Video games have been a part of my life since I was two years old. Throughout my 26 years as a gamer, I’ve seen the climate change in the industry. Physical copies used to be the primary way to buy games, but that’s not the norm anymore. Digital media has been taking the world by storm this generation. As someone who’s been an advocate for keeping physical media alive and well, I’ve hit the point where I realize that I need to step off the soapbox. There are reasons why people have been shifting towards digital games, and I’ve finally seen the light.
A sense of ease
Digital copies are great. I love booting up my console and seeing my entire library in front of me. Whether it’s Xbox One, PlayStation 4, or Switch, being able to navigate through all of my games seamlessly is fantastic. On Xbox One, immediately going to “My Games and Apps” brings up every game I own. From original Xbox to Xbox 360 to Xbox One, hundreds of games are at my disposal. When I bought physical games from Amazon or Gamestop, I’d purchase the game, install the disc, and then put the box on my shelf. Yesterday, I hit an impasse. I ran out of space on my shelf, and I had to rearrange my collection. It took a long time but ended in my frustration because I needed to keep cases on the floor. Surprisingly, that is what sent me over the edge, and made me make the switch to digital.
Convenient, fast, and stress-free
Earlier today, I preordered the Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy on Xbox One. There was a preorder on my Amazon account, but I canceled it. Canceling the preorder came as a shock to me because one advantage of physical media is the 20% discount from some retailers. As someone who never preordered a digital game before, it was fantastic to see Crash Bandicoot N. Sane Trilogy instantly preloading on my console. One problem of collecting physical games is waiting for a game to install after opening the box. As someone who has stressful days at work, the last thing I want to do is to sit for an hour or sometimes more for games to install. With preordered digital games, they can be preloaded when the files are ready. Being able to play a game immediately at launch is something that I never thought I would be doing.
No longer a hoarder
If you’ve ever seen the show Hoarders, you are familiar with people who have tons of stuff cluttered in their homes. That’s not necessarily me, but I have too many physical games. I find it difficult to trade games in and reduce my collection. Unfortunately, I don’t have a big house, and my room doesn’t have enough space to accommodate all the cases lying around. Between all of the Xbox, PlayStation, and Nintendo boxes scattered in the house, it’s tough to clean. Digital media will help me not to have the problem anymore because I won’t be going to stores for my video game habit.
Okay, hear me out. Buying digital games will help me financially. So, I’ll actually be spending full-price on video games for the first time in three years, and that sucks. I’ve been a Gamers Club Unlocked and Amazon Prime member for a while and enjoyed my 20% discounts. I’ve accepted the fact that I won’t buy games at a lower price anymore, but adopting an all-digital lifestyle will save me money because I’ll be avoiding collector’s editions. Purchasing larger versions of games became a hobby of mine. From various games in the Halo and Gears of War franchises, Batman: Arkham Knight, The Witcher 3: Wild Hunt, and The Legend of Zelda: Breath Of The Wild, I love having statues and exclusive items in my room. Now, those days are over. Not only will my room have less clutter (goes with the previous topic), I’ll also save $60-$90 per each collector’s edition. Doing the math, I’ll be saving a few hundred dollars this Fall by skipping some highly coveted collector’s editions on my wishlist.
Conclusion: Out with the old, in with the new
2018 has become a weird year. Even during E3, I was adamant in preserving physical media. It’s something I’ve known my entire life, but I think my unwillingness to accept change was why I didn’t care for digital media. While companies are suffering because consumers are making the switch to digital, I think the change isn’t as bad as I assumed. In fact, I’m surprisingly excited about the future of the video game industry. I like that everything I own will be in one place. I’m happy that my quality of life (living space) will be more accessible to myself, and others who live with me. I’m giddy thinking about being able to unwind immediately after getting home from work. Digital media isn’t bad like I made it out to be for years. I think digital games will propel the industry forward, and I’m glad I’ve finally made the right decision to embrace the digital future fully.
Andrew Gonzalez is the Co-Editor-In-Chief of Xbox Enthusiast. When not writing about Xbox, he’s usually reading comics, talking about Taylor Swift, and dreaming of the perfect Jet Force Gemini Reboot. You can follow him on Twitter. @AJGVulture89