The lights are on
Veteran Member - Level 11
Well, from what I understand, this will be my first blog
post appearing on the actual blog page. I’m fairly nervous for my first big boy
post, and I hope it doesn’t reflect my thoughts too poorly.
Onto the content. As many of you hopefully know, there was
an article posted earlier today about EA eventually going 100% digital. Now,
I’m not saying this means the end of physical copies any more than the
introduction of iTunes made the CD go the way of the buffalo, but the thought
of such a scenario gave me pause. I realize that many people would welcome the
change, given the popularity of distributors like Steam, but I honestly believe
that the disappearance of actual physical video games would be a detriment to
the industry as a whole.
I’m 25 years old. I remember not only when the internet
showed up, but when my family got our first computer and even our first
cordless phone (maybe we were latecomers? I’ve never bothered looking up the
actual timeline of when things were invented). In short, I didn’t have a lot of
resources to find information as a kid. Our encyclopedias weren’t going to
reveal a glowing review of The Legend of Zelda: A Link To The Past. I remember
when we borrowed Final Fantasy II from my friend. I was blown away. This was
the first time I had ever seen an RPG, and after a few hiccups (you mean you
just hit A and he swings his sword once a turn?) I was hooked. The game was
phenomenal. Later, we borrowed Earthbound and I was even more immersed in these
fantastical worlds. Without the actual copies of these games, my friend could
not have lent them to me and I wouldn’t be a fan of my favorite genre. Now, I
realize there are demos for a lot of games, but those are almost a different
beast. I can’t lend Castle Crashers to my friend. It’s not possible. If I did,
maybe he’d be interested and actually pay for the dang thing so we could play.
I have literally poured money into this industry all because an unwitting
friend let me play Final Fantasy II.
Used game sales are just as important to me. A year or so
ago, I went to Gamestop with some brand new birthday money just burning a hole
in my pocket. I saw a game I didn’t know anything about but had heard was
pretty good: Mass Effect. It was twenty dollars. I picked it up, along with
Eternal Sonata and Metroid: Other M. After creating my character four times (I
eventually settled on looking like Bruce Willis) the game quickly became my
favorite despite some iffy sniping mechanics. I preordered Mass Effect 3 and
plopped 60 bones down when it was released. Had the original not been 20
dollars, I probably wouldn’t have bought it. Because it was, EA and Bioware
(and Target) have money they wouldn’t have gotten from me. Now I am aware that
there was an article just posted stating that legally we can sell “used” game
codes, but I don’t imagine that this would be much of a reality. I doubt there
would be distributors of such “sold” material, and games would be buried if
people had to search for them.
The next point, while not being as big of a deal, is still
weighty: storage space. Halo 4 is going to require 8 gigs to be able to enjoy
the multiplayer experience in its entirety. My Xbox cannot hold a library of
games on its hard drive. The jaded consumer in me also doesn’t trust cloud
storage with two dozen fully priced games.
Call me old fashioned or outdated, but digital distribution
is something that I cannot place my heart in. Maybe it’s due to so many
formative experiences that would be impossible with the new setup; maybe it’s
the fact that I think Manuals are super cool and love to read them (Dungeon
Siege III’s was super disappointing). I don’t know. What I do know is that
while many gamers are embracing this “next step” with open arms, it’s dragging
me along kicking and screaming.