I enjoy collecting. Back in the days of the original Xbox I owned a vast array of games. All brand new, all pristinely kept in their mint condition boxes and presented upon my shelves in alphabetical order. Once I moved onto PC gaming this all changed. As opposed to being able to stand and look at my collection – or even take in a lung full of new-box-smell – I am forever damned to scroll through a series of launch icons.
We are losing that interaction with our games beyond simply playing them: taking the time to order them alphabetically and then chronologically. User manuals: unfortunately they have long since fallen by the wayside, they made getting games an event. They were big meaty tomes that would contain more than just information on how to install your game: art books; charts of spells; graphs of weapon strength; maps. Not only were they really cool they also augmented your experience with the game. Just check out the video below for an example.
As gamers we stand to gain more than most in a digital future. Space for one: the game collection I mentioned earlier capped out at over 100 games and took up quite a chunk of my bedroom. Convenience for another: no one is denying that the ability to download games, films or music on demand and store them in one place – one place that could easily fit in the palm of your hand – is amazing. Fantastic sales: as any seasoned Steam veteran will know any holiday comes with the imminent threat of spending all your money on crazily discounted games. It’s no laughing matter… it’s a genuine fear of mine.
There are some benefits that we should be seeing but aren’t yet. Worldwide release dates: as the now famous saying goes there are ‘No Oceans on the Internet‘, shipping and importing should be a thing of the past. Overpriced eshops: almost every first party eshop is guilty of this but I’m calling out Sony and Nintendo specifically. It’s logical to think that if you aren’t paying for physical materials, packaging and shipping then you should get a lower price, right? Well no: Sony, Nintendo and Microsoft all inflate the price of their digital content to a ridiculous degree in some cases.
Like any big shift in an industry there are pros and cons, as well as changes that will come in time, perhaps in ways that we don’t expect or even don’t like. The big question in my mind is how much are we willing to pay for all of the pros that come along with digital? Which rights and securities are we willing to surrender for the sake of convenience? I will seek to answer this question in my next post so be sure to subscribe!
Is there anything you miss about boxed games? Let me know in the comments below!