4 Reasons The Digital Distribution Of Video Games Will Make Your Life Better [MUO Gaming]

Dave LeClair 03-04-2012

digital distribution video gamesVideo 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.

digital distribution video games


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.


digital distribution games

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.

Saves Space

digital distribution games


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

digital distribution video games

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

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  1. Beez
    March 28, 2016 at 1:03 pm

    This is a great idea. Now when developers stop supporting the game online you won't have to play it any more! No pesky reason to go back and play a great game like halo or zelda oot. Once the distributor says you need to play something new, you will just have to play what they want you to play. I think it's great because there will be no need to discover old hidden gems of games from the past that you didn't know you liked! No way to go out on a limb and buy a inexpensive used game that you might not be sure about, that way we can all just stick to AAA titles like call of duty. Just to think, I will get to purchase resident evil 2 and 3 so many more times with all of the digital remakes for each new console that comes out every few years! Nothing like buying content, having it shut down by the developer and then buying the same content again in a new digital package!! Woot woot!!!

  2. GamingGuy
    March 31, 2015 at 4:10 am

    I do like the fact of not having to leave the house to buy games. But on the other hand if new games are still going to be $60 I won't like that. Here is my reasoning behind it. 1 you can't re-sell the game when your done like single player games like Wolfenstein might not get as much sales because you are paying $60 for a couple hours of play. Like call of duty though it is heavily based on multiplayer so that includes hundreds of hours. 2 storage space is already an issue on my Xbox one. I don't have a ton of games but bigger games like the master chief collection put a dent in my storage. So these days I find it smarter to sell the games I've beaten to free up space for new ones. So all in all going full digital is good in some places but bad in others in my opinion so if some changes were made then I would like it more.

  3. RON
    May 1, 2012 at 10:32 pm

    They should do this with everything like cars...I know G.M. is losing a ton of money by having used car lots around..; because everyone has the cash to buy new cars without trading in their used cars...NOT...G.M. should be demanding money from everyone who is selling their used cars...

  4. Chris Hoffman
    April 5, 2012 at 8:56 am

    I'm a big fan of digital distribution on PC -- especially with Steam.

    Being unable to sell a used game is a non-issue when you can buy the games for crazy cheap from Steam.

    The real question is whether the savings will be passed on to console gamers. If digital distribution means significantly cheaper games, it'll be great. If it means all games are $60 and can't be resold, console gamers are getting a raw deal.

    My inkling is that, because console makers have a lock on their platforms, we won't see the kind of sales we see on PC.

  5. jello
    April 4, 2012 at 4:41 pm

    I use to buy physical games mostly at frys, but now mainly buy digital from Steam and Origin. With digital, no more putting my GTA-4 CD-ROM/DVD in my tray to authenticate before playing the game, such a hassle. I really enjoy the automatic updates and/or patches provided via steam/origin. I remember not being able to update a CD-ROM/DVD game that had 7 patches without installing each patch individually (ie patches, 1,2,3....)
    another big pain in the butt. Times are always changing, I knew some really great guys working at the local Blockbuster video store, until the stores went digital and now those great guys are gone. My electrician will probably not have to worry about the internet/computer world taking his job......

  6. Krishnapriya
    April 4, 2012 at 3:00 pm

    the only problems i have with digital distribution is that connection speed and monthly data quota.

  7. Dave Parrack
    April 4, 2012 at 12:40 pm

    You're doing a for and against? They're fun, aren't they :)

    I know it's trending towards digital distribution but for now I still buy physical copies of games. I like to sell them on and use that money to buy other used games. And I really don't want to see that side of gaming die. Going all digital would also kill console gaming for anyone who isn't hooked up to the Internet.

  8. Chris
    April 4, 2012 at 2:28 am

    It's worse for the economy though. Retailers like Gamestop will not get any money. (Unless you buy the money codes from them, which I do. Gotta support em. Plus free powerup pro points.)
    The DVD (Xbox and PC) and Blu-Ray (PS3) companies will ultimately fail because there is no need to produce.
    The consumer will lose money for not being able to resale the game.
    Convenience is right, but when you have a slow internet connection and have to wait hours...probably not.
    I'll stick with physical copies until everything goes digital.