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GameStop Not Concerned About Digital Downloads...For Now

It seems the video game industry is headed towards a world of digital downloads, as the recent past - full titles on the PSN and Xbox Live, the announcement of the UMD-less PSP Go, etc. - indicates, but GameStop says they're not worried...well, not for about five years, anyway.

During a recent IndustryGamers interview with GameStop's Sterne Agee analyst Arvind Bhatia, the biggest game retailer in the world "has been conducting thorough studies on the capabilities of digital downloads and its potential adoption for several years now..." Not surprisingly, the findings fall in favor of the brick-and-mortar stores for now, and Bhatia further estimates that the digital download market won't infringe upon the GameStop goldmine until 2014. That is when he believes about "25% of the population" will have easy access to this new fandangled technology and, more importantly, when price and storage capacity are no longer major obstacles. It's good to know that GameStop is being proactive in their approach to this shift in the industry, which requires constant adaptation from many who are involved in what used to be a "kid's hobby." The only question is, are Bhatia's estimates correct? Furthermore, if they are, what will happen in five years? How will GameStop assimilate to the retail landscape, which will have forever changed?

For our part, despite our many gripes with GameStop, we'd find it very strange to live in a world without that retailer. Heck, we'd just stop going to malls entirely, wouldn't we? I mean, who cares about The Gap?

6/23/2009 Ben Dutka

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Comments (54 posts)

JPBooch
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 10:47:31 AM
Reply

I put a 500 mb HDD in my PS3 and have absolutely no issues with space. The PSN store allows you to redownload any title to it's shared PS3's an unlimited amount of times so I don't see these obstacles lasting too much longer.

With all the money lost on the used game industry, I can see consoles pushing the technology further in the very near future.

Last edited by JPBooch on 6/23/2009 10:48:23 AM

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oldmike
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 8:25:12 PM

not true you get a max of 5 times for any download
and some you can only download once
add to that how long you think it will take to download
a 50BG game and you see how safe they feal

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LegendaryWolfeh
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 2:54:40 AM

also 500mb? that's not a lot =P i'd have stuff with the original, haha

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Qubex
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 10:51:45 AM
Reply

They don't need to be concerned at this point.

Years away from total conversion to digital downloads... it will happen, but not for a while yet!

Q!

"i am home"

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kevinater321
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 10:52:02 AM
Reply

i don't even have a gamestop near me, i have eb games (run by same company)

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JoshBall
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 10:54:19 AM
Reply

Think the size of the PS3 games at the moment, heck, 50gb worth of game, downloadable?! Somehow i reckon that won't work just yet, unless it does but takes about a month or so to download haha

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Tim Speed24
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 10:58:51 AM
Reply

I don't like the idea of everything going to digital download. I buy many games and take chances with some unknown franchises....some I liked and some I didn't like.

The ones I didn't care for I traded in to get some cash towards another title. If I digital download games I'll be stuck with some games I don't want and will never play again.

This would put me in a situation where only AAA titles would deserve my purchase and I could quite possibly miss out on a gem.

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kevinater321
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 11:35:51 AM

well i like to read reviews, if it's undder 70 on at least 2 sites then its not worth my money, but i don't really buy much games anyway (no money)

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Highlander
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 10:10:36 AM

Unless a game is stellar, there are always a couple of places somewhere on the Web that will give low scores, even if it's just to be fanboys. Actually, even if the title is truly stellar, there will always be one or two sites out there who scorn the game to get hits for their site.

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Oliver
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 11:03:35 AM
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Digital downloads won't stop me from going to GameStop, their employees will.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 12:25:17 PM

Agreed.

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Alienange
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 1:35:53 PM

Couldn't have said it better.

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Nestore
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 11:15:09 AM
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Did you expect them to say, "digital discs are going to die tomorrow" and close all their stores?

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Qwarktast1c
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 11:19:27 AM
Reply

i prefer buying a physical product

so i guess if i ever do go to gamestop to buy a game, i usually go somewhere else, then i guess that they will have my business

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Cpt_Geez
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 11:59:28 AM
Reply

I'm concerned about everything going digital. II don't want to download every game that comes out.

The bad thing about it is we want be able to trade are games to gamestop, which II know some ppl don't like. The other thing is we want be able to sell are copies on amazon or ebay neither.

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A2K78
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 12:09:42 PM
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They don't have to worry because when it come to games, the average consumer is going to want to the physical product especially one they can resell.

As for this whole digital download craze, Microsoft and Sony will eventually see that its not what the consumer want and its nothing but a deadend.

As for the used game market hurting game sales, that is nothing but a bunch corporate lies. In fact distributors should embrace the used game market because in reality its actually a hedge against mass piracy and keep give titles that otherwise wouldn't have long shelf-lives in circulation

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Cpt_Geez
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 12:33:11 PM

You have a point there.

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 12:38:46 PM

Sorry, but you're absolutely wrong. Used game sales are no more beneficial to game publishers than copyright theft is. Neither generates revenue for the publisher and both present the sale of a new retail copy of the game. The only true beneficiary of used game sales is the seller of the used game, in the majority of cases that's GameStop, or possibly Ebay raking in their fees. The publishers and developers don't get a single dime from those sales.

I'm not for a moment equating buying and selling used games with copyright theft, clearly they are not the same from the perspective of consumers and the law. However purely from the business perspective of game developers and publishers, used game sales and copyright theft have the same net impact - lost retail sales.

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Alienange
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 1:40:46 PM

Maybe publishers should be the ones to include a postage paid trade in envelope with all their games.
"You don't like it and want to send it back? Here's what we'll give you for your opened game."
Why they're leaving it to the retailers to do this is beyond me.

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 4:17:22 PM

You bought it, it's yours. You expect a refund if you don't like it? I'm pretty certain that the publishers and developers would suggest that you do some research before buying next time.

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Alienange
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 12:12:04 AM

I was thinking more along the lines that publishers should be the ones benefiting from used game sales. The whole used game thing makes me sick but it looks like it's here to stay. Why should Gamestop be the ones making the money from it? Let publishers sell their games twice.

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 12:28:32 PM
Reply

GameStop and others will have to wean themselves off their self-created crack - used game sales. I think their best road is to focus more on hardware, printed material, and collectors editions. After all, even when all standard game sales go download, I would think that there will still be a substantial market for premium collector's editions that include the physical media.

Also, if GameStop focus on hardware accessories and services - PS3 HDD upgrades, accredited repairs. Or even preventative maintenance services, such as a system overhaul where they literally just take the cover off, clean out the insides, check your BluRay/DVD laser and generally give your system a good clean and checkup.

It's a different business, and there would be less room for cheap fanboys who're still at high school to work there, but hey, it's a business.

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photo K
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 12:40:44 PM
Reply

The only way to go digital really is to parallel the physical media and digital media at the same time. That way they could capture both consumer preferences. Either way, its far far away as games are getting much larger and the networking issue is always going to slow down the transition.

I personally like physical media, but who knows what these new generation of kids prefers these days.

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NonProphet
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 12:54:29 PM
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Normally you would expect a company to downplay the threat, but 5 years seems like a reasonable amount of time for digital downloads to become a significant distribution model.

The main drawbacks are the time it takes to download a full size game, the possibility that if your console crashes you could lose you games, you can't take games with you to your friends houses, and there is no resale potential.

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smileylyon
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 12:54:54 PM
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Before everything goes digital, high speed internet will have to be made available in all areas!

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 4:32:19 PM

Indeed, this is why BluRay, games on disc and even DVD are a long way from vanishing.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 5:15:22 PM

Digital divide FTL!

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DGo8
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 1:44:24 PM
Reply

quik off topic Q. if i change my hard drive to a bigger one will i lose my trophys?? and secondly...how can i keep my saved data n put it on my new hard drive?.


And it hink tha digital era is coming...just not yet

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Alienange
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 1:51:17 PM

You'll lose trophies only if you don't sync them before taking out the original hdd. If you do a full system backup it'll even warn you which users haven't synced their trophies before continuing.

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photo K
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 2:02:54 PM

yeah sync your trophies before you do a hdd swap. Then re-sync them after you "restore" your backup data.

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Alienange
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 1:49:17 PM
Reply

Isn't digital downloads just simply having the game on a hard drive instead of on a DVD or BD? It's digitally stored either way. Why would you want all your eggs in one hdd basket? I don't think dd will fail, but it sure as heck won't replace buying a game on it's own storage media. I'm sure some publishers would like to have us all download air, but from the sound of the comments here it's not catching on.

Re: Used games. Who the heck is buying used games?

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Jawknee
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 2:36:47 PM

Sometimes I'll buy used games. I had a chance to get MGS Portable Ops+ for $6.99. I didn't get it and now I can't find it. I got snaked by Gamestop on a copy of Uncharted. $54.99. Bought it only 3 months ago. For the most part though I try to stick with new games. I bought a used copy of Street Fighter IV out of spite because i was irked at Capcom for giving the PS3 an inferior copy of RE5.

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 4:30:09 PM

When you download a game on PSN, the transaction is recorded on your PSN account. You can re-download that game to your PS3 any number of times, you can download it to a certain number of unique PS3s (it varies based on how the content is set up) as well. So for example if you are a multi-PS3 household, you can download all your PSN games on both systems. If your PS3's HDD fails, you can simply re-download the games to your PS3 again because your PSN account shows you purchased it, and your PS3 is still your PS3.

So, there's really no drawback, as long as you have room for everything.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 5:18:43 PM

Gamestop is a huge reason why I support buying used games off Ebay. Pretty sad that I can trust some random guy in the middle of Montana but I can't trust my local neighbor that works at Gamestop to give me a good deal on a year old game. I'm tired of going into that store and seeing a game only marked down 5 dollars.

Last edited by LimitedVertigo on 6/23/2009 5:18:57 PM

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Jawknee
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 6:55:50 PM

@Highlander, i wish Apple was the same way. I love Apple computers but the fact that they try to make you rebuy all your iTunes music if you HDD crashes is bs.

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 11:33:31 PM

@Alienange
<<<I always buy used(except for the Ace Combat's), that's the only way I've been able to collect well over over 1,000 games(and counting) on 12 different systems.

Example: I could've paid $120 for "Army of 2" & "Resistance:Fall Of Man" when they first came out, but I don't play on-line so I waited(plus I still have tons of other games to keep me occupied).
Anyways, I just picked up both, Ao2 & R:FoM for only $16 each.

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Alienange
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 12:17:54 AM

Bikersaint that's my point. You can get those two games new at those prices. You just have to keep your eyes open. Ao2 is running at 19.99 on amazon and dips down every once in a while. That's what I do anyways. Barely ever pay over 20usd for new games.

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XmetalholicX
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 4:34:41 PM

I dont think I understand everyones problem with used games. So what if I want to save a little money on a game....and no I dont use amazon too much time and crap to go thourgh if the game doesnt work or is broke or just isnt the right game....what ever the case may be.....gamestop is the only place I know I can go buy a game and have 7 days to return it even if the only reason for return is because it just sucks.

Yeah I know some ppl are going to say that it doesnt help the system or the publisher to buy used...bluh bluh bluh (I think thats BS by the way...even if not alot i think they get something from Gamestop for used games i dont think they would give them exclusive stuff if they didnt) If they really have an issue with used games..maybe they should lower the price of newones. Be honest with yourself, I know that are some really great games out there but I really can't think of too many that are really worth $60...just name 10 that came out THIS YEAR.

Last edited by XmetalholicX on 6/24/2009 4:36:35 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 2:24:05 PM
Reply

Hmm, once the game is on the hard drive can't people just yank the drive and copy it onto another drive? I mean yeah you can copy a blu ray all you want but PS3 won't read it as a game.

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Tim Speed24
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 3:30:28 PM

I'm sure some smart computer people will. Digital downloads seem more likely to be pirated if you ask me.

Last edited by Tim Speed24 on 6/23/2009 3:30:45 PM

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 4:26:16 PM

That doesn't work on PS3, if you swap HDDs with another system, the PS3 notices immediately that it's not the registered system for the games. Nothing will play.

PS3s include unique identifiers and security measures at the hypervisor and hardware level - basically that's deeper than the OS. All downloaded games and media are protected. Even if you copied the file(s) the system would refuse to play it (game or media) unless it was registered to the system. The security all works in conjunction with your PSN ID as well as your individual PS3 system.

I'm not saying it's fool-proof, very little is, but it's sufficiently difficult to overcome that it's not been overcome yet. Certainly it's more than hard enough to deter any casual attempts to break it. Since Sony also perform regular firmware updates, the security is also ever evolving, making cracking it even harder. Remember they have the experience of the PSP platform and it's security failings to build on, so they do know what *not* to do this time...

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 5:16:48 PM

Digital downloaded content IMO is far harder to crack and disperse amongst people than a hard copy.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 5:20:47 PM

Cool, you're always up on the tech Highlander. Keep it up. I'm an old school ninja who got used to cracking weak security so I don't know much about this current stuff.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 6/23/2009 5:21:56 PM

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fatelementality
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 8:01:19 PM
Reply

You guys are forgetting that GameStop also sells alot of gaming accessories that you can't get anywhere else. I think that they're going to get more exclusive accessories. It won't save them but it would keep their head above water for some time to come. Alot of people do like having tangible items though. I think that they'll be fine until my generation stops playing games entirely.

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Karosso
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 9:26:52 PM

You might be on to something there Fate...
With all this accessories, Instruments, skateboards and all else, they might end up being even for a while...

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 9:33:06 PM

I've never bought anything at Gamestop other than games. Their accessories are always overpriced when compared to other places. Anything that might be exclusive IMO does not justify an increased price, especially if it's just an accessory.

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Highlander
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 11:15:06 PM

I can find anything that GameStop stocks - except GameStop branded items - at amazon or any number of other online retailers. I dare say I could find everything that GamStop stocks on Ebay.

I'll tell you something about GameStop, they don't stock the complete library of PS3 games. On more than one occasion in the last year I have tried in vain to find particular games on their website in order to purchase, and they didn't list the game. Eternal Sonata was one such game - long after it's PS3 release. So there was no excuse. Kinda odd considering they stock even the most obscure titles for other systems.

Just one more reason for GameStop to evolve or die.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 12:03:34 AM

@ fatelementality,
Yup, agreed!
I'm always in GS& EB looking for any used accessory that I don't already have, even if it's just to add into all my systems collections.
Found a adapter unit at GS that actually sits directly under my Gamecube so it will play all the little GameBoy Advance cart's.
And for less than $10 too.

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BikerSaint
Tuesday, June 23, 2009 @ 11:54:47 PM
Reply

@LimitedVertigo,
Sorryto hear about your GS neighbor,
I have 4 Gamestops & 1 of their EB stores that are all within 1/2 mile to 10 miles of me, and I've never had any problems with buying older or used games.

Since I got my 60GB machine a few months back I've gotten these 25 games, and I haven't paid more than $18.99 for any of them after using my 10% off "Edge" card.

Matter of fact all of them cost me less than $17 each, except for the $18 Resistance:FoM

Alone In The Dark:Inferno
Army of Two
Assassin's Creed
Bad Company:Battlefield
Battle For The Pacific
Beowolf
BlackSite: Area 51
Blazing Angels: Squadens Of WW2
Condemned 2: Bloodshot
DarkSector
Fracture
Haze
Jericho
Kane & Lynch Dead
Lair
Lost Planet: Extreme Conditions
Mercenaries: World In Flames
Orange Box
Rainbow 6: Vegas
Resistance: Fall Of Man
Splinter Cell:Double Agent
Soldier Of Fortune: Payback
Stranglehold(Collect Ed)
The Darkness
Turning Point: Fall of Liberty

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LimitedVertigo
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 12:06:58 AM

That's quite a collection of stuff you've been able to find. I admit my scenario is just mine alone and in no way reflective of the overall value the store might offer. I guess a lot of it has to do with my pleasure in buying things online. I love getting something new in the mail everyday, it's like Christmas as I unwrap the packages.

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JPBooch
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 11:04:03 AM

I hate to tell you Biker, but that is one crappy list of games. Other than BF2 and Creed, none of those games are worth 18 bucks. You could have gotten the same or better deals on EBay. Probably an even better deal on GameFly.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 4:18:09 AM
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Yeah, I hear ya.
I used to buy a lot of stuff online, but I don't buy used games online anymore.


2 things stop me from buying used games online...
1. I only buy used, & I won't buy a game unless I can actually inspect it with my own eyes.
I've been burned too many time from unscrupulous liars on used games.
I found that some A-holes will tell me that it's in mint shape(with stock pics), & that it's in the original case w/instruction manual. But once I've gotten it, it was either scratched up enough to ruin some areas of game play, or missing the manual or missing/broken original case(or all of the above).

I am glad I can say I was able to win every one of my dispute resolutions on Ebay, but it was still a pain in the keaster to go a month without either the game, or having my money tied up.

2. I no longer have a credit card since they upped my percentage rate for no good reason.
I DID mail it back to them, but in about 40 little chopped-up pieces.

So for games, it's only cash now, & only at places like GS, EB or even smaller mom & pop stores like Bandit Video, for me.

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JPBooch
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 10:59:29 AM
Reply

If they go completely to digital download they could create a system that has a writable blu-ray and give the user an option to back it up to disc. This way everyone is happy. You can encode the disc to only play for the account it was backed up on. Thus, you can take your games to your friends and put your account there AND you have all your games on disc.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, June 24, 2009 @ 1:44:16 PM
Reply

@JPBooch
As for getting them cheaper on Ebay-Amazon-1/2 price.com-Gamefly-ETC, I can't.
Re-read my last post once again & you should understand why.

They're only crappy if someone doesn't want them, and although I might find that one winds up an overall dud, so far I've been very happy with 99% of my picks.

And although I haven't even had the chance to play all those games I listed above as of yet(I run a motorcycle club), I have enjoyed playing Army of Two, Turning Point, Blacksite, & about 1/2 of The Darkness so far. And yes, I even liked Lair & Haze too(although I haven't finished either of them yet either).

The only one that I wasn't too thrilled with so far was Beowolf, I quit it due to boredom about 5 minutes into the game, but I'll probably go back to it when there's nothing else to go. Luckily, I only paid about $8 for that one.

Also, since I'm a collector, it doesn't matter if the game is a bit on the crappier side or not, I still need it for my collections.

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