PC Game Downloads Leave Physical Sales In Digital Dust

Thanks to rampant piracy, it was probably several years ago that computer gamers started downloading more of their games than they bought on disc, but now even honest gamers are following suit. For the first time in the PC game market, the number of digital sales surpassed those of disc-based games.

The NPD Group, which tracks video game sales, reports gamers bought 11.2 million games in the first six months of the year, versus 8.2 million disc games. Download portals Steam and Bigish led the charge, gobbling up market share.

If you play PC games, which route do you take to buy your products, and why?

PC FULL-GAME DIGITAL DOWNLOADS SURPASS RETAIL UNIT SALES [NPD via Joystiq]

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  1. apd09 says:

    This seems like another example of not needing to actually go to the store. If you have a choice of downloading it and immediately playing or having to go to the store, buy it, and then go home again most people do the easy thing.

    See renting movies via On-Demand vs Blockbuster.

    • Moosehawk says:

      Not to mention Steam has some really wicked deals sometimes that make it cheaper than buying from a retail store. They frequently have deals such as “Buy all games made by .id for $70!,” or deals where they slash a price on a semi-new game by 50% or 75%.

    • Griking says:

      The Blockbuster comparison is fine if you’re comparing to renting but as someone who purchases and keeps a lot of their games this is sad news.

  2. Rocket says:

    What’s Bigish?

    • DariusC says:

      The hulking stone elemental in the picture…

      THAT IS GUILD WARS! And that area looks like kryta as well… though I am not sure I remember stone elementals being in Kryta…

  3. Etoiles says:

    If I get a disc, I generally need to order it through Amazon anyway, because most games stores decimated their PC gaming sections over the last 15 years. So if I’m going to purchase online, I can either (a) get the direct download from the publisher, Steam, or another source and start playing roughly immediately, or (b) order the DVD, pay for shipping, and wait for it to arrive.

    Sometimes (b) is in fact the better option (I bought a game in June that was $29.99 on disc and still $49.99 to download) but for most games purchases, yeah, discs no longer make much sense.

    Though we’re fairly big on archiving our collection, at home. I like what companies like Telltale Games are now doing, where if you order the digital download of a “season” of games, they’ll send you the DVD version for just the cost of shipping.

  4. vyx313 says:

    Digital download services like steam make it ever so easy to buy games and install them. I find myself buying games I’ll probably never play just because they’re good deals and I’ll have it there should I want to play it later.

    Another big plus to steam is the lack of physical media. If I lose the disc and case I’m sol but on steam I just log in and download the game again. Really, I wouldn’t object if every game came through steam.

    • PTB315 says:

      The physical (i.e. breakable, scratchable, loseable, stealable) media point has always been my strongest reasoning for digital media. I don’t want to have to use up space on a bookshelf to hold all my games, movies, or CDs. Plus my nettop PC doesn’t have a disc drive and the only time I missed it was when I bought Starcraft II on DVD-ROM because my internet sucked so bad that I was worried I wouldn’t be able to download it without problems.

      On the flip side, vendors don’t have “inventory” so there is less reason to have big sales or early price cuts. Also, the Kindle fiasco with Amazon removing copies of Animal Farm without customer permission was worrisome, and perhaps an omen of what might happen if you give control of the property you are paying for back to the creator/distributor. Finally, you can’t resell the product when you no longer want it (I don’t do this much, but the existence of Game Stop proves this is an important issue).

      I have zero doubt that most media that can be put on a disc won’t be available on discs forever. Someday it will all be digital, or the physical option will be cost prohibitive in comparison.

    • Nisun says:

      One advantage to steam is UPDATES! Instead of having to download patches every so often most games patch though steam. Also I have found most older games to run “right out of the box” with steam while my old CD-Rom’s require patches for newer operating systems.

    • kamel5547 says:

      I bleieve any game that uses Steam authentication can be redownloaded fom the service. Buying it through Steam doesn’t really add much value. The fact is that publishers love Steam authentication and similar account based registration as they can now prevent the game from being resold.

    • Skankingmike says:

      Remember when everybody hated steam?

      Ah those were the days amiright?

      Seriously though Steam is amazing and I’ve always loved it. I love that people like Valve saw the writing on the walls before any other industry.

      MPAA and RIAA wake up smell the steam.

      Until they can come up with anything as good as steam.

      (which lets you play your games cross PC/MAC (valve ones) and installed over and over agian on multiple PCs you may own.

      What other service has ever allowed such freedom, yet controls piracy and yet does not limit my enjoyment but rather expands it?

      None that’s who.

      • Dinhilion says:

        Amazon on Demand is the closest that I can think of. unlimited streaming of videos, and downloads on a limited number of devices.

  5. Battlehork says:

    Steam all the way. The copy protection on Steam is far less annoying than the disc copy most of the time. Also, you can’t really resell physical PC games anyway so the usual problem with digital downloads isn’t one here.

  6. PunditGuy says:

    For me, it has nothing to do with convenience and everything to do with price. I’ve picked up a crapload of games that I’d originally missed at retail, and got them for a song. Arkham Asylum for $12 from GFW? Count me in. Red Faction: Guerrilla for $4.50 from Steam? I’m there.

    There are occasionally such deals on physical media — I recently got The Saboteur for $7 from Amazon — but most of the true deals are digital these days.

  7. Sajanas says:

    The Gamestop in my local mall only has console games now, and while Walmart and Target have some PC games, they only stock about 10 to 20, including Barbie Horse Adventures and that kinda crap. While I tend to get my games off of Amazon, I may make the switch to steam purchases soon, because they have such a huge library of old, inexpensive games. Its rare that older games on Amazon get below $15, but Steam regularly prices things at $5 or cheaper on their big sales.
    Its about time that the industry realized that they can make money without having $60 games… I think those big sticker prices are what make people pirate. I don’t pirate (I don’t feel like fussing with half broken programs when I have a job and money), but the price still makes me very, very picky about what I play. But if you have a bunch of games for $15 or less, suddenly that becomes less of a problem, and people could spend a higher total dollar amount by getting a lot of games, rather than dropping $60 on a new release every few months.

  8. Guppy06 says:

    Physical media, to avoid DRM headaches associated with downloads.

    • liamarbetman says:

      Plenty of physical media comes with DRM nightmares too. At least with digital downloads you don’t have to worry about scuffing up a piece of plastic.

    • raydee wandered off on a tangent and got lost says:

      Yeah, there are a few games on disc where the activation code that comes with the game only works a limited number of times. You have the disc, you have the activation code, but if you want to activate it more than the limited number, you actually have to contact the publisher to get a new activation code.

      And there are plenty of games, hard or soft, where there is no online play at all, but they require an internet connection so they can constantly verify that the copy is legitimate.

      DRM headaches are entirely on who makes the game and how they decide to make things difficult for the honest gamers, and a challenge for the dishonest ones.

    • Sian says:

      Good luck getting your drive to read that copyprotected disk.

      More than once I’ve had to give up and download games I’d legally purchased on physical media because it fails the disk check (download crack) or just won’t read at all (download whole game).

  9. phrekyos says:

    Normally I like to have a physical copy of the game I can replay any time down the road. But most PC games have DRM that requires online activation anyway, so what’s the point? I’d rather just buy it and have it the moment it comes out on Steam in that case.

  10. Larraque eats babies says:

    Thanks to PC Digital downloads being aggressively priced, I seldom buy PC games except with digital download. GOG closing down has me re-thinking that, but I can back up what I bought from there.

    As for console game downloads – I’d buy them more if the prices were more competitive. However, they’re nowhere near what I can get them for if I buy them used/new at gamestop ($29.99 for trivial pursuit digital download vs $15 to buy it at the store, on xbox – for example);

  11. godai says:

    I pretty much only buy steam at this point. (Ease of download/install)

    The only exception are Collector’s Editions for games I really want right at launch. (FFXIV, Wow expansions.)

  12. Robofish says:

    It depends on the size of the game. The same can be said sort of for PS3. Most of my games are on disc, but then you have the option to download a ton of really good shorter games to disc. Games like Braid etc which are download only probably are helping to fuel this.

  13. dolemite says:

    I usually wait a month or 2, then pick up games on steam for 50%, 80%, etc off.

    Just picked up every King’s Bounty game (including the most recent expansion that came out) for $24.99.

    • Etoiles says:

      In 2010, between Steam sales and GOG sales, I probably spent a ludicrous amount of money building and re-building* my PC games library, $4.99 at a time. I’ve been discovering a lot of fun stuff this way.

      And it doesn’t stop me from paying top dollar for the games I *really really really* want (Fallout: New Vegas and Portal 2 are the next titles on my full-price list) but it definitely makes the hobby more wallet-friendly overall. ;)

      *I had a pretty extensive collection of PC games dating back to 1993 that was stolen in 2006, so re-releases of old titles have been kind of a godsend for me.

  14. grucifer says:

    Steam or direct2drive.com for me. I’ve had a steam account since steam was released so the catalog of games I’ve purchased over the years is pretty large.

    Direct2drive has always let me re-download games after I’ve reformatted so I stick with them on purchases I can’t get on steam (which, these days is not that large.)

    Like others have mentioned, stores have cut back on holding physical copies of PC games so buying online is naturally the best choice.

    • Heresy_Fnord says:

      Steam lets you redownload as well after you wipe your drive. Install steam, log in with your name and password and your whole library of games that you have ever purchased is there, waiting for you to download and play again.

  15. edosan says:

    As other have said, it’s a combination of crazy Steam sales and brick-and-mortar stores pretty much giving up on selling PC games. There are some games I still buy on disc — I’ll buy Civ 5 that way.

  16. liamarbetman says:

    I almost always go with a digital download versus a disc. The only times I get a physical copy is if there’s a specific reason like a collectors edition or a delay with the digital copy. When MW2 came out it was out in stores (officially) 2-3 days before it was available on steam. So I got the physical copy. I also got Starcraft2 as a physical game because you got access to the beta by pre-ordering through gamestop.

    I’m still a little peeved about digital downloads. I pre-ordered and pre-loaded Civ5 last week. But, despite the game being finished and on my hard drive I still had to wait a week to play the game. I don’t see why I couldn’t get to play it at least a few days earlier.

  17. farlo666 says:

    most of the time when i get a game, its through steam.

  18. A.Mercer says:

    I play some older games but I have no plans to go out and buy any new ones in the future for my PC.

    For new game experience I just go out and find the flash games on the web. Heck, there are some of them that are much better gameplay than some of the stuff being sold in the stores.

  19. Destron says:

    I think it’s kind of a no-brainer. Most people do the digital downloads because they have little choice. The only store around me that has a decent selection of PC games is Hastings, and they are way over priced and never seem to go down.

    I remember the days when Software Etc was around and they would have $10 and $15 sales and I would go clean up. I built one hell of a PC game collection that way.

  20. Oranges w/ Cheese says:

    It’s also a lot cheaper for the game studios to distribute electronically. Less overhead, compared to paying for boxes, pressing, shipping and distribution. Instead they can handle it all in house.

  21. Red Cat Linux says:

    I wonder if this falls under the definition of “lies, damned lies, and statistics”.

    I bought a game recently and after purchasing the retail copy discovered that the darn thing required steam downloading. Which made me wonder what the heck the disc was for. I tried to install via the disc and go frog-marched out to Steam to download it that way. Wonder if they include that kind of sleight of hand in their download vs disc statistics.

    I prefer discs. I want to know I can reinstall it when I want without having to deal with the yahoos at various game publishers constraining access to a purchase in one way or another after a period of time.

    I truly loved a game “Patapon” for the PSP. Patapon 2 is download only, and sadly I would not download it to be told by Sony how many times I could install it on my PSP.

  22. Griking says:

    Personally I prefer physical copies but that’s primarily because I collect old computer games and love the boxes and manuals that used to come with them. I understand that everything’s leading towards downloads as the primary means of getting a new PC game but I hope that they at least still release a few copies to retail stores, perhaps the collector’s editions.

  23. pop top says:

    I don’t like playing video games on the computer (old Windows 3.1 games are the exception), so I will continue to buy games on disc.

  24. Abradax says:

    I LOVE digital downloads.

    My kids can’t destroy the game, and when I reload my PC I don’t have to find CD keys and discs. I hop onto Steam and pick all my games, download then go to bed.

    If I have a choice, I always choose the digital download.

  25. HogwartsProfessor says:

    I prefer discs, in case for some reason I don’t have internet or it’s not working well enough to do a download. I just got the bf’s PS2 also, so that opens up a whole new world of used games right there. They’re all new to me.

  26. wiggie2gone says:

    Steam all the way. I love being able to get my games on any computer I want without bothering to find the disk and the code. I am still looking for my black and white activation code. Steam just makes it easier to keep track of my collection.

  27. xjeyne says:

    She’s playing WoW.

    • xjeyne says:

      Ohhhhh I just burned myself, she’s playing City of Heroes…

      … which looks like WoW in the thumbnail sized pic.

  28. Spooky says:

    Take that gamestop!

  29. YouDidWhatNow? says:

    I’ll summarize this time…

    Downloads bad because:

    1. No ownership rights – no ability to resell, or gift a no-longer wanted item.
    2. Tied to the service – the service can go away, or decide to no longer support a particular game…then you’re hosed, and all the money you spent on that service is just gone.
    3. Might be tied to a device, or a small set of devices, a la Apple.
    4. Risk of losing/corrupting your downloaded installation files, and not having the service just give new ones to you.

    …and yes, I’m sure that everyone is convinced that Steam is immortal and unerring, and perfect in every way, so there’s just not any possibility that any such issues will occur. Well, I have a bridge to sell you too. Bigger interests than Steam have folded up and gone away. Even just the concern about not actually owning anything physical, that you can re-sell or gift later, is plenty of reason enough to never buy anything just as a download.

    Applies to movies, music, books, games…everything. As a society we are really losing sight of our own best interests for the sake of convenience. People using such download services are, at a minimum, forfeiting their rights of ownership for the sake of not having to move their butts off the couch…and either are not cognizant of that fact yet, or have convinced themselves that they’re OK with not having ownership rights for the stuff they purchase.

    Either is bad, and is a disquieting symptom of a continuously more disaffected society.

    • Powerlurker says:

      It’s pretty hard to sell physical copies of used PC games anyway, and Steam has confirmed several times that you’ll still be able to play your games if they ever go belly up. They also let you back up your games to disc if you want. Plus, for indie developers, digital distribution is one of the best things to ever happen to them in terms of making it possible for people to buy their games at all.

      • YouDidWhatNow? says:

        “It’s pretty hard to sell physical copies of used PC games anyway”

        …how? Ever heard of GameStop? eBay? Craigslist? Your buddy next door? How about just giving it to someone once you’re done playing it?

        As I noted in the OP, I’m sure that Steam users are convinced that it is flawless, and that there is a contingency plan for everything…by that token, that’s what passengers on the Titanic thought too…

        • midniteslayr says:

          GameStop won’t accept used PC games as trade in anymore. Also, because of some DRM making it so that it is tied to a computer, then you run the risk of Used games already having used up the number of allowed computers or installs. The ever growing “Used” game market is starting to be cannibalized by people who want to make money on a game they can’t actually play anymore.

          • YouDidWhatNow? says:

            If GameStop won’t accept them any more, there are other ways to sell them. Or gift them.

            As for the DRM, that is another wildly anti-consumer practice that needs to be outlawed.

            • midniteslayr says:

              PC games are a whole different beast than console games. Your concept of gifting doesn’t usually work when you have to try and find someone to take it off of your hands. Most of my friends are people who don’t have the latest in computer tech, so they can’t play games that are brand new, and then the task is to try and find someone who will purchase it from me. However, when it comes to PC games, you have to think about the DRM aspect, and because of that, people who would purchase games online would like to have knowledge that they aren’t being screwed. You can’t do that with places like eBay or Craigslist.

              I understand the whole DRM aspect, especially from the game industry perspective, and when it comes to PC games there are reasons why. Right now, there is no way for game manufacturers to know if a game has been uninstalled from the original purchaser’s computer. So, while the purchaser may want to have a friend play the game or resell it, the game still can (and sometimes does) exist on the purchaser’s PC. This basically means lost revenue for the game publisher. Console games on the other hand require the disk to play and once the purchaser no longer have the disk, then ideally, they can’t play the game (this doesn’t stop the purchaser from making copies and using a modified console once they resell the game … but I’m digressing here). I’m all for getting rid of DRM entirely, but the people who are dishonest with the games have been known to be distrusting. They like the games (which is cool), but they don’t like to reward the people who made the games, which in turns means that more of those games will NOT be made.

              Finally, games are wholly different beast when compared to other forms of Mass Entertainment (movies, music, television etc). There are many ways for those industries to make money without actually selling to their market (licensing for broadcast on TV or Radio, use of content in other forms of media) or even alternative means for their market (merchandising, concerts). Right now, the only form of income for the Games Industry is the games. There are some merchandising things going on (and have since the beginning), but they only are for established franchises or characters and they only are marketed to their hardcore base (which is usually about 5-10% of the people who have purchased the game). So, they have to find ways to protect their incomes, while making games that are worth it for players. Until someone creates a way to stop theft or dishonest people start becoming honest, then DRM, unfortunately, is here to stay.

              (Note: I am a student in a Game Design degree, an industry person for about 5 years, and I am currently on the Technology Committee for a game industry organization. My comments here are my own and do not reflect those of the companies or organizations that I associate with)

              • YouDidWhatNow? says:

                About your first paragraph…you’re not making any sense. Other people have capable machines to play your games. Or, you could be selling/giving away older games that don’t require the latest hardware. At any rate, the “there’s nobody I could give it to” claim is preposterous.

                About the DRM, that is a serious industry problem – but the misbehavior of the publisher is not a reason to forfeit your ownership rights by copping to download-only gaming. Besides, the VAST majority of games do not have the Bioshock kind of DRM that makes the game useless past the first 3 installs, or whatever it was.

                As for not having uninstalled a game from the original computer…if you don’t have the disk, you can’t play the game. Other than MMOs like WoW that don’t need a disk (because you’re getting charged a subscription fee anyway), you need the disk to play the game. Period. Transferring ownership of the disk to someone else means you can no longer play it. Non-issue.

                On your assertion that DRM is somehow “necessary” – allow me to point out, again, that DRM has a 100% failure rate. It has never, NEVER, prevented even one game from being pirated. And it never will. It’s a massive loss for the entire industry, which spends huge amounts of money on putting DRM on their media, only to get ZERO RETURN on that “investment.” In fact, it’s worse than zero return…DRM encourages people to either not purchase the game, or get a pirated copy. Because of all the problems that DRM can cause with your ability to use legally-purchased games, or to make a backup of your legally-purchased game (as is lawfully your right to do so), would-be legitimate buyers are driven to use a pirated copy instead – because it’s the better option as a consumer. So no – there is no possible scenario in which DRM is “necessary” – in fact, there is no possible scenario in which DRM is even beneficial…at all.

                The continued insistence of the media industries to infect their products with DRM is a testament to how wildly anti-consumer those industries have become…there is no possible justification for DRM in any form, on any media – all parties involved lose in every imagineable scenario. Well, except for the DRM companies themselves – who are fleecing all of us while laughing all the way to the bank.

    • dolemite says:

      I use steam, but they do have problems. Recently my account got locked, and I had no idea what had happened. I contacted their customer support, and they stated my account had been “hijacked”. They would not proceed to tell me anything else besides resetting my password. I never did find out how it happened. I did have a simple password, but I didn’t get any notifications in my email of failed password attempts. No virus or malware on my computer…no clue to this day how it happened.

  30. Andy says:

    Steam gets a lot of my cash now a days, their midweek and weekend deals on classic (good, not ancient games) that I may of missed last year are incredible deals. I sometimes buy “bundles” of games and if I already have one or two of the games in the pack I get a gift license to give to a friend.

    Some report said PC games sales are down, I think they mean Disc based PC game sales are down. It seems to me like more and more people are going digital.

  31. DoodlestheGreat says:

    Steam has proven to be the most convenient and affordable means of acquiring new games on your PC, as well as making those games available as needed when your PC eats itself or you are at a different machine. It also has the “long tail” benefit of keeping older games available forever, when a brick & mortar store would have cleared them from back stock within a couple of years. Add in the ability for small, independent companies to use Steam to distribute their wares at minimum cost to themselves and to gamers and it becomes a stark contrast between digital distribution vs. physical media.

  32. 8TrackMind says:

    Moving forward, I will never buy a new video game system that requires me to swap out discs to play games. It’s a giant pain in the ass that I really shouldn’t have to put up with in this day and age.

  33. midniteslayr says:

    I purchase through Steam, but only products that are usually on sale. That way, if the service dies or they no longer have access to the game’s license, then I only wasted a couple of bucks on the game. (Example: Mass Effect for $5 on a Steam Week Sale).

    IMO (without reading the attached article), I think the only reason why the Digital Downloads may have surpassed the retail counterparts are because of the ridiculous sales Steam has been having, where games can go for more than 60-75% off the retail price, and still make a profit. Also take into account the fact that Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 2 PC used Steam as their DRM service, so the retail unit was essentially a Steam game image with a code to unlock it on the account. All those add up to making Steam a HUGE player in the digital download game.

    My only gripes about Steam are that I can’t un-associate an e-mail address that is no longer available as my steam name and no refund policy. The fact that I could lose an account with about 20 games that I paid for is frightening. I would also LOVE to see Steam have a 24-48 grace period where people could choose to ask for a refund if they run into things like technical issues (like after the game is installed and it can’t be run) or they accidentally purchase the game twice, etc. Since there is no recourse for that, then it is almost like you are stuck with a game that you can do nothing with.

  34. ChuckLez says:

    I get a physical copy whenever I can. I have alot of games installed at once and trying to download the essentials even would take way too long. Also, its an extra piece of protection in case its a steam game. I had my steam account hacked (I am ALWAYS careful about my login info, along with having 0 spyware on my comp) at one point and a 2nd copy of HL2 stolen. Although Steam did take a couple days to get back to me, I did get my account and free copy of the game back. However, its never fun to suddenly loose that many digital copies of games in one fell swoop.

  35. brianisthegreatest says:

    I’ve downloaded dozens of games from digital distributors these past couple of years. This is exactly what I want to see happen. Some people might be upset about the missing box and packaging, but not me. This helps me keep the money closer to where I want it to be going, without having to give business to retailers I don’t want to support like Walmart, BestBuy or Gamestop. Glad to see this coming along nicely.

  36. adam395 says:

    I’m a mixed bag for these things. I like having the CD in the event of a crash, but Direct2Drive and Steam are really making that obsolete. The fact that I can download Steam or Comrade onto my laptop and desktop and sync all my games between the two is really helpful, and I don’t have disks and manuals and the like to keep track of.

  37. The Marionette says:

    Honestly I don’t mind downloading the game if I need to, especially with steam since they seem to have pretty fast download speeds, with the fastest a game for me downloaded was at 3.5mb/sec. Personally the only reason I feel I should go to a store to get a game is because if something happens to be wrong with the game I could return/exchange it, but then again with digital downloads there’s no chance of actual physical damage of a game, so no reason to return. Also I like how on steam if you get a new pc and for some reason can’t transfer the games over, you can redownload them.

    The only thing I wish steam would allow you to do as well is burn a copy of the game to a disc so if you want to reinstall then you don’t have to redownload it.

  38. sadolakced says:

    Digital downloads only for me now.

    Always available for me to install, don’t have to mess with the disks. Just cue up steam, install it, and go.

  39. WickedCrispy says:

    I take the route that doesn’t invovle being harrassed every 30 seconds to preorder the latest marketing deal.

  40. JayPhat says:

    Steam, everytime now. Unlike my Canadian counterparts, I don’t have to worry about bandwidth caps. And with Steam, I don’t have to worry about serial numbers for my games. I keeps track of all of that for me. Now, I just need to remember my user ID and password when I switch machines.

  41. Mr.Grieves says:

    I usually buy online because I hate driving all the way out to the mall, usually.

  42. Zclyh3 says:

    The only problem I see with Steam and other PC gaming is that essentially you can’t resell your game or let your friend borrow the game. The only way this works is if you create a separate account for each game you buy and remember the password. LOL

  43. Blow a fuse? I can fix that... says:

    More often than not, the download version is more expensive than getting the same game mail order, or even in the local shops. Since this makes absolutely no sense to me, I tend to get my games the oldfashioned way.

  44. Levk says:

    I download it would take longer to go to the store pay for it and return here paying for gas and then installing it, a quick download is way faster and better. I do wish however it would be cheaper then the disk version even if its a few dollars.

  45. Mythandros says:

    For me, this is sort of reliant on the game.

    I digital download and also buy copies in the store.

    If I’m looking forward to a game but not really all that excited about it, I’ll digital download and save myself a trip to the store.

    If I’m really excited about a game and hyped about it, I’ll go to the store and buy the physical media because I want to be able to associate something tangible with the game, something physical. (Which is why for games that I’m REALLY looking forward to, I usually buy the Collectors edition, cause they tend to come with a poster, or a map or figurine or whatever, thereby satisfying that physical requirement)

    Dunno exactly why I do it this way, but I have been since Digital Download became an option for me.

    *Shrug* My two cents.

  46. jukaye says:

    i go for steam downloads. simple reason: ease of access, availability, knowing that you wont lose your ‘disc’. the benefits weighs alot more than its downsides

  47. yami990 says:

    both have their upsides and downsides. as far as PC games go
    Steam: download directly, easy to use, can go and install games on multiple systems and re-download if your system gets on the fritz so long as you still have your steam ID and password. any time you buy a group of games and you happen to get a multiple you can give the extras to anyone else you know who has steam. relatively simple Instant message system for communicating while in games. easy to get cheap games from smaller companies that wouldn’t be able to sell otherwise. games being updated when problems are found automatically. games you already own are sometimes upgraded when a improved version is released for free.
    brick and mortar stores: only get a very limited selection of usually 20-40 games including the barney and other kiddy crap, once they clear out the initial stock of 20 or so copies your SOL. less then half the games get to any sale worth buying. cannot return if it’s open at all unless you want a new copy. can be pawned off onto other family members/friends if the game is crap or you lose interest. rarely will the good games be able to be passed on successfully though unless your looking at games from back in the 90’s to early 00’s.
    overall steam has most of the business from me since i prefer to wait till a game has been played enough for reviews to see if it’s any good and for the bugs to have been patched which means stores have normally run out of copies.
    Amazon: only way to get a decent price if you want a disc copy. though with shipping it’s usually cheaper to wait for a sale on steam.
    for console games i will almost always buy used unless it’s on sale for cheaper then i can get it used since i can wait for the price to come down.