFA or Mario Kart numbers.

For those not doing millions of units there must be a point where it's cost prohibitive (or just cost more than digital) to produce a physical copy otherwise there wouldn't be so many digital-only games on the eShop and other storefronts. Even a relatively big title like Doom Eternal only got a digital release on Switch - why was that? Who knows, but I think the cost of producing a physical version certainly seems like a plausible reason.

On PC you have Steam, Epic, GoG, XBox Store and I'm sure most of the big publishers you can buy from direct too (EA etc) which pushes the prices down even more so I'm not sure Valve have quite the domination they had in previous years. I'd even argue that the console storefronts probably have it a little easier than Valve do now on PC as there's no real competition; you can only buy from the specific storefront. Sure, the hardware only has a limited life, but then the next one comes along and the sales keep coming on the new hardware, but the hardware is tied to the console - I can't buy a digital copy of a Switch game from anywhere other than the eshop.

It only becomes an issue when you are keeping legacy storefronts open for a limited amount of users and I think they are slowly realising that - eg Sony with the PS3 & Vita Stores - if those platforms were integrated into the current storefront it would likely cost much less to maintain.

I suspect that going forward they'll try not to rework the entire store for each new hardware generation if they can help it (hopefully). Microsoft have already done this to an extent with the Xbox store where I can buy backwards compatible original Xbox, 360 & XB One games via the store on my Series console and this definitely feels like the way forward.

Whether Nintendo and Sony will follow that in the future is debatable, but I'd love to be able to fire up "Switch 2" or whatever they call it and be able to access the Nintendo Store (rather than the Switch 2 store) and still be able to play all my Switch purchases and buy Switch titles too. The ideal situation would be access to stuff from previous Generations like my 3DS purchases and even still buy stuff from the past if I wanted - much like I can on PC - but I realise that never going to happen with the myriad hardware differences through the generations. I can dream though!

Anyway, I'm starting to veer a little too off topic so will get back to my point that we don't really know what the difference between physical & digital cost are, but to me (and many others) it makes sense that, with the exception of maybe the top selling publishers, it would likely be less expensive to produce a game digitally than physically. Given the the info that's out there (or lack of proof otherwise) I've not really seen anything to change my opinion that prices of digital games are artificially high. Whether this is because of greed, keeping stores on-side, keeping the perception of value or something else I'm not really sure.

dmcc0

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