Why Steam Will Be The Death of Physical Games

Retail games are dying because of platforms like Steam. But why?
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Do you know that feeling you get when you go to your local game store after work or school, pick up that game you wanted and rush home to not waste a second of your precious gaming time? Feels good, right? Well, that feeling might be replaced by the feeling you get when you press the “buy” button on Steam and wait for your newly purchased game to finish downloading, because the popularity of digital gaming platforms like Steam is on the rise, making boxed games less and less attractive.

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Of course, Steam has a lot of advantages: no more scratched disks for example. But the trade-off is the fact that you won’t have something to place on your shelf. No box-sniffing (got to love the “new game-smell”). No more collector’s editions with statues, t-shirts and gorgeous steelbooks. Nope, just a library filled with digital games. That feels a little empty to me. I’m sure I’m not the only one who is bothered by this, but then why is Steam so popular?

One of the main reasons is that the games are sold at a lower price than the retail versions, because the games are digital (no costs for disks and shipping). Especially around this time of the year, with the Steam Summer Sale right around the corner. Those prices are another kick between the legs for the boxed games. I mean, why pay €60,- for the retail version, when you can get it for €40,- on Steam? Again, you won’t have the box to put on your shelf, but you just saved yourself €20,-! That’s enough to buy another game on Steam! Do you see where I’m going?

Laziness plays a big role in the dissapearance of the retail game. That’s because you won’t have to switch disks if you want to play a different game. You have every game you own in your library: your overview of games. That’s great, right? Like I said before, this also eliminates the problem with scratched disks! This, and the fact that you won’t have to leave your house and torment your pale gamer skin with the sunlight to get yourself a new game is, of course, a huge advantage.

All in all, Steam seems to eliminate most of the irritations with PC-gaming, except for the driver updates of course. This makes Steam a better choice than disk-based games for many gamers, and most of us are aware of this. Me? I just hope the boxed game will stay around for a little longer.

What do you guys think? Leave your thoughts in the comment below. 


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Daan van Monsjou
I'm an 18-year-old Journalism student and a News Editor at Overclock3D.net.