Physical Games vs. Digital Games: Which Are Best to Buy?

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Physical Games vs. Digital Games: Which Are Best to Buy?

After deciding which video game to purchase, the next most important option is whether to purchase it in physical or digital version. Digital games have grown in popularity over the past decade, but are there any drawbacks to their increased convenience?

It’s a contentious issue in the gaming world, with no easy solution. However, we’ll go through all of the advantages and disadvantages of physical vs digital games to help you determine if a physical or digital game collection is ideal for you.

Physical Games vs. Digital Games: Price

Physical and digital games are often priced the same. A physical game, on the other hand, generally depreciates more faster than its digital version.

If you want to purchase a fresh copy of a game a few months after it comes out, the physical copy is generally less expensive.

Having said that, most internet businesses have a lot of spectacular deals. These provide massive reductions, often cutting the price by up to 80%, which is far less than the price of a new physical game.

You have to be fortunate for the game you want to purchase to be in one of these deals, but if it is, you’re likely to discover a good deal.

The only time physical games are less expensive than these deals is when they are purchased used.

Winner: It’s a Draw

Physical Games vs. Digital Games: Second-Hand Games

With a physical game, you can trade it in or sell it when you’re done playing it. Not only does this help you pull together some cashfor your next game purchase, but if you buy second-hand copies of games as well as selling them, you’re likely to spend less buying games in the first place.

It’s also possible one of your physical games could become a rare collector’s item. Years from now, you might be able to sell it for many times what you paid for it. Although, by design, this doesn’t happen very often.

The only consideration to make is that the second-hand market doesn’t support any actual game developers. To do that, you need to buy new copies of games.

While some people try to sell second-hand digital games—by selling their account details or consoles—this rarely works out very well. Someone could easily change their account details after selling them. They could lie about which games are on their account. Or their console with the downloaded games on could break.

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What’s more, these sales aren’t strictly legal, so you get very little buyer or seller protection from eBay or other storefronts with second-hand digital games.

Winner: Physical Games

Physical Games vs. Digital Games: Swapping and Sharing

At first, it seems like it would be easier to share a physical game with friends and family members than a digital game. All you need to do is hand over the disc or cartridge and that person can put it in their own console and start playing it.

However, with digital games, you can alsoshareyour account details withsomeone to let them log in and playany of your digitally purchased games. And you can share these details across the globein an instant if you want to.

Of course, you should only do this if you trust the individual with your account information. However, if you do, it means you can both play the same game at the same time.

You may also play online using PlayStation Share Play (how to gameshare on the PS4) or Xbox Gameshare (how to gameshare on Xbox One).

Winner: Digital Games

Physical Games vs. Digital Games: Availability

To purchase a physical game, you must first locate a retailer that has it in stock. This is typically not a problem for popular games unless it is the day of release. However, if you’re searching for a more obscure title, you may have to seek for it for quite some time.

If the game is especially ancient, it may not be available elsewhere.

Digital games, on the other hand, are always available. You don’t even have to leave your house to purchase a digital game, and the digital shop should have access to practically every game ever published on your platform.

You must wait for a big download to finish before you can begin playing. However, pre-orders allow you to pre-download the game so that it is ready to play the moment it is released.

Read More: Why You Should Stop Pre-Ordering Video Games

Many smaller independent releases are never released in physical form, therefore they can only be purchased online. The same is true for physical game additional material, which is often only accessible as digital DLC.

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Winner: Digital Games

Physical Games vs. Digital Games: Longevity

It is sometimes said that purchasing a physical game implies you own it for life, but purchasing a digital game simply offers you a license to play that game, which may be withdrawn at any moment.

That is uncommon, although it does occur on occasion. Game producers go out of business or opt to withdraw their games from digital shops, and if you haven’t previously downloaded the game, you won’t be able to play it in the future.

Physical games, on the other hand, are not immune to these issues.

Physical games that need large upgrades before you can play them are very common these days. Without such updates, the version of the game you bought may be riddled with problems or missing crucial features.

If a digital game is removed from online retailers, you may not be able to obtain and install critical updates for the physical copy of that game.

Furthermore, a physical game might be misplaced, destroyed, or stolen. As a result, even if the necessary upgrades are still available, you may be unable to play it after keeping it for ten years.

You may always download another copy of a digital game from your account as long as the digital shop is open. Although you must still exercise caution to avoid losing access to your account, which might occur due to a forgotten password, a breach, or even a ban. If that happens, you will lose access to all of your games.

Winner: It’s a Draw

Physical Games vs. Digital Games: Convenience

Getting up to replace the disc or cartridge in your games console may not seem like a huge deal, but once you start switching between digital games instantaneously, it’s impossible to go back.

The point of digital gaming is convenience. You may go to the digital shop, purchase a new game, have it downloaded in the background, and then begin playing it without ever leaving the sofa.

If you have a portable gaming console, such as a Nintendo Switch, all of your digital games are always available to you, as long as you have an internet connection. Moving or traveling with a digital gaming collection is significantly simpler than with a physical one.

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You may even access your games by signing in to your account on someone else’s console.

More: The Best Apps for Organizing Your Video Game Collection

The main concern with digital games is how much storage space they need on your system. If necessary, you may generally update the internal storage.

Actual games, on the other hand, need physical storage in your house and are considerably more difficult to update if you run out of space.

Of course, with the proper presentation, you may transform your physical gaming collection into an eye-catching exhibit. However, when you purchase additional games, you will ultimately run out of space.

And you’ll be cursing all those extra boxes come moving day.

Winner: Digital Games

Physical Games vs. Digital Games: Environmental Impact

Physical games not only take up more room in the actual world, but the manufacture and shipping of them has real-world consequences as well. Plastic is used to make game discs, cartridges, and packaging. And transporting them across the world adds significantly to pollution.

Of course, digital games have their own environmental impact: neither most game creators nor the servers that house your digital game collection are carbon neutral.

However, the environmental effect of digital games is far lower than that of traditional games.

Winner: Digital Games

So Which Is Best? Physical Games or Digital Games

In practically every regard, digital games outperform analog games. The savings are larger, you may use them to gameshare, you never have to worry about stock levels, they’re always tied to your account, switching between games is simple, and they have a lower environmental effect.

Of sure, tangible media will always have ardent supporters. Physical games are still the way to go if you want to save money or show off your excellent gaming collection. However, digital games are the overwhelming leader in every other category.

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