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Video games are going digital; it is a fact that we cannot avoid. The chances are great that the next console generation will allow gamers to buy all of their games by downloading them directly to their hard drive. But what does this mean for gamers? Is it a good or bad thing for the future of video games?
As with any important issue, there are multiple ways to look at it. Both sides of the issue have their own valid points. In this two-part series, we will dig into the pros and cons of video games going digital, and presumably, come to a final decision about whether we are happy about it, or dreading it.
Today we are going to look at the good sides of digital distribution. Sure, plenty of reasons exist that digital distribution might suck, but for today, we are going to throw those out the window and really think about how digital distribution could be a good thing. We will look at how it will benefit both gamers and the people who put in a lot of time and money to make the video games we enjoy so much.
This is the most obvious reason distributing video games digitally is a good thing. No longer will we need to drive to the store to buy games. Instead, we simply click a couple of buttons on our controller, wait for the game to download, and in a few minutes (or hours, depending on your connection, but we will get into that next week), we will be playing any game we want.
It sounds like some crazy futuristic stuff, but if you look at the PSVita, Steam, Xbox Live Arcade, PlayStation Network and iTunes App Store, it is already happening.
I can imagine myself bored at home on a Monday, feeling that I should play a new video game, but not really wanting to put in the effort to drive to my local video game retailer. In the end, I do not go and buy a game because frankly, I am too lazy.
Fast forward to the next console generation, and I am having these same thoughts. But all I have to do is log in to the Xbox or PlayStation store, and I can buy a game. The chances are much higher that I end up with a new video game that day. The convenience of not having to go to a store might push some consumers over the edge, which leads to the next positive thing about digital distribution….
More Money For Publishers
With games going digital, it allows the publishers to make more money because there is no need to press physical copies, ship them to retailers and have the retailers take their cut. Instead, they only have to pay a small fee to Microsoft or Sony, and they already pay that now with physical games. Not only is their profit margin higher, they may also sell more games.
Since it is more convenient, people may make impulse purchases on games that they would not have bought otherwise.
Going digital would kill the used video game market. Used video games take money from publishers and put it one hundred percent in the hands of retailers. Obviously, going digital would get rid of that, as any game sold would be new, and therefore the creators of the game get the money.
Why does this matter to you, the gamer? More money for publishers and developers is more money for them to make games, and hopefully, for them to make better games. More games that are awesome can only be a good thing for gamers.
This reason is not nearly as profound and game changing as some of the other ones I have mentioned, but video games take up a lot of space on shelves, and having them magically tucked away on your console would alleviate that issue. Now, you can use your shelves for other stuff, and not video game cases. Of course, you will have to find somewhere to keep your build up of Rock Band peripherals, Wii Fit boards and other nonsense, but unfortunately, I do not see the technology to make those digital in the pipeline any time soon.
Play New Games Right At Launch
Currently, on the PC, you can preinstall many new games, and play them the moment midnight rolls around on release day. Having this same experience on the console would be awesome.
When the new Halo or Call of Duty comes out, being able to have it ready to go at midnight without having to stand in a massive line and wait for hours would make me even more excited for new games. Even if they don’t allow preinstalls, waiting an hour or so for the game to download will still have me playing at the same time as I would for a traditional midnight launch, but without having to go to the store in the middle of the night.
There is most certainly some good that can come from digital downloads of video games. There is a dark side too. Not everything in the world of digital distribution is puppy dogs and rainbows. There are some serious drawbacks. Cliffhanger time – tune in next week for why we should be wary of digital video game distribution.
What are some reasons you think video games being distributed digitally is a GOOD thing? Let us know in the comments!
Image Credit: Two attractive guys having fun while playing video games via Shutterstock, Eating dollar Symbols via Shutterstock, disks on wooden table via Shutterstock, Girls in colorful t-shirts in a line on white background via Shutterstock