Insta-Forum: What Are The Pros and Cons to an All-Digital Future?

The last generation of video games saw the widespread proliferation of downloadable games. Although the retail market is still going strong, it may be just a matter of time before video games go all-digital.

I’m getting ready to write an editorial that breaks down the pros and cons of an all-digital future and we thought it would be a good idea to have our audience sound off with your opinions on the subject.

What are some of the pros and cons to an all-digital future for video games? I want you guys to list as many pros and cons as you can think of. Feel free to debate if you want since that’s always fun.

Have at it, kids!

Join the Discussion

  • Al_Zamora

    Cons – no more manuals, game boxes with art, inserts of any kinds or additional material

    Pros – game companies will make more money, oh wait that is a pro for them

  • Matthew Durst

    The limit with pure digital with or without local media will always be limited internet speeds ( , . Until reliable and affordable fiber comes to each (gaming) household, I don’t have the time to wait for a 50GB Blu-ray disc to download

    • Al_Zamora

      This is very true, companies fail to realize that not even all parts of the US have FIOS yet, let alone Fiber.

      • Allisa James

        Plenty of areas in the US in which people are still using DIAL UP, and many households don’t have internet at all because they can’t afford it.

        • But those folks who can’t afford internet probably can’t afford to be spending money on video games.

          • Allisa James

            Not necessarily true. Anyone can save enough money for a one-time console or video game purchase but plenty of people could have trouble paying for a monthly internet service, especially when having to choose between that or paying a bill for that month.

  • Kyle Kraft

    For PS4: You can switch games during Remote Play

  • AttentionDeficitKing

    I see little to no pros to an “all-digital future”. I’m not anti-digital in any way, understand – far from it, I think that the digital format is a great boon to the industry, especially to indie developers and publishers of niche games, and services like Steam have proven that digital distribution can be done very, very right. That said, there are still several problems with digital distribution, problems that (for the most part) physical distribution does not have.

    I think that as long as both are viable options for developers and publishers to consider when it comes time to decide how to distribute their games, then there can only be good times. However, phasing out physical distribution entirely in favor of all-digital would be a huge mistake, especially the way things currently are. When the technology has improved, particularly for fast, reliable, affordable internet for most households, then is the time to start debating whether physical distribution is still worth doing (and even then, it most likely will be).

  • Suzaku Kururugi

    No more collections to boast about(well I have seem people bragging about their huge steam libraries, but no one cares about data) or that great moment of tearing off the plastic on a new game. I’ve sadly forgotten what it was like opening up those GBA boxes. Just the feeling of having a physical game and knowing that I can play it in the future, provided my console is still working and not needing to redownload it or worrying about wasted money if [X company] goes under. I can see the pros of all-digital future, but unless it’s some game I was never gonna play anyway or a series that I want to play but feel no need to “collect”, then I want the game on disc just so I can say I “have” this game. Collectors editions/pre-order bonuses always get you more as well.

    Digital allows faster switching between games and not having to carry them all out with you if you have a portable device. No wasted physical space. Overnight/afk downloads so you can do other things while the game gets in. Faster loading provided you have a fast harddrive or ssd. And hopefully a solution(streaming) that will overcome backward compatibility woes.

    Siliconera had an article on this and I pretty much said the same thing. Someone responded saying that “you wouldn’t print out your e-mails so why would you need your games to be physical” or something like that, I can’t remember. Well, I don’t pay money for my emails, most likely never read them again, and if I do need to save them I’ll just archive them because they’re like less than 52kbs or whatever on average.

  • Cayal

    Con – Game pricing will remain the same, if not more expensive, than brick and mortar stores. This is based on current information (so it could change, but won’t) where games, especially new releases, are available for the RRP while the same new release is cheaper at brick-and-mortar stores. In Australia that’s $110 vs $70 – 80 for a new release. And with digital you only get the data, no cover, instructions etc.

  • Imhotep Osiris

    I doubt it…the thing is considering XBone before the MS 180 was getting fleeced 7:1 and 10:1 in most release territories vs. PS4 in pre-sales all over the issue of game ownership and maintaining a resale market it’s ridiculous to still be talking about about an all digital games market. With next gen consoles accounting for 8 Million+ game players in less than a month and growing exponentially that market is going to dictate the shape of gaming moving forward without question. There MUST be consumer demand for a fundamental shift in how business is done and that doesn’t exist it can’t just be about corporate desires for higher profitability.

    There’s a Chrysler building sized wicker basket of problems for an all digital games market: The general disdain many gamers have for the Pay2Win casts a poor light on all downloadable games that aren’t casual. Next gen games are getting larger, constantly swapping for ever larger hard drives and/or adding hard drives to accommodate these mammoth sized games isn’t acceptable to most gamers when optical media eliminates the need to fully install all game content to the console hard drive in the first place. Constant marauding of corporate servers by internet pirates makes complete cloud corruption of large server farms an eventuality and not a potential future possibility. These are just a few of the problems.

  • lordsofskulls

    1) After deciding which game to play got to wait 1-5 hours for it to download especially with new games for new consoles being 20-40GB. So for some people in world take 1-2days to a week.
    2) Take the fun away from collecting video games. Physical Video Game Collector’s, only enjoy collecting games if they physical cause half the fun is the hunt through stores/thrift shops/flee markets, I have a lot of games on Steam just so I can support developers, but I am planning on re-buying every one them for my collection that are not PC exclusives for my physical collection.
    3) D R M – limit amount of times you can download specific game before you can’t redownload it anymore
    4) Harder to share games with friends, all the time I borrow games to my closes friends because they know I got good size selection and I have no return fees, or rent fees. My fee is paid in hugs.
    5) Prices for every game out their has a “Low Point” when it best time to pick up the game Brand New or Used. Which from my experience is always lower than what digital price are other than on “Steam”. Also they not as controlled, usually digital games… priced at one specific way on consoles.. and most of the time they stay at that same price for years.
    1) Takes Up less space (but can’t enjoy the extra swag with games manuals, sound track etch)
    2) Digital Copies can be sometimes cheaper
    3) convince of ability to synch up and play it on the go. (PS4 + PS Vita)
    Can’t think of anything else for Pro….