Hard Copy Collection Vs Digital Distribution

February 14th, 2008

old game carts

As I mentioned some time ago I am currently on a quest to complete my video game collection. Now despite the growing success of the digital download services, I refuse to use these services to complete my collection. As a gamer of most of the generations that these services cover I feel as though should own as many original copies as feasible. Its my responsibility.

Not everyone is a stubborn as me when it comes to digital downloads. But I’m sure that these services have encouraged new gamers to perhaps take a look around at eBay or second hand stores to see what is available to them in hard copy format.  So it begs the questions for both the hardened collector and the person that is thinking about the prospects of collecting. Should I choose Hard copy collecting or Digital distribution or even a mixture of both?

Its topic has probably become a little redundant now but for those still on the fence:

Owning the Original Cartridge or CD



Digital Distribution



I hope that this dot point guide helps you decide which path to go down. A mixture of both is always good as well.

  • There definitely seems to be a growing shift towards digital media, especially with the success of Wii VC and its growing range of platforms. I’ve resisted for as long as possible preferring the original article but found the services useful when wanting to play some rarer games that never got a UK release. A point noted in your post. :o)

  • Thanks for the comment QD. ^_^

    I think I will do what you are doing as well (our hands are a tied here eh?) opting for a mixture of both, leaning more towards the collecting.

    I have a .txt document with all of the games currently on the market (thats 20 years ago to now) that I wish to buy or missed out on the first time around. There are about 10 SNES games which were never available in PAL territories on that list. What can we do?

  • If I was several years younger and never owned or experienced some consoles as a child then I would definitely be using digital distribution for my game purchases. I think one aspect of my desire(and Dans) to collect the older games comes from firstly owning the older consoles and secondly being around when these consoles were popular.

    In terms of current generation games I am a big supporter for digitial download services such as Steam. At first I was very hesitent towards the service but it grows on you after every purchase. I think the reason why Steam and other services are so effective is due to thier ease of use and platform like status. Patches and updates are annoying to manage on the PC but with a platform like Steam game management becomes console like if not better.

    Steam also has services to show off your games collection too. It’s a great feature and allows your friends to see what games you own and how much you play them.

    Here’s my page for expample:

  • Wow I’m not the only one that has a list of games to get! Scary! :o)

    It’s frustrating being a PAL owner sometimes tho isn’t it DP? Especially with regards to some older hardware that isn’t region free. The possibilities of the VC are great tho, I downloaded “Sin and Punishment”, and “Super Mario Bros: The Lost Levels” last year.

    I do however wish that the VC would let you choose games from whichever region you wanted instead of it being mainly localised. Even if the game is in Japanese then at least the choice is mine to make.

  • Yeah I totally agree. We do get the ocassional perks though. Thats something that I am reserving for another article sometime down the track.

    BTW Lost Levels was in Super Mario All Stars (SNES).

  • This was a good idea for a post – I think DD has become a larger and larger issue in the video game world because it does one thing few people think about – it changes the very experience of playing a game itself.

    I did notice one thing though – all of the “pros” in the DD list can be thought of as cons. Instant gratification really does destroy the sense of collecting something – just try downloading a DVD torrent of SNES roms. They sure don’t “feel” like owning 2000 games. Slowdowns, sound hiccups, etc are a “part of the game” and give a sense of realness. The constant stream of games is slow – the VC only adds a few games a week. etc etc.

    What I find most troubling is that DD is allowing companies like Nintendo, Sega and NEC to double-dip with little to no investment. It’s the ultimate cash cow – the games have already been developed and the distribution pipeline is complete.. just add half a day’s work for a few programmers and you’ve got an unlimited collection of games can make $50,000+ each. What “realies” (that’s what I’d call the original carts) offer is the ability to keep your hard-earned yen out of the hands of corporations and return it to the (sometimes greedy!) hands of a community of gamers. DD has ensured that trading may become impossible because it cuts into profit margins, and I think that it’s seriously a major mistake to fall into a position of “ownerlessness”. You can’t trade a VC game.

  • Hey Chris, thanks for sharing your thoughts.

    I found that when I was writing that was the case. Some of the +ves and -ves for either category could be seen the other way. Which made it a little tricky.

    I think that DD’s main advantage is what it does for the gamers whom missed out on these games or just never grew up with them. Because lets face it, there isn’t enough original copies on the market to please everyone. And not everyone wants to pay a high price or even use the internet to find and then buy them. So this is very convient for them. Although you’re definetly correct, this is a huge cash cow for these companies and infact we should be seeing a lot more than what we are getting.

    But its putting (sought after) software into the hands of gamers and I think thats really important.

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