The question is the cost … or is it not?
Buy a console in physical game version (with blu-ray player), or digital summer (without player)? This is a question many will be able to ask, especially if we come to see that future consoles may be more expensive than the current ones, which, especially at a post-covid time like this, could be an obstacle to purchase. And in this case, the price becomes fundamental, and the digital version may have primacy for that same reason.
But a choice between digital or physical, even looking at the economic aspect, is not just there. There are many other factors to take into account!
For starters, the price of games is no different in both cases. However, the physicist gives us the right to something that the digital does not give … possession!
This may seem insignificant, but possession has advantages. Not to be stuck with an internet connection to re-install, to ensure that the game, even without patches, can work in the future, as long as the entire console is operational and the BD in conditions, and… the possibility of selling the game in case you don’t like it, or if you don’t want to keep it.
And the issue here is not just about selling … it is also about buying! It is much easier to get promotions and discounts on used physical games than digital ones. In fact digital are not used, so we are dependent on promotions from the platform owner and game creators, whereas the physical is not so, and discounts on used exist at any time.
Then, if it is certain that the physical will also depend on the internet to update itself, digital is completely dependent on it to re-install itself. For a collector, the digital version is soon out of the question, as his intention is that 20 years from now the console and the game, even if limited, can work, something that we cannot guarantee in the digital where we cannot even guarantee that the game is available. For others, those who consume and no longer use it may seem insignificant. Or is it not?
Well, if you are one of those who are not a collector but of those who consume and no longer use, the power to resell the game sounds like an added value that digital does not offer.
Furthermore, with it, you just need the console, and electricity to play it. On the digital side, to install it you need the internet and it must be available on the download servers, something that has to happen without errors, and with the server fully functional.
Then there is the question of security. If a physical game can be damaged, a digital one cannot. But other than that, a physical game is not dependent on server errors, loss of passwords or, even worse, hackers. An attack by hackers that jeopardizes our software maintenance, whether due to the theft of credentials, the destruction of the database, or any other reason, is something that is more likely to happen than theft. And here we are talking about a question of scale, because if a hacker can question thousands or millions of users simultaneously, thefts are punctual and localized.
There is still another possibility, that of being banned, by mistake or for another reason, from the network, which could result in the loss of all content, or the impossibility of its use, at least in the online aspect.
I mention a case that was even behind the choice of this theme for an article, which led a player to lose the entire game library on PSN.
Given the long names and complicated history, which can read here if you want more details, here’s a summary:
Player X was the leader of a clan. And player Y joined that clan.
They were friends, got along, and shared anecdotes, laughed, shared memes and images. Until one day, due to a “political” disagreement in the management of the clan, player Y decides to abandon the clan.
This could be nothing. It happens regularly. But here Player Y, took the anecdotes and memes sent over the years they were friends, and subverting the context reports the situation to Sony.
Sony seeing the content acts … and deceived by the context, banishes player X for 60 days.
Although the content of the envoy has a different context, player X realizes that, for those who analyze it from the outside, the context sounds offensive, and hence he understands that his defense would be harmless, and accepts the punishment.
After 60 days, he returns and takes over the leadership of the clan. But player Y doesn’t let go. And he continues to pursue him, including making false stories known to the rest of the clan.
Basically the clan decides to ignore the thing, and ignores the messages, thinking that paying attention would be to feed a troll.
But behold, Player Y decides to go back to the old content he had, and find more memes that could be considered offensive. And find it and send it to Sony again!
Here Sony is facing a re-incidence. It is updated according to the rules with a permanent ban. And given that there had been no defense in the first case, Sony did not even initiate an investigation.
This story may seem far-fetched, but it is real. Player X lost access to 150 games he had, his clan and the entire community. The worst thing is that your daughter also played on PS4 using an associated sub-account and parental controls, which ended up being banned in parallel.
Her daughter who played minecraft, found herself estranged from the game, from the community, and suffered from it.
This text is not a specific criticism applicable only to Sony. Rules of conduct and good practice exist on all brands of consoles, and with similar consequences. Basically the digital puts us under a series of new risks that people are not prepared to deal with properly, being caught by surprise, and having to resort to less standard schemes and that they do not know for their defense.
In another example, in 2018, hundreds of Amazon customers saw their accounts closed without explanation.
The big question that arises later is a legal one. Because digital purchases, due to the way in which digital content laws have evolved, are not seen as purchases, but rather indefinite rentals.
This raises the question. What happens if the company to whom the product was rented for any reason no longer gives it away?
Well, whoever read the 300 pages of the EULAs of the different services they joined, eventually knows what happens. But how many did that? The fact is that EULAS are not all the same and vary from service to service.
There is no doubt that the content installed on your disc… is yours! It was rented forever, and as such, it’s yours! But what is not there? Well … it’s yours anyway! The big question is that you cannot access it, since whoever provided you with the service that allowed the download, stopped doing it.
And that means that they become owners of something that is impossible to access. Because you paid for the rental of the content, the rest, the service that provides the content, the compatibility of the content with the content, none of this is included. This is something else! It is something that is provided to you free of charge, but something that if one day closes, you cannot complain about not working. And whoever has what he bought on his side, stays with him, whoever doesn’t have it, but he can never access it again.
This article is not intended to influence one choice or another, just to warn that there are many differences between the physical and the digital, which are not just the presence of the Blu-Ray drive, and that is what is intended, with only a few cases and examples that you have in your choice.