5 reasons the digital age is bad for gamers

Yes the digital age is coming. Hell in some aspects it's already here. PCs and consoles have tons of downloadable content and games you can only get through online channels, and many are awaiting the "glorious" day where everything will be download-only, cutting out middle-man brick & mortar stores, which would hopefully lead to cheaper prices (yeah, right and Superman 64 is the best game ever). But in my opinion, the move anytime soon to a strictly digital service like say Steam, is a terrible, terrible idea, and here's 5 perfectly good reasons why:

5. The waiting/space game: Full retail games are humongous downloads. Odds are most people these days are no more than 15 minutes from somewhere they can pick up the latest videogame. A game the size of your average retail title could take far longer than that to download and install, and though hard drives are getting bigger and bigger, they could eat up your space fairly quickly, especially if you keep more on your hard drive than just games.

4. Rushed or unfinished games: This is already a huge issue. Games ship all the time nowadays with huge bugs or missing content that was promised for launch to be fixed later via a patch. I get why this happens, I mean everyone has to deal with budget and time constraints and sometimes you just have to get a game out the door. But the fact that many companies can now get away with releasing sloppy or unfinished products is probably only going to get worse, I'm sure somebody will try gouging gamers for an episodic game released in parts.

3.  Cutting off your audience: Here's a hard slap in the face: The internet isn't nearly as widespread and influential as most people on the internet think. If that was the case, Firefly & Arrested Development would still be on the and Scott Pilgrim would be the highest-grossing film of all time. A rather large portion of the population owns consoles and has never connected them to the internet. Hell only about 6% actually purchase dlc. Doesn't mean it won't grow and expand, it will, but there's just too huge a market of people who don't have the access or don't want to bother with it. Hell I'm extremely internet savvy and I rarely buy dlc, maybe a couple titles a year. It will be a huge mistake to try and go purely digital anytime soon (see the PSPGO for a prime example of this).

2. Pricing: With taking games away from the traditional brick and mortar settings, we are pretty much subject to whatever the publisher wants to charge for as long as they want. This means no $15-20 giftcards that stores often provide as incentives, arguably far less sales and price drops as DLC now as it stands stays fairly firm on price on long periods of time. Granted, in a purely digital age, the market may adjust accordingly, but seeing as many titles that have been available for years have seen little to no change in price except for the once in a blue moon sale, I seriously doubt it.

1. The disappearance of the second-hand market: Yes yes, everybody hates the evil, evil Gamestop and their pawnshop-esque practices and their hardly-used new games for the incredibly low price of $5 less than brand new. But really the second-hand market helps gamers far more than it hurts. It saves gamers money allowing to to buy more titles than they normally would and also it allows you to get older out of print titles for usually a pretty reasonable price. In a digital age, this goes away. If I always have to pay full price for games, I'm buying a lot less. Also what if a company decides to no longer offer a game for download? What, you have to wait for them to hopefully re-release it? There are some things that should be fixed and developers should certainly get some share especially now that everybody seems to be jumping into used games but the death of the second-hand market will drastically alter the landscape of gaming in general, and in my opinion not in a good way for the most part.

Ok, this will be my last post for a little while, as I am getting married next week and going on my honeymoon, I should be back to posting regularly in late November (probably fairly close to when Epic Mickey finally hits). In the meantime, I leave you with the FREE GAME OF THE WEEK: EPIC COMBO!

1 comment:

KK said...

I was going to say that gaming may eventually go full cloud, but the average joe's internet connection has a long way to go before it can support something like that, LOL. That would solve point 5, though.

I think it will be a good long time before hard-copy games disappear. There will always be that base of hard-core gamers who want to have a physical copy of their favorite games. Same goes for films. Although I think movie/TV content is a little farther along the "digital download" line than games, for some people, being able to browse through their personal library beforehand is half the fun of watching a film. Heck, I thought CDs would have gone the way of the dodo by now, but sales are still (apparently) pretty strong in that category. I guess there's something about being able to place a disc/cartridge in a drive/slot that solidifies ownership and guarantees quality.