Top 10: Advantages of Going Digital

Steam Big Picture

It took a while but the all-digital future we’ve heard so much about is pretty much here. Of course, there are probably some things that can be ironed out here and there, but for the most part, you can pretty much get any type of content you want digitally, including music, movies, TV series and of course, video games. But there are some caveats, so I decided to work on a two-part article that focuses on the advantages of getting games digitally and the advantages of getting games on disc. How do you buy most of your games? What do you prefer? Digital versions or discs? Why? As usual, leave your comments in the section below.

No more disc swapping

Final Fantasy VII Discs

At one point, games became so large that they came on several discs instead of just one so every now and then you had to swap discs. This is trend that started on the original PlayStation with games like Metal Gear Solid and the Final Fantasy series, but there are certainly some PlayStation 2 and Xbox 360 games that had several discs. Being able to play a game without having to do that is practical, to say the list.

Digital sales are becoming more common

PSN Flash Sale (Christmas 2014)

Not that long ago, digital sales on PSN and Xbox Live weren’t common. But then Steam started making a lot of money on digital sales and both Sony and Microsoft saw value in that and started implementing the same practice to their online stores. As of this writing, there are weekly sales on all the aforementioned services and every now and then, there are some special sales (for Easter, Christmas or end of the year) where pretty much everything is available at a discounted price.

Cheaper games

GOG Spring Insomnia Sale

On some specific occasions, I’ve noticed that game available digitally are cheaper than physical ones. This is particularly true for PlayStation Classics, for instance, where games that are hard to find or sought after in real-life are usually available for a handful of bucks on digital distribution services.

Switching between games is simpler and faster

Xbox Live Games

Alternating between games is usually a matter of a few button presses on modern consoles (PS3, PS4, Xbox 360 and Xbox One) and that’s really practical, since you don’t have to get up, look for another game on your shelf, swap discs and then wait for everything to load. This is one of those things that sounds silly, but it’s really convenient when you have the option.

No need to leave the house

Steam (Big Picture Mode UI)

When you buy discs, you need to dress, leave the house, walk or drive to the nearest store when they are supposed to have the game you want, make the transaction and then go back so that you can play the game. That takes a lot of time and can be a hassle, but if you buy digital games, you just have to wait for the download to complete and that’s it.

You save physical space

Video Game Collection

I never paid too much attention to physical space, until one day I woke up and realized that I was surrounded by magazines, boxes, musical instruments and a lot of CDs, DVDs and video games. As of late, I’ve been trying to maintain a minimalist approach, so I try to buy things I really want and things I know I’m going to use a lot. After all, I don’t want to be one of those people who rents a storage space to keep old Xbox games.

Your entire collection is safe

Kinect and Xbox 360

So whenever you buy digital games, those files are tied to your profile and unless something catastrophic happens, those games are safe. Personally, I try to download everything and keep it in a hard drive at all times, just in case that day I really want to play Dark Souls, I don’t have to wait for the download to finish or hope that Xbox Live works flawlessly.

Digital files don’t get lost or scratched

Fable Trilogy (Xbox 360)

One of the most serious problems with disks is that they are easily broken and scratched. Accidents happen and even if you take good care of things, they can break. Also, lending something to a friend that never returns that is also common (and makes you think why you had friends in the first place.)

Pre-loading and pre-intalls can be quite convenient

inFAMOUS - First Light (PS4)

These features will improve over the next few years, I’m sure of it. Most digital distribution services have implemented pre-loading and pre-installs and while I have limited experience with them, I can say that when they work, they can be an amazing thing. Downloading a large game a few days before it comes out, so that you don’t have to wait to play it when it does is an amazing thing and it makes me feel like I live in the future.

Digital is more convenient

Steam Collection

I can definitely see the advantages of playing games on physical media (that article is coming next, so look forward to that,) but one of the things I like the most about playing games digitally is that it’s much more convenient for me in every sense. Of course, if you like collecting games, if you like having something you can touch or if you’re just nostalgic about disks and that sort of technology, disks are probably better for you. Let’s see where this goes in the future but in the meantime, I love going all digital.