Video Games: Disc vs. Digital

When looking at the way video games are available for purchase nowadays, there are usually two ways of getting a game: either buying a disc or the digital version. I have always thought about why people prefer one method to the other and was curious as to how the two ways of playing a game differ.

First off, when you go out and buy a physical disc version of a game, you are buying the game in a “ready to go” state. That is, the entire game is already downloaded onto the disc and all you have to do is put it into your PC or console of choice and begin gaming, right? Apparently this isn’t the case anymore. From my own experience, I have purchased almost every game I own on my Xbox One on a disc. I do so because I like to own a physical copy of it if I ever choose to let one of my friends borrow it and because I’m so used to buying a

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Call of Duty®: Advanced Warfare is a 46GB download

physical copy of the game ever since I stared playing video games a long time ago on my PC and Nintendo GameCube. What doesn’t really make sense to me is that regardless of if you buy the game on a disc or digitally, you’re still forced to “download” it onto your console. Nowadays the disc acts merely as an installer that makes you wait to download all the necessary files onto your PC or console. It used to be that when you’d put a physical disc inside of your Xbox or PlayStation, it would play off of the disc and there would be no waiting whatsoever, but times have changed and video games today are increasing in size and take up lots of space on hard drives.

As for downloading a game digitally, there are quite a number of advantages. First off, when you opt for a digital version of a game, you never have to worry about losing it since there are no physical discs to keep track of. xbox_360_disc_scratch.jpgYou can’t really “damage” a digital version of a game like you can a disc and the convenience of visiting an online video game marketplace is a much better alternative than visiting a retail store to purchase a game and there are no lines to worry about on video game release days and games are typically always just a click away and never out of stock. Of course with every advantage comes a disadvantage and some of those include not having enough hard drive storage, ridiculously long wait times when downloading a game due to internet speed or server availability, corruption during the download process that may ruin the gaming experience, and not being able to share your game with others should that desire arrive.

Today, the choice of downloading a game digitally or getting a physical disc is just a small scratch on the surface (get it?) of the issues that revolve around the enjoyment of games. At the end of the day, it’s up to the person’s personal preference on how they choose to receive their games and each have their upsides and downsides and regardless of how a person gets their games, as long as they’re playable, everyone’s happy!