Like many things in life, the video game industry (and gaming as a hobby) is constantly adapting to new demands and competitors, which ultimately pushes gaming in a better direction than it was before. Without competition, cutting edge technology, and innovative ideas, it would become a stale hobby that wouldn’t last long. Luckily for gamers like me, that’s not the case and won’t ever need to be so long as developers are thinking outside the box and constantly pushing boundaries.
Within the last decade, there’s been a major shift in thinking when it comes to physical game copies versus digital game downloads.
I distinctly remember back in early college when games were beginning to be available for digital preorder and download, and a lot of my friends (as well as I) thought that physical copies were superior simply because you could own the copy itself as well as the box it came in and anything else accompanying the box art. There was something ritualistic about ripping open the shipping supplies and getting to play your brand new game that the digital experience just couldn’t provide.
Fast forward to today, however, and I’m pretty sure a lot of gamers have warmed up to the idea of digital downloads. Perhaps people no longer want to worry about getting their game at release since physical copies require going to a store and you have to worry about how many copies they’ve got available. Just as well, losing your disc or cartridge means you no longer own that game. But when you buy a game online with an online account, you’ll always “own” that game and it’ll never not work for you when you boot it up. Even better, there aren’t any shipping supplies to worry about throwing away or causing excess plastic to be used since everything is digital and stored on your hardware.
The cool thing about digital vs. physical is that neither one has to upend the other. Both can exist in perfect harmony, since some players like showing off their collection of games and prefer having everything they own in a physical format whereas others enjoy the idea of never worrying about the condition of their cartridge or game since it’s all digital. No matter which you prefer for your games, you can at least appreciate that you have an option on how you prefer your game to be stored and played.