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Most Console Gamers Still Prefer Physical Media 232

Posted by Soulskill
from the cloth-map-and-dorky-keyring-syndrome dept.
arcticstoat writes "Despite the advent of online game stores on all three major consoles, most console gamers apparently still prefer hoarding collections of gaming discs to downloading games. A recent survey conducted by Ipsos in the UK revealed that 64 per cent of the 1,000 users polled would rather have games on physical discs, while only 25 per cent would prefer digital copies. In the survey, 55 per cent of those polled said price was the key factor in determining their interest in downloading games, while 27 per cent said they wanted games available online before they were in the shops. Ipsos' director Ian Bramley explained, 'Interest absolutely drops away when you get to the types of pricing that you might charge for a new physical disc. People's perceptions are that they're not prepared to pay as much for digital content — they make the connection that it's not a physical disc and therefore it should be cheaper.'"
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Most Console Gamers Still Prefer Physical Media

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  • by Rik Sweeney (471717) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:34PM (#32780046) Homepage

    Because I can trade it in when I'm done.

  • DRM (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:36PM (#32780056)

    We're so used to getting dicked around with the inability to format shift digital media that the only thing that seems safe is physical media.

  • by krovisser (1056294) * on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:37PM (#32780076)
    I don't care what format it is as long as I don't have to be connected to license servers--which may or may not be running--every time I want to play.
  • by GreatDrok (684119) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:38PM (#32780104) Journal

    The only download game I bought was GTAIV-TLAD and almost as soon as I bought it they brought out the physical copy Episodes from Liberty City with that and the Ballad of Gay Tony on it. It was twice the price of the download but didn't require a large chunk of the disc space on my Xbox (20GB launch system) so I waited until one came up pre-owned cheap and picked that up. So, I've bought TLAD twice now. If I had bought a real disc I could sell it and get some money back but I can't. Great from the game publishers but crap for buyers. I won't do it again and in fact the vast majority of games I buy are preowned or discounted substantially such as Bioshock 2 bought brand new for half price. In 6 months or so I'll pick up Red Dead Redemption once all the fuss has died down and pre-owned copies hit the market at a decent price.

    For me, if I had to buy games at full price I think I would stop buying them pretty much all together so none of my money would go into the industry - download games are just bad news.

  • by Improv (2467) <pgunn@dachte.org> on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:39PM (#32780112) Homepage Journal

    Generally, if I have a physical copy of the game, I can expect to still run it 20 years later, long after their authentication servers have bit the dust. I still play Alpha Centauri and Civ3 fairly often, and occasionally dig out the old N16 games.

  • by KarlIsNotMyName (1529477) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:39PM (#32780114)

    No resources are wasted on materials, packaging, shipping or handling. Just electricity.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:40PM (#32780124)

    People's perceptions are that they're not prepared to pay as much for digital content — they make the connection that it's not a physical disc and therefore it should be cheaper.

    Why shouldn't it be cheaper? With digital distribution you don't have to worry about pressing disks, printing manuals, designing box art, shipping, storage, and a host of other costs. If I'm getting less stuff, why shouldn't I pay less?

  • wtf? (Score:5, Insightful)

    by kuzb (724081) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:41PM (#32780130)

    Despite the advent of online game stores on all three major consoles, most console gamers apparently still prefer hoarding collections of gaming discs to downloading games

    You know, that might have a lot to do with the fact that most titles are never available for download until they're 5 years of age or older. It's like saying "more people prefer chocolate to vanilla" in a store that only sells chocolate.

  • by sznupi (719324) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:41PM (#32780134) Homepage

    Or buy used. Both the core of "they make the connection that it's not a physical disc and therefore it should be cheaper" - people have control over what happens to physical media.

  • Duh, a no brainer (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Rurik (113882) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:44PM (#32780200)

    Physical media will always be far superior to digital.

    1) Can buy the game used. Instead of paying $60 for a game, you can wait a few weeks and get it for $35-40. Within a few months, it's available for $20-30 while Steam still sells it for $60.

    2) It can be resold. After you spend 10 hours finishing that game, you can turn it around and resell it for 80% of its buying price. You can then apply that money towards #1 and buy another game for cheap.

    3) You're not stuck with it. How many games, honestly, do you still play after a year? Maybe one or two. Why be permanently stuck with a game that you'll never play again? And why be stuck with a game that sucks? How about those poor saps that paid $60 for Terminator Salvation, discovered the game could be beaten in 5 hours, and had absolutely no replay value?

    4) You can trade games. The ultimate barter. Tired of a game and need a break? Trade with a friend for a month. Want to see if a game is really fun? Borrow it from a friend. Downloadable demos do not compare.

    5) A visual reminder. Having a physical boxed item is a visual reminder that you have a game that you can play. I compare this to the Humble Games bundle I bought a few weeks back. I honestly keep forgetting that I have these games to play, since they're just icons on my desktop along with dozens of others. It's different than being bored and walking to a bookcase to view through a physical collection.

  • Re:DRM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by somersault (912633) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:47PM (#32780246) Homepage Journal

    Just download a No CD crack. There's no reason to have the CD in for most games (well there may be music on there but for stuff like GTA you can copy it to the game directory).

  • Re:DRM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by sznupi (719324) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:52PM (#32780318) Homepage

    It's fairly transperent in comparison to some of the DRM the world has seen; carried over (say, to new owner) directly by the physical media itself.

  • by quanticle (843097) on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:52PM (#32780328) Homepage

    Generally, if I have a physical copy of the game, I can expect to still run it 20 years later, long after their authentication servers have bit the dust.

    That may have been true in the past, but these days, games purchased on physical media are just as DRM encumbered as their digital download brethren. It doesn't matter if you purchase Assassin's Creed 2 on a physical disk or as a digital download. It'll still communicate with its DRM servers as you play. These days, all you're paying for is a license key. The physical copy of the game is just a convenience, as you can generally install more quickly from a physical disk rather than a network connection.

  • by Local ID10T (790134) <ID10T.L.USER@gmail.com> on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:53PM (#32780334) Homepage

    Steam.

    I have re-purchased games after losing the disc, scratching the disc, loaning it to a friend (who lost it/forgot to return it/damaged it), losing the installation code, etc.

    So far Valve has done a good job in my opinion. I will continue to buy my games via Steam and play them on my desktop at home, my media center PC, my laptop, and occasionally even my desktop at work -all with a single purchase.

  • by drinkypoo (153816) <martin.espinoza@gmail.com> on Friday July 02, 2010 @05:58PM (#32780408) Homepage Journal

    Physical media will always be far superior to digital.

    Single-user registration keys are gradually eroding all the benefits save not having to download.

    The visual reminder thing is silly. That's why we have icons. Make sure your games have 'em.

  • by jollyreaper (513215) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:11PM (#32780548)

    I hate physical media. It's a pain in the ass. I'll tolerate getting DVD's from netflix but I'd prefer if everything streamed. I'm damn well never buying another DVD again. Of course, life is made easier by being able to torrent what I can't get through netflix. I'm also very happy reading my books electronically. Sometimes reference hardcopy is nice but for novels and the like, electronic is the way to go. But they dick you too hard through the online stores. And that's the weakness with the games.

    As far as games go, they're screwing you six ways from Sunday. You have to buy from the official store. I know on itunes for iphone apps you have to back it up yourself since they won't let you download it again if you lose it. I don't know how Xbox handles that sort of thing. I know people are complaining about trying to migrate downloads from console to console so I guess they're handling it poorly. And then there's the issue on getting discounted used games, trade-ins, borrowing a game from a friend, etc. Can't do any of that with downloads. And the hard drives on the consoles are so limited. 20gb for an Xbox? please. Oh, they came out with a 250gb. Whooptie fucking doo. You run out of space real quick and they sure as hell won't let you hook up an external drive via usb.

    So given the current state of the industry, I'm stuck preferring physical game media to downloads, but that's only due to the legal constraints. If not for that, downloads would be the way to go, same as it is with PC.

  • by fermion (181285) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:12PM (#32780556) Homepage Journal
    Exactly, physical games have a resale value. Imagine how hard it would be charge $30,000 for a car that had no resale value. Sure it loses 50% when you drive it off the lot, but that means there is 50% that can be recouped at any time.

    This is also why I don't think a book an ebook is worth more than $10, as long as it is released on the day of the hardback, and on $4 if it is more than a year old. With a physical book there is some inherent value. It can be sold, lent, given away. Many people can read it, and the cost of the book has to include that a certain number of sales are lost due to this. But an e-book kils the secondary market, so it does not have the value. This may mean that some people make less. So be it. There is no inherent right to profit.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:20PM (#32780652)

    Not the console version.

  • by Twinbee (767046) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:30PM (#32780770) Homepage

    Physical media will always be far superior to digital.

    Not really no. Physical media takes up space.

    1) Can buy the game used. Instead of paying $60 for a game, you can wait a few weeks and get it for $35-40. Within a few months, it's available for $20-30 while Steam still sells it for $60.

    You can still theoretically sell a non-DRM digitial copy, and delete the original, though you'd have to be honest about it. You used the word 'always' initially which implies that at no future point will humanity be honest in this way.

    2) It can be resold. After you spend 10 hours finishing that game, you can turn it around and resell it for 80% of its buying price. You can then apply that money towards #1 and buy another game for cheap.

    See 1.

    3) You're not stuck with it. How many games, honestly, do you still play after a year? Maybe one or two. Why be permanently stuck with a game that you'll never play again? And why be stuck with a game that sucks? How about those poor saps that paid $60 for Terminator Salvation, discovered the game could be beaten in 5 hours, and had absolutely no replay value?

    Er, there's always the delete/uninstall button...?

    4) You can trade games. The ultimate barter. Tired of a game and need a break? Trade with a friend for a month. Want to see if a game is really fun? Borrow it from a friend. Downloadable demos do not compare.

    Swap (non-drm) digital copies, and both parties can delete their initial originals. Problem solved.

    5) A visual reminder. Having a physical boxed item is a visual reminder that you have a game that you can play.

    Get a nicer presentation system then. In the future, we'll have 200" OLED monitors displaying 'game box covers' in 3D with all the bells and whistles you could ever want. Perhaps you want the smell of the paper box emulated too?

  • by Darinbob (1142669) on Friday July 02, 2010 @06:35PM (#32780814)
    I can also archive it for a few years, without having to make my own physical copy or keep it lying around clogging up the hard drive. (not on consoles myself, but it applies to PCs)

    Digital downloads of software automatically get categorized as "ephemeral" or "rental" in my head. Great for the yearly purchase of Turbo Tax. Seriously, I have 15 year old games I occasionally play from companies that have been out of business for ages. Annoying enough to try and track down some fan site that may have some patches, it'd just be that much worse to try and track down someone with hacks to make it work without a license server, trying to find who is still hosting the official downloadable content, etc. (yeah, I have the patches archived too, now to see about finding a Zip disk reader...)
  • by Hatta (162192) on Friday July 02, 2010 @08:15PM (#32781792) Journal

    You have a lot of faith in the emulator scene. Todays consoles are much more complicated, and much harder to emulate. If that weren't enough, they're encumbered by all sorts of DRM emulator authors will have to crack. I don't think we'll be seeing PS3/360 emulators for a long, long time.

  • by dangitman (862676) on Friday July 02, 2010 @09:15PM (#32782296)

    Also, if your hard drive becomes corrupted, or whoever you bought it from loses the records of your purchase you can still play your game.

    Actually, this is the main advantage of the downloaded game over the disc. If your hard drive dies, you can always re-download the game you purchased via download. If you scratch or otherwise break your disc copy, you're fucked.

  • by RobVB (1566105) on Friday July 02, 2010 @10:12PM (#32782666)

    You can lend and sell Steam games as long as you create a different account per game - at least that's what people tell me.

    That's not what the Steam Subscriber Agreement [steampowered.com] says:

    You are entitled to use the Steam Software for your own use, but you are not entitled to: (i) sell, grant a security interest in or transfer reproductions of the Steam Software to other parties in any way, nor to rent, lease or license the Steam Software to others without the prior written consent of Valve

    and also:

    When you complete Steam's registration process, you create a Steam account ("Account"). Your Account may also include billing information you provide to us for the purchase of Subscriptions. You are solely responsible for all activity on your Account and for the security of your computer system. You may not reveal, share or otherwise allow others to use your password or Account. You agree that you are personally responsible for the use of your password and Account and for all of the communication and activity on Steam that results from use of your login name and password. You may not sell or charge others for the right to use your Account, or otherwise transfer your Account.

    (emphasis added by me)

    I know illegal doesn't mean impossible, but that's another discussion.

  • Re:DRM (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Merls the Sneaky (1031058) on Friday July 02, 2010 @10:41PM (#32782822)

    True, but that's what virus scanners are for (and Firefox/noscript etc).

    And virtual machine sandboxes.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday July 02, 2010 @11:04PM (#32782908)

    But an external hard drive hooked up to the Wii that's full of torrented games will move just fine.

    Perhaps the console makers should focus on making the legal solution easier to use and more portable than the illegal one.

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