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Game Disc Manufacturers Sense Digital's Impending Dominance

The expansion of the digital age is rapidly encroaching on the physical media veteran gamers know and love.

According to an MCV report, game disc manufacturers have predicted "a steady decline in the use of game discs" as digital continues to become more and more popular.

Some companies that duplicate physical games "are on the verge of going out of business" in Europe, and most assume the problem will only get worse. Said UK commercial director at OK Media Doron Garfunkel:

"We believe the European market for replication will shrink by about 10 to 15 per cent per year as more and more games, audiobooks, DVD and so on are being distributed digitally rather than physically."

The firms that are trying to survive are currently looking for new sources of revenue, and that includes music and movie distribution. They do say there "will always be a need for physical product," but there's no doubt that digital distribution is here to stay and will continue to claim part of the market. Said CD Writer's Nic Ranshaw:

"Manufacturing will become increasingly specialised and niche, with physical product being used to build brand awareness and generate a buzz on the streets with the publication of limited collector’s editions that sell for premium."

The picture in this article should be clear to older gamers: It's a picture of the Lunar: Silver Star Story Complete box produced by Game Arts and Working Designs for the original PlayStation. That's what you don't get with digital. Just a friendly reminder.

Tags: digital gaming, game discs, video games, gaming industry

5/23/2012 10:26:11 AM Ben Dutka

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Comments (42 posts)

frylock25
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 10:42:49 AM
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pretty soon no one is going to have jobs anymore. its getting quite sad.

id rather have my physical copy any day.

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Kiryu
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 10:56:27 AM
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I just saw uncharted 1 and 2 's game download size from psn.20 GB.sorry but i want game discs.

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shadowscorpio
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 5:46:58 PM

Who knows . We may just end up saving everything as a cloud save in the future.

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Douchebaguette
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 10:58:47 AM
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Thought the title said 'Impending Doom' for a second. Wouldn't be far off...

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skyplaya
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 11:07:28 AM
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The thing I hate with digital copies is that its sometimes more expensive than the physical one. Plus they rarely have any sales.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 12:07:35 PM

Yup. That sucks.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 12:12:22 PM

I agree, unfortunately the console digital market has a little catching up to do in terms of fair pricing. Infamous2 should not cost $60 on the PSN when it's available for half that everywhere else.

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Excelsior1
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 5:10:45 PM

Skyplya is absolutely right. I have seen several games priced on PSN at a much higher price than the retail version. Motor storm Apocolypse was $59.99 on PSN...Kmart had it on sale for $20. Amazon had the retail version priced at $29.99.

There are other examples like Mass Effect 2. It was full price for months while retailers sold it for $20. PSN finally dropped the price to $20 as well but it took them awhile...

I think what we are seeing here in regards to retailers is simple supply and demand. They drop their prices because they simply need to move the product. If a game is taking up shelf space and not selling retailers often slash the price.

It would seem those kind of market pressures do not exist for digital games. That's why they tend to be priced higher than their retail counterparts.


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Dancemachine55
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 6:16:27 PM

Found Lego Star Wars Complete Saga at EB for $23. On Xbox Live it's $49. RIP OFF!!

The only time I go digital over physical is when:

1. I don't have a choice, the game is only available digitally.

2. the game is far FAR cheaper digitally than physically (only Steam seems to know this)

3. the game is small enough to barely affect my download limit, 4 or 5 GB tops.

I'm fine with buying arcade games or handheld games online. Heck, I've bought most PC titles through Steam cos they're so cheap, regardless of file size!!

But I'll always have a soft spot for discs and cartridges and cards. I just hope Sony, MS and Ninty give us the option of physical OR digital for at least the next two generations of consoles. Not everyone can download a 30GB size game, you know!

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Highlander
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 8:41:10 PM

Yeah? Well I picked up the full version including all add-ons of Hot Shots Golf (PS3) for under $20 on PSN. You won't find that in the shops anywhere. As I've said before the pricing on PSN is the msrp, if a retailer discounts or clearances a game, you will get it for less elsewhere. If the MSRP drops on physical, then as far as I am aware it will online too.

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dmiitrie
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 11:18:32 AM
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Unfortunately, you don't packages like that anymore even if you get a physical copy.

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Cesar_ser_4
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 11:35:34 AM
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Right now, at least in the us, the bandwidth needed to download a game in a decent amount of time isn't there, not to mention the fact that no matter how big HDDs get there will never be enough space to hold a true gamer's library. Then there are those pesky DRMs they put on the games that just break our balls. I would much rather go to the store and take 20 mins to buy a physical game that will last way longer than a hard drive. Than having to wait a whole week to download a 20+ gb game off the psn. Sure not all games are that big but they ain't going to get any smaller either.

Same rule applies to movies. A digital movie is stripped off to bits because of the low bit rate needed to have a decent file size. There is nothing comparable between 6mbps and 30mbps there just isn't. And with the huge difference in sound quality. If you rather buy movies off the psn for the same price as a blu-ray disc then there is something seriously wrong with you.

In conclusion, as long as physical media means quality it will always exist no matter how fast internet gets, or how efficient compression schemes get.

Last edited by Cesar_ser_4 on 5/23/2012 11:36:11 AM

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Dancemachine55
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 6:22:05 PM

Agreed. HDD sizes, bandwidth, download limits, internet drop-outs, these are all things tech companies must consider before going digital-only.

If worse comes to worse, at least all 3 current consoles run games offline with no problems. I hope the next gen of consoles does the same with all disc-based and downloadable games.

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tes37
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 11:59:38 AM
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I'm sticking to physical copies as long as I possibly can. I have some digital downloads and I try to give myself a set limit of how many I can own. Being my own boss in this situation makes it easier to follow directions.

My Vita is about half and half right now. That will soon change in favor of physical copies when some of my pre-orders start rolling in.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 12:15:33 PM

Nothing beats finding a game I forgot about for a cheap price. I can't recall a time this happened and it was a digital game. I recently picked up Silent Hill Homecoming for $16 off Amazon. I too enjoy a mixture of the 2 formats since I'm sure had it only been a digital game I'd have paid at least twice that for a 4 year old game.

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tes37
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 12:28:22 PM

It looks like physical media will always be first choice among those who are collectors, and those who watch for sales.

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Highlander
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 12:05:28 PM
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Physical copies FTW! lol, actually I'll happily take a blend of both.

One thing I am finding is that if a game is offered with a premium package as a physical copy (such as the one pictured), I am more likely to buy that copy, and buy it early too. If more games went the route of offering a premium package for pre-order with a $10-$20 premium (assuming the chotskys are worth it) I think the physical media sales might be relatively safe, for those making them.


But, it's not really just game discs, is it?

"We believe the European market for replication will shrink by about 10 to 15 per cent per year as more and more games, audiobooks, DVD and so on are being distributed digitally rather than physically."

The proliferation of video streaming services and options as well as music downloads has really left disc manufacturers with the BluRay and game industry as the last bastion of physical distribution. I don't know about you, but even with my Xfinity broadband, streaming true HD video is still not a reality, so the discs continue to be very welcome to me.

Last edited by Highlander on 5/23/2012 12:06:20 PM

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 12:14:15 PM

I find myself renting a ton of movies off the PSN now. I hate Blockbuster and Family Video, and I don't mind paying a little bit more to watch HD movies/tv shows off the PSN.

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Underdog15
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 9:23:48 AM

Blockbuster died in Canada last year. So we don't really have many movie rental options anymore. Movie Gallery moved out, too.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 12:16:45 PM
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I'd like to see what the numbers are for a decade ago when MP3 really took off and CDs became pretty much inferior.

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JackDillinger89
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 12:44:28 PM
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physical media till the day i die.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 1:27:49 PM
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This future of gloom & doom is looking quite sad for us who want our physical discs, and especially for those who are collectors such as myself.

I dread the day all my future games will be on memory sticks all lined up on shelves, and all looking like a bunch of fugly ducklings.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 1:40:10 PM
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That's sad, first movie rental stores die and now physical disc manufacturers are on the decline. Even if our beloved physical copies remain so many people will lose their jobs. My best friend is a DVD mastering technician too.

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 1:51:25 PM

It's the way of the world. CDs/DVDs will go the way of the cassette.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 4:01:30 PM

I fear it's the way of a fiscally unsustainable world.

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Dancemachine55
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 6:41:00 PM

With things going digital and services being based on the internet, the majority of jobs will shift to the country with the cheapest labour, which is currently India and China.

I fear for all our children's futures, especially in such a weak economic climate right now. With a rising population and so many jobs being axed, unemployment will steadily get higher and higher, until only the few (1%?) will be able to afford such luxuries as new consoles, high end gaming PC's or online entertainment.

I buy nearly all my movies on Blu-ray, but the majority still on DVD like many other Australians. We don't quite have the same services as America or Europe just yet, and many don't have the download limit to use on streaming video. Blu-rays and DVD's are still quite popular for movies, but downloadable TV shows via torrent and large HDD's are the most popular in Australia right now, not streaming.

Many Aussies like to OWN what they download, and perhaps have backup copies of it. Right now it is only TV shows because the file sizes are small enough to download and store. Same goes for arcade games on XBL or PSN. Full games like Uncharted, Gears of War 3, Halo Reach, Motorstorm, etc, all these games are more popular to buy on disc, especially since the discs are cheaper in stores than what XBL or PSN price them at.

Until digital games become aggressively priced (like Steam's mid-year and Christmas sales) I believe many will still choose physical games over digital. Streaming is still a looooong ways off, what with bandwidth limitations, download limits and latency issues, but digital download is herre to stay. Let's just hope we'll get the option to choose physical or digital with future consoles.

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AcHiLLiA
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 11:20:29 PM

I know it sounds scary when it comes to the Chinese dominating the manufacturing world.

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Raze22
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 2:44:48 PM
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I'll believe it once it actually happens. This topic is talked about so much -___-

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Highlander
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 4:02:55 PM

I think it will happen - to a point. There will always be a market for physical media. But, they will become more expensive due to smaller production runs as digital becomes more common.

I think the future lies in premium packages that include enough extra value to justify the purchase at a premium price. If you look at NIS America, they had a pre-order for a premium version of Atelier Meruru. That package actually sold out! If the publisher/developer do their work on it, and provide the value, customers will pay a premium price for physical media sets.

As a collector, I actually look forward to that because simply collecting cases and discs is kind of boring, where are the art books, printed manuals, strategy guides, posters, calendars, sound tracks, plushies, t-shirts, figures, etc...? I want the 'stuff' too...

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wiley_kyotee
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 4:02:21 PM
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My concern is what happens in say 15 years or more when the PS3 is long gone? Will Sony still keep the servers up and running that are storing the digital PS3 games I purchased for me to download? With physical games, as long as I have a working PS3 system, a non-damaged BD game, and a TV with the proper inputs for the PS3, I can still play the game without worry. Or do I have to make sure I have a large enough HDD in my PS3 that will be able to hold all the digital games I have purchased for it?

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Dancemachine55
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 6:47:49 PM

That's a very good point wiley,

So long as our games are tied to servers, it feels like we are paying full price to rent a game rather than owning it outright.

This is mostly why I'm a big fan of single player adventures and buy more offline single player games, and very few online multiplayer games. I skipped MAG, will probably skip Dust 514 too. The only MMO I play is Star Wars The Old Republic. That's It!!

Every other game I own has a single player campaign, maybe a multiplayer option, but at least that campaign won't be going anywhere when servers are finally shut down.

Last edited by Dancemachine55 on 5/23/2012 6:48:33 PM

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TechSmurfy
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 4:07:42 PM
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Exactly. Silver Star Story Complete sits nicely on my shelf. Physical collections FTW!

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The CEO
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 4:09:58 PM
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Apparently Europe does not have to put up with bandwidth caps.

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Highlander
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 4:16:26 PM

They will, but then they also have crappier bandwidth than many places anyway.

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Dancemachine55
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 7:00:21 PM
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Australia is currently going through a big issue with the National Broadband Network (NBN) being rolled out across all of Australia!

This means high speed fibre-optic internet for nearly all households in Australia, meaning video streaming, 50Mbits/sec downloads and massive, if not unlimited, download limits.

The big problem everyone has is the cost of the whole thing!! Not only that, but very few people in Australia are interested in it, and many are happy with ADSL2 or area-limited broadband.

Right now, the price of using the NBN is phenomenonal!!! $80 per month for 100GB!! I get 100GB already on $50 per month on our current broadband!!

Not only that, but to get the NBN connection means letting the government dig up your front lawn and lay the cables, leaving a big ol' mess. Since many people (especially those over 30) still rely on DVD's and physical games, the internet is only used for Facebook and emails, maybe news and moreso for business. Why video conference when a phone conference is just as effective and cheaper?

Why buy digital games when the EB round the corner sells the disc version for nearly half the price?

Until PSN and XBL become more like Steam with massive discounts on digital titles, we won't see physical media going away anytime soon here in Oz.

One great example of this is PSN offering the Sly Trilogy on PSN for $20 last month!! Half the price that EB sells it for, so of course, I bought the PSN version!! sure, it was about 30GB in total for all 3 games, but I just downloaded each game one at a time with plenty of download limit left.

PSN needs to do more sales like THAT if they want people to buy digital.

Last edited by Dancemachine55 on 5/23/2012 7:04:11 PM

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Temjin001
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 7:10:07 PM
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I have to say having a PC machine that can do games, all of which are digital, for about a year now I'm all for ditching the plastic and paper and having all of my 1's and 0's stored on a magnetic disk. It's great having a real clean and nice interface that showcases your gaming library that can be accessed with the click of a button, and without wasting all of the physical shelf space. Granted, it sucks that strings can be attached to many of these digital games, but so many, any more, at least for PC, can be had for $10 or less. I can't say how many times I've had shots at newer games for dirt cheap, like dirt dirt cheap. If consoles can offer the selection of games, like Amazon, Origin, and Steam for as cheap and as accessibly, and given a HDD that has room to store dozens of games at once, and an option to play my games off-line, if needed, as many games I play are, I'm totally in.... but those are a lot of conditions to meet ;)

I've been doing all digital music for years now, and I've never looked back to CD's. I'm ready for games to make the jump. I'll leave the pretty picture books, cloth maps, and other frivolity for those who care to spend a crap load extra for collectors editions. They can pay extra, and keep the periphery crap, I'll just play the game =) If I need pretty game pictures I'll just find them all online ;)

hehe that was fun =p

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Geobaldi
Wednesday, May 23, 2012 @ 9:52:09 PM
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I've been primarily all digital for the last 5-6 years now, and I won't be going back to all physical unless I have to. I get all my entertainment digitally now from music to movies to games. Saves me the hassle of fighting traffic and crowds, or returning items that doing work, etc. And with Steam sales reaching upwards in the 65-85% off at times, my gaming budget stretches much further then it ever did during the physical media only era. As far as maps, books, and so on that come with certain collector's editions, even digital versions of the same collection come with those items, just digital versions. I don't mind hitting a page up/down key to read the contents of those items. Saves space too. I realize it's not for everyone, but not everyone wants to have all that stuff, or let alone has the space for all of it. I used to be all for it, but as I've gotten older, I realize that I don't need all that, though I still buy special editions of certain games and movies and such. Whatever's more convenient or appeals to you more, go for it. For me, it's all digital, and I've been happy ever since I switched over to it.

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gray_eagle
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 1:37:43 AM
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if they go digital, what happens to those gamers with out an internet connection?

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___________
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 9:54:49 AM
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if your paying the 200+ monthly fees and constant HDD upgrades than sure!
otherwise no, DD is not going to be "dominating" anything for a long, long time!
its amazing how many companies dont know how bloody expensive bandwidth is!
not to mention allot of ISPs are starting to count upload usage towards your monthly quota too so thats making things even worse!

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Caanimal
Thursday, May 24, 2012 @ 6:39:12 PM
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Here is how I see it for Digital Download:

Problem 1. Bandwidth Caps are wide spread and the higher the cap the more expencive it is, so not only do you have to pay for the game but you have to pay for the bandwidth to DL it, plus if the game forces you to be online to play it that's even more bandwidth you're paying for, what happens when you're playing CoD X and all of a sudden you've met your bandwidth cap and it's only half way through the month? I don't know about anyone else but I would be PISSED if I couldn't play a game for the rest of the month just cause of some cap, and I know a lot of areas of the USA still have caps, but can't say for other places around the world.

Problem 2. The amount of time it takes to DL a full game. My last DL was the expansion/stand-alone for InFamous 2, the Vampire one, it's only like 8 or 9 gigs but it took me about 30 hours to download the entire thing. To me that was a bit longer than I wished, but luckily I was VERY busy at work and didn't have time to sit and play any games at all. I would hate to imagine sitting for a week waiting for a full 30+ gig game, this problem alone would probably kill the gaming bug for me...

Problem 3. The current pricing of DDL games. As been pointed out before, if you take your time and keep you eyes open you can find physical copies for MUCH cheaper. Not to mention those of use who are actual "Collectors" and LIKE being able to physically handle all the little niceties that we spend extra for when buying a CE of a game.

Problem 4. Replacing/redownloading of games when lost to a harddrive failure. I have 6 years worth of PS3 (won't go into PS2 and older games I have in storage) games sitting nicely in an area that is about 2' by 3', that's over 100 games. About the only thing that will destory that collection is a natural disaster/fire (and that's if I don't grab them on my way out, which I already have a plan( heavy duty plastic bag) in place for). Can you imagine the time it would take me to redownload that many games? And yes, I do go back to some of those older games and play through them again or just mess around on them every once in a while.

Problem 4. The actual cost of DLing a game when you take everything into account. I would need to spend $100-$300 to buy a 1-4 TB Hard drive to store my DLed games on, now include any movies and photos and any other programs I wanted and I would probably need at least 5 TB just so I have a little extra room so I'm not running into some of the problems that can occur when working w/ a mostly full HD. Oh, and that price rage was for standard HDs, not the Solid State ones which are far more pricy (a single 1TB SSD currently on Newegg for $320). The price of the Bandwidth plus any possible overages if the company you are with does that instead of just cuts you off. The price of trying to replace your PC/Hard Drive/Game Console sure something happen to it.

Taking just the 4 things I brought up I really don't see the "benefits" of going pure DDL, and I know there were many issues I didn't even touch upon that are out there as real good example against DDL.

I will keep collecting my physical copies until they go DDL only, then I will stop playing video games.

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stealth
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 7:29:27 AM
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1) This is complete nonsense

2) Digital isnt saving the UK game industry from collapsinh which its doing

its sensationalized doom and gloom

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stealth
Friday, May 25, 2012 @ 7:29:39 AM
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1) This is complete nonsense

2) Digital isnt saving the UK game industry from collapsinh which its doing

its sensationalized doom and gloom

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