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Physical Versus Digital Games, Which does today's gamer favor?

A recent survey has shown that UK gamers still favor physical copies of games. Is this going to be a stable trend or a fading preference?

A recent survey by Broadband Genie revealed some surprising facts about a trend in UK Gamers. The survey asked multiple questions, but one of the more interesting results was that out of 2,000 about 39% states that they preferred to actually buy physical copies of their games while only 25% stated that they preferred to download them digitally.

There have been multiple online polls about whether gamers prefer digital to physical copies of their games. Usually the polls find that the majority of gamers do still prefer the hard copy and case for their games. The question is if this will be a stable trend or one that might change over time.

A graph of growing digital sales

Trends shows that digital video games have slowly grown in popularity. But its still a close split.

Buying a game either digitally or boxed has its own positives and negatives tied to them. With physical copies there is something gratifying about taking the plastic off of a new game you just bought. Also usually buying or pre-ordering physical copies of games merits you some expansions, extra DLC or goodies, which is always a bonus. Some negatives that come with a game disc is that if it gets scratched, which most gamers know how to avoid, it can damage the experience and the game itself.

As for digital copies, they can be accessed at any time once they’ve been downloaded. Also they do not have the risk of physically damaging them. A personal experience is that my PS4, and sometimes PS3, have a habit of rarely overheating and ejecting the disc while I’m in the middle of playing a game. This danger is not a problem for digital copies as there is no disc to eject and I can keep on playing. Some of the best games are also only initially found only in a digital form, such as thatgamecompany’s Journey.

Journey was originally just a digital video game

Journey, a visual marvel, only exists on its own in a digital format.

Like physical copies, digital games have their downfalls. When accessing them, depending on the game, it can take a long time to download and install a game from Xbox Live Marketplace, PSN Store or the Steam store. Also your console or computer has only so much memory, so you can’t just download and install game after game.

Personally, I find that both forms of owning a game, either digitally or physically, can co-exist and that it depends on the game and the gamer to decide which form of the game is “better”. What about you? Which format of game do you prefer? Do you favor either side or are you somewhere in between? Leave a comment and for all your deep thoughts about video games, stay tuned to GameSkinny.com.    

Published Jul. 17th 2015

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