The lights are on
Yesterday, we ran a discussion asking Game Informer readers which they preferred: physical retail copies of games, or digital downloaded copies, and the results are in.
This is in no way a real, scientific poll that should in any way represent overall perception of video game consumers. With that disclaimer aside, Game Informer readers who comment on our stories (our favorite kind of reader) definitely prefer physical games to downloaded games. Looking through the comments and reading everyone's input, approximately 75% of readers prefer their games to be physical things they can hold in their hands, 11% prefer to download their games, and 14% showed no preference either way.
Proof that I counted the comments and took notes
The arguments in favor of digital downloads included the normal ones like accessibility and convenience, discounted prices, and the lack of clutter that comes with buying a game that doesn't have a box. Reader Barnsley Pal wrote, "I'm done with physical discs. It just feels like an outdated way to transfer information." Another reader also pointed out that by not having a cartridge or a disc, there is nothing to lose or misplace.
Reader jeisenlee brought up an argument that is usually presented from the fans of physical games who like the ability to sell games saying, "At the moment I can't trade [digital downloads] in, so there's less pressure to trade in a game I like for something new that just came out." Consoles and PCs also run quieter when they don't have to spin a disc to run a game.
The voices of the fans of purchasing physical games – which were much louder – also made compelling arguments. Hard drives fill up too quickly, the Internet is not fast enough to allow the download of large games, and it's good to have a disc around in case you need to reinstall. Reader Arkayde said, "In my opinion digital is no more than an indefinite rental." There's also something to be said about the simple joy of holding a physical game in your hands.
For the most part, nobody was entirely dismissive of one way to purchase games over another. If the price is right, digital is fine, but the majority of readers said that given they preference, they would rather go retail. It also depends on console. If it's PC, most readers go digital download, because often that's the only choice. The same goes for handheld consoles. Most readers like their handheld games to be digital, but if it's home console, most like having a box with a disc.
And finally, reader ThisWorldBeginsWithUs offered perhaps the most compelling argument saying, "I prefer my games on buttered toast," which I counted as a vote for retail. You can't place a digital download on a piece of toast.
If you want to dive into the discussion and offer your own opinion, head back to the original reader discussion to leave a comment.
Email the author Kyle Hilliard, or follow on Twitter, Google+, Facebook, and Game Informer.