The Digital Age: The nerd dream come true or a new nightmare?
We live in an amazing time. Many people carry in their pockets technology that is more powerful than the most advanced super computer from twenty years ago. Forget the US postal service, now I've got email. Got something to do when your favorite show is on, wait for a re run? Nope, I can just pause live T.V.
But is every new trend good?
I say, no!
To what am I referring to? A new evil, digital downloading.
Today almost all video games are available as digital downloads. Without having to leave the comfort of your house you can have the latest video game beamed right to your console or computer. It's amazing, right? Wrong. Here is why I fear this new trend.
1. Video games that go to a store shelf must be put on a physical medium, boxed in an artsy package, shipped, and stocked for me to be able to buy it on a store shelf. Video game publishers are saving themselves some money by distributing online. Do I as the customer benefit from this? Do I pay less money? No (in most cases) I must still pay full retail price. Something about that seems wrong!
2. But I hear you screaming, but crazy guy it's sooooo convenient! Really? A few weeks ago I downloaded a Playstation One Classic game off the PSN. It took 97 minutes to download a 500mb game. Most PS 3 games are between 5- 10GB. Now, a little background; I live in a suburb of one of the ten largest cities in the US. I have an average Internet speed. I do not live in Hicksville Illinois population 3023 with three thousand of those being farm animals. I pay a reasonable amount for Internet and refuse to pay more. Guess what else I can do? I can get in my car, drive for five minutes and buy a game for the exact amount that I would pay for a digital download.
You might say, "but crazy guy, you would have to make a special trip!" Not so, see I require certain things in my daily life outside of video games such as: food, gas, my job, clothes, Warhammer stuff, general medical check ups, the list goes on. Even if I had to make a special trip the $.65 that the gas costs me is worth several hours of my time.
3. This third reason is the worst. I can hope that the first two will, as time goes on, get better. My third reason I fear will only get worse as time goes on.
When you digitally download a game guess what; you don't own it. Ever read those pages upon pages of agreements when you first sign in? Guess what they say? You are buying the right to have the game on your console or computer. If you break the agreement that you must say yes to in order to play then they can take that game. They can't take away my disk (though they could take away my online access but look at my why I dislike first person shooters to learn how much I care about that.)
Even worse is that if you download a game and your X Box 360 gets the Red Ring of Death guess what happens after you get your console fixed? Your game could be gone and you will have to buy it again!
Storage is another major issue. My PS3 is 80 gigs of which I only have 32 gigs left. Now I have had this PS3 for 4 years and I have a lot of saves and a few PS 1 classic games and various DLC that I overpaid for. Pretending that every game for the PS3 was only a 5GB download I would be out of room and now would have to delete games which would be permanent.
Now it could be argued that I should just get rid of some games, but why should I have to? I still play Assassin's Creed 2 even though I've had the game for two years. Every so often I get the itch to play Forza 3, or Mario Kart Wii. I'm weird, I go back to games. I don't want to choose what can stay and go when I had to pay 50-60 dollars for the game in the first place.
Yes, I downloaded A Link to the Past, but it cost 5 dollars! If something happened and I had to re download it, I could handle it (or have my mom send me my old SNES version.)
4. It makes game companies lazy. How many patches have you had to download? I've downloaded a lot. Companies no longer have to release finished products! They can just fix it later. Has Skyrim for PS3 ever worked correctly? And don't get me started on DLC! I saved this one for last, because this issue is a problem for disc games also. It scares the living daylights out of me that one day I'll have to buy each hour of a game separately in the name of "progress."
As for me, I'll be buying physical medium until EA has to come pry them out of my dead cold hand!
Okay that last sentence sounded crazier than I intended.
Just watch out! And read those agreements and complain if you don't like what they say.