Physical Media

Physical Media
Video games through the years have come in many forms. There were the bulky plastic boxes of the early years which closely resembled 8-tracks. There were the designer cartridges of the 8 and 16 bit generation. The optical disc revolution saw games distributed on various forms of CD and DvD formats, each more information dense than the last. Today, even SD cards are being used as a storage medium for our favorite systems.

  • Physical media has a certain psychological impact on the consumer. It's something you can hold, something you can have and display in real space which validates the sale you made.
  • Physical media is usually pretty robust. So long as it is cared for appropriately it will last a long time with little user maintenance beyond changing a save-slot battery every two decades or so.
  • Physical copies of games require packaging and manuals which can be a value-added proposition for many people. A whole industry of creative box art derived from these packaging needs which produces exciting images treasured by many gamers.

  • While usually robust, physical objects can be broken, decay, or be lost. If something happens to the physical copy, the game, and your money, are lost. Optical media are especially vulnerable to foil decay and scratches which render the games contained on them unreadable.
  • Physical media requires an entire commercial and industrial complex of business to go from factory to couch. Manufacturing centers, distribution, employee handling, and real-world marketing campaigns all increase the cost of the game which is then passed on to the consumer.
  • Backing up the contents of a cartridge's ROM chip, or making copies of an optical disc despite its DRM measures, usually requires specialized equipment. It is only a quasi-legal behavior in many places which renders your purchase vulnerable.



I wanna hold it

If I wantvto purchase something, I want it tangible. It gives me a feeling of being content that I'm seeing and feeling the item that I purchased.
Posted by Neiltarquin on 07-10-2017

If only physical media was as cheap...

If only physical media was just as cheap as digital download ones, then I would definitely go for physical media. I mean, has anyone ever seen the classic game boxes in the 90s? Those were amazing and artistic, you can't get those from digital downloads. Sadly, with physical copies, it would come with a higher price.
Posted by arachnophobik on 07-10-2017

Old School Expectations

I grew up with the Atari and NES generation so my ideas about product ownership and what I expect from a sale are absolutely colored by me experiences here. But I cannot deny, if given the choice, I'll pay more for a hard copy than for a digital copy every time. I love the great box art people come up with (and I even love the bad box art for its camp). It's great fun to flip through the manual of a game you're particularly excited about. There's something very satisfying about seeing that shelf lined with colorful jewel-case spines and rifling through them to find just the perfect title for when game-time has come again!
Posted by JaiGuru on 07-10-2017

Physical media with some exceptions

I really prefer Physical Media over Digital. There is just something that you feel when getting it physically than just purchasing and downloading and over the internet. I'd say the interaction is more personal with Physical media. And there's some freebies you get which is really nice too.

I know that, practically, Digital media is the way to go. But, Physical media will always hold a special place in my heart.

Posted by airfightermax on 07-10-2017

If not for sales. . .

I'd only be purchasing physical media if it went on sale as often as digital. Physical media just feels a lot safer to me because I can hold on to it and transfer it easily, plus I always wonder what will happen if and when valve goes under and Steam shuts down - where would all my digital games go?

Besides that, it's more fun to be able to read the manuals of games when you first get them - and that's something you can't really do with digital games as easily.

Posted by Eggy216 on 07-12-2017


Digital Download

Digital Download
As internet connectivity became both more ubiquitous and more reliable, video game distribution joined other media forms in transmitting digital copies of what was previously stored on ROM chips to consumers right in their home!

  • The low networking costs and ease of commercial expansion inherent to digital distribution models means more of the production costs allocated to a game's development go into the actual software and not the small army of other industries that were necessary to sell physical media.
  • The convenience factor is a huge selling point. You do not have to leave the comfort of your own home and the game you just purchased will be available usually in less time than it would have taken to go to the store.
  • While DRM may or may not make backups possible, most of the time digital PC games can be saved in other locations, protecting your entertainment investment from losses associated with physical media. Console games are usually warehoused on cloud storage servers meaning they can be re-downloaded in the event of hardware failure or software corruption.

  • Digital copies of games cost just as much as physical copies, and sometimes more. The money saved by not having to pay for all of those peripheral industries necessary to physical media is not passed on to the consumer, but rather put back into game development.
  • There are psychological and social compromises which subsidize the convenience of the transaction. You do not have anything to hold or display when you buy a digital copy, nor do you have the interactive fun of going to the game store where you may meet like-minded people as you shop for a new title.
  • You cannot trade in a used copy of a digital game when you have tired of it, undercutting the pre-owned business model which makes gaming affordable to many low income people. Flea market sale of digital games is also impossible, which threatens the cultural impact video games have on society.




I have got used to digital downloads by now. It is nice to have the box when you buy a physical copy, but when you buy a lot of these you will end up with storage problems. I only opt for physical when it is a gift.
Posted by sspi on 07-10-2017

Prefer this

I do prefer digital downloads as there is far more to choose from these days. From plugins for websites to ebooks and software, there is so much to do and learn from online.

The choices we have as well for actually saving are downloads like google drive, Mediafire and that is just a few there is a hell of a lot more websites out there to save files on.

Posted by moneybags82 on 07-10-2017

More Convenient

When I first got into the Steam scene some 9 years ago, I was wary of putting my money into digital downloads and keeping my games in an online library. I was always worried that I'd forget my password, or lose all of my games online, but I came to accept digital downloads pretty quickly.

I think they're more convenient for storage and installation purposes. All of my games are in one place online and available to download with just the click of a button. One of the last games I purchased a physical copy for was Heroes of Might & Magic IV, and if I recall correctly, it required 4 different discs to be traded out periodically to install the entire game. Ridiculous!

Posted by TheArticulate on 07-10-2017

The best!

I actually disagree that the digital copies of games cost the same as the physical. That is rarely the case. Plus on the digital games, you often have all sorts of discounts and sales that let you purchase them for amazing prices. If it is still too expensive then you can always just buy a game's key which is something that you can't do with physical.

I just like how convenient digital copies are. For example Steam. You just open it and you have your library with all of your games at your disposal. All you need to do is click play. You don't need to insert any CDs whatsoever. Much easier.

Posted by Mehano on 07-11-2017


the fact that you can easily take a download any where is the best part about it and the storage is better.
Posted by tinkerlove on 07-11-2017

Steam is love, Steam is life

Yeah, I know this quesiton is not about Steam itself, but it's the first thing that comes to mind when talking about digital download. I have over 1500 games on it, so it's kind of obvious what I prefer... It save space, it's cheaper, and you can access to it wherever you are. The same applies for movies, and things like Netflix are extremely good. The only exception is book: I never really got into Kindle and stuff like that, I love too much the smell of the paper and the sensation of keeping a physical book in your hands.
Posted by Xilkozuf on 07-10-2017

Super easy

I think this is a rather obvious choice, right? In the technological rhythm in which we curently live, how could I vote for a different option? So, my choice is "digital download" without thinking twice.
Posted by WildSpirit on 07-10-2017

Save space

I prefer digital download as it's really saving the space. It's easy to organize and search through the folders. Moreover, it's usually less expensive, and it helps to save more resources and better for environment too.
Posted by kaka135 on 07-10-2017

Digital Download

I particularly like both options. However, as I'm practically all the time in front of the computer, I think the best option for me would be the digital version. Thinking consciously about nature, I think Digital versions can be an excellent choice as well.
Posted by hermessantos on 07-09-2017

I prefer digital download

It is easier with digital download and more practical!
Posted by simplym on 07-09-2017


Digital downloads are simpler and can be obtained in a relatively short period of time. It doesn't really give you the bulky physical things that you have to sort out in your room once in a while. I understand that when you go to a game shop sometimes you are attracted to the displayed games and wanting to buy them so as long as you can resist that, I believe digital download is the better option.
Posted by lordrenly on 07-09-2017

Good Buy

I totally go with digital download as it is more flexible to work with and gives you the ease of switching system. I also love the fact that it is more durable as it tends to last more than a physical media which could get broken at anytime any you loose all your money
Posted by zeedollar on 07-13-2017

Anywhere, Everywhere. That's Perfect!

I love the fact that technology has made everything somewhat ubiquitous that in many cases, all you need is internet to reach that one thing you wish to reach at any certain point. I have a favorite playlist of about fifty songs. Imagine if I have to carry all of those tapes around (in the bus, restaurant, everywhere!). That's more like it. Digital all the way!
Posted by olaryeankarh on 07-10-2017

Digital format can save me of a lot of trauble

I used to prefer the physical format over the digital one, but with the arrival of a better internet and a better pc that changed, I noticed that this format can save me from many problems related to the backs of games, movies, etc and is something much more viable to save memory for more important things.
Posted by Deathisue on 07-12-2017


I tend to lose my physical stuff. So i prefer digital media all the way. Way easier anc cheaper and you can install it whenever you want.
Posted by Marvadaum on 07-27-2017

New times

Unlike back then when digital copies isn't trusted like physical ones, I see that it is much more preferred and easier now to have access on games that have digital copies. I used to buy physical copies of game and it only stopped when I purchased a game in the video game store and they only gave me a code. I felt disappointed but I understood in the long run it's advantages over having the physical copy. The physical copy may be prone to damage and once it does get damaged, there is no way to play it again unless you purchase a new copy. On the other hand, with digital copies of games nowadays even if you delete the game from your drive, as long as you have the game saved on your account in a platform, you will be able to redownload it again.
Posted by giovanniiiii on 07-18-2017

Digital downloads everytime

As someone who is a regular Steam user, I like to buy games in the form of digital download. The reason being is that I can get the product immediately. There is no need to wait for a physical media like a DVD to arrive. Sometimes, the physical media might be spoiled too and you will end up using most of your time waiting for the game to arrive.
Posted by fishmonk on 08-09-2017


Downloading things is easier, cheaper and doesn't need us to have space in our houses to keep our physical copies in. For example, you can have a library full of music and you can search through it very quickly on your computer. The same library in physical CDs would take you a lot of space on your shelves and you would have to search through it manually. Digital download is much better.
Posted by felabruno on 09-11-2017

Digital Download all the way!

I use to always buy physical media and was totally against digital download. Until I realized the full potential of digital download. You never have to worry about a scratched disk or losing a game or storing all the boxes.

I also have a bad habit of trading games in when I have no money and want a new game. And then I end up with next to no games to play. And with digital download that never happens because you can't resell digital downloads and I end up with all of the games that I bought.

Posted by Soulwatcher on 08-22-2017


I choose for digital download. We are now at digital era. It is but fitting to use digital downloads already.
Posted by menchuuy58 on 11-14-2018


In keeping up with the times the Digital version is the best way to go and for a lot of reasons. It's way more convenient, everything is there in one place, on your computer. You can save your games in different ways. You don't have to worry so much about your games being stolen, destroyed, and you have access right there with your games to buy more or whatever you want to do. You don't have to worry about storing your physical media, so it's space saving. Just an all-around better choice to go digital.
Posted by freebird37 on 07-09-2017
I agree with you. I also think digital version much easier. You simply do not need to save space for your books. All you need is a simple external HD to have a super mobile library.
Posted by hermessantos on 07-09-2017
Many persons may allude to the fact that the digital version may be less cumbersome to handle than the physical version. However, there is an area where it might be better to have the physical version. We have seen where many of the physical game setups for earlier periods have become collector's items and have been traded for some huge amount of monies.
Posted by explorerx7 on 07-09-2017
Although the physical media is getting obsolete with the convenience of the digital download, I guess some gamers still prefer the physical media for installing their games because it gives them the traditional feeling that they own the game. Unfortunately the downloading is now the standard and I have read that pretty soon even the installation of the operating system will be on a downloading method.
Posted by Corzhens on 10-26-2018
I think we live in the world where both of them are needed. Some books are worth reading on the book form. And some books are worth reading in the digital download. The reason behind that is some of the time digital download saves the printing and the other expenses. And this way you can also have the good profit out of it. I have found that digital download is lot better in such cases as it is good for environment.
Posted by overcast on 07-10-2017
Yes, I agree too. There will be times when you simply will not have a computer, cell phone or tablet at your disposal, so you will have the book in your physical form as the best option. Who travels to the country or simply does not have contact with the technology, has in the physical books its only and better option. So I also think that both of the oções are very good.
Posted by hermessantos on 07-10-2017
Well, going by the post we are given the option to choose just one which I believe.I agree that having both format is the greatest idea so that in areas with very poor network one can still cope with the hard cover.
Posted by lovely on 11-08-2018
I am not must into video game, however, if I have to choose between a physical product and digital download, I wll choose digital download. A physical product that may be a CD, DVD, or anm USB Drive cost more money than the digital product. How to save money is my primary concern, therefore, I will choose to download instead of buying the physical copy of the game.
Posted by vinaya on 07-10-2017
I'm a bit torn when it comes to this topic. On one hand, I miss the days of buying physical media. Whether it was going to the local game shop to buy a new game with my parents, or going to the video store to rent out a movie, getting physical copies of media was an experience. It was almost an adventure.

On the other hand, digital media is just so incredibly convenient. With the push of a button you can have your pick of millions of movies and video games, without even leaving the comfort of your own home. It's a battle between experience and convenience.
Posted by Denis_P on 07-13-2017
Right. I remember back in the day when me and my cousins would save up money just to buy the physical disc thing which contains a game and we would play it together. Although I've noticed before on fast food chains such as Jollibee and McDonalds, they offer physical games if you buy something from them. I forgot what year was that but it's really a good nostalgic feeling.
Posted by galegatling on 08-01-2017
Physical media can easily get damaged and it takes up a lot of space if you have around a 100 games. but you can store over 1000 digital downloads in a single hard drive and no one would know you ever owned one. Again switching games can get annoying for physical media were as digital downloads just require a click of a button.
Posted by zeedollar on 07-13-2017
Digital Download is more popular now. It's way more difficult to buy a physical copy. You can purchase digital copy easier and you get it instantly. You don't have to go to a store or wait for the delivery. The only downside is downloading the copy which can be slow for people with bad internet connection.
Posted by reginafalange on 07-13-2017
Well stated, the whole essence is getting them conveniently and whenever you need it. sometimes the stores might not have the physical copy of what we actually need but this is not same with online. You will always have the media version to download.
Posted by lovely on 11-08-2018
This is a difficult choice for me. On one hand I enjoy buying physical copies of games. It gives me joy to look at my collection of games I've bought over the years. I don't get that same joy looking at the list of digital games I've bought. But on the other hand digital games are so much more convenient. You don't have to get up and switch games, they're right there on your hard drive ready to play at the press of a button. So I guess my preference is physical copies for games I love and enjoy and digital copies for games I like but don't love. I wish they would offer physical and digital bundles for games like they do for DVD/BlueRay/Digital Copy movies. That way I can satisfy my craving for a physical collection of games while enjoying the convenience of the digital format.
Posted by fireball916 on 07-14-2017
When I was a kid I used to play games with my cousins. We would exchange our games I mean physical media if course with each other. We would challenge each other, this makes gaming more fun because connect with the games. This kind of experience makes me embrace sharing. I will prefer physical media because I will love to be able to share my game disk with my friends whenever I want to but I have limited opportunity with downloaded games. More so I can keep my game disk for a very long time, I still have some game disks that I have bought some years back.
Posted by Laiportal on 07-15-2017
I don't usually play games using consoles as I often used my phone or computer to play a game that were in the trend these days although I'm not much of an avid gamer. So I usually go for downloadable games like the type of mmorpg and other games out there which copies are available to download, be it licensed or pirated. Mostly cracked games as I don't want to spend precious funds just to play a game anymore .
Posted by narutos3nn1n on 09-09-2017
If you are using a smart phone for your internet needs, you will notice that the app is downloadable - that is the standard for acquiring apps whether the free or the paid. The digital download is now more comfortable with the improvement of internet access. Unlike before when downloading a small file takes a long time, now you can download a software within an hour. Maybe in a few years, the physical media for installing will be obsolete in favor of the downloaded version.
Posted by Corzhens on 02-14-2018
Digital download it is for me I like the ease with which one can download whatever media it is on the go. When once the internet is on with a limited time one is getting everything he or she needs to download conveniently. And it pretty really fast too.
Posted by lovely on 11-08-2018
I prefer digital downloads. We are now on high technology era. It is good to use digital download nowadays.
Posted by menchuuy58 on 11-14-2018