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I have no sympathy for people that can’t afford games if they’re buying digitally – Reader’s Feature

I have no sympathy for people that can’t afford games if they’re buying digitally – Reader’s Feature
It’s cheaper if you buy the physical version (Picture: Sony)

A reader suggests not buying expensive but relatively short games like Spider-Man 2 digitally when you can save money with a physical copy.

Over the last few weeks, I’ve seen a lot of argument and debate over the price of Spider-Man 2 and whether it’s too much for its relatively short length. It’s a very reasonable debate to have, especially given that the only alternative publishers tend to provide is unwanted bloat to artificially lengthen a game. What frustrates me though is it’s clear in most cases people are only talking about the cost of buying it digitally, which seem to me a complete waste of money.

You can already get small discounts for the disc version (which does not require a patch to run) at launch and it’ll certainly be even cheaper within a few months, almost certainly including Black Friday . But for some reason the majority of people have become so fixated at buying games digitally that it never seems to occur to them anymore, how much they are giving up just for the sake of not having to change discs.

And let’s not beat round the bush, that is the only advantage. With digital copies you don’t have to get up off your sofa to change to another game and… that’s it. There are no other benefits whatsoever. And yet people are more than happy to put up with higher prices and the fact that they don’t even own the game, in order to have that one labour saving advantage. It’s madness to me.

I’ve only a mild interest in Spider-Man 2, so the thought of paying full price for it is to me a non-starter. Although, like I said, it is available a little cheaper right from the off if you buy the physical version. But I’ll wait a few months and see how the price goes, as I expect that by the end of the year it’ll be at least a third off. For the physical version that is, there’ll never be a discount for the digital version before 2024 and even then it won’t be much.

Spider-Man 2 is the perfect example for the difference in cost between physical and digital because the fact that it’s short is much less of a problem when you can just sell the game when it’s finished. This is the only thing that tempts me into buying the game now, because if I did and beat it in a couple of days – as seems to be possible – I can get almost full price for it, given the short turnaround.

Anyone that buys the game at launch digitally, though, will be stuck with it, and the hole in their wallet, forever. I just don’t get it. Unless every gamer is super rich, why would you want to waste so much money on buying digitally, when it offers so little advantage?

The changing discs thing only goes so far anyway. If I want to play any game from my collection I can do so at a moment’s notice. If I want to play anything other than the five or six games installed on a console at any given time, then I have to wait hours for it to download. So, as long as you own more than six games it’s actually less convenient and more time-consuming than physical.

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The only actual downside with physical copies is where to keep the discs, but unless you’ve got a giant collection (which means you’d probably like it being on display anyway) the boxes don’t take up that much space. Especially as I imagine most people have long since given up having CDs or DVDs on their shelves, so there’s usually plenty of room.

Publishers must be loving all this, since they make much more profit from digital sales (because retailers don’t take a cut) but I have no idea why the majority of gamers have decided to make things so easy for them. I certainly won’t buy digitally unless I have to (because it’s an indie game, usually) and I’ll be using the money I save to buy even more games!

By reader Terry Gold

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