North Texas Daily

Benefits of consuming games digitally

Benefits of consuming games digitally

Benefits of consuming games digitally
July 31
14:31 2020

Does anybody remember Blockbuster? How about Redbox? Not too long ago the primary source for at-home entertainment for movies was a physical store or outlet/kiosk. Before Netflix was a streaming service, you’d receive movies in the mail after weeks of waiting, and platforms like Hulu were still in their infancy, offering extremely limited selections of most shows. The games industry and its distribution have seen similar trajectories to that of the film industry from roughly a decade ago in the last two years or so.

Up until 2018, physical sales accounted for the majority of game sales. That was a bit of an inflection point, as around this time subscription services for games began to boom in popularity. There are several ways to go about this idea of an all-digital platform. Firstly, it comes down to what you, the gamer, want to hold onto. Physical copies are fun and nostalgic, but it’s no fun getting up, cracking a box open and swapping the disc when you could just exit out of the game like an app and immediately run the other. Newer generations of hardware have made digital libraries more practical, of which all are more easily accessible, ready at the pressing of the start button.

While COVID-19 isn’t solely responsible for the uptick in digital consumption, it’s hurried along a process the gaming industry has kept under light discussion for years. The inability to go out and comfortably purchase games coupled with the fact that most, if not all, games sold, are also sold digitally, have no doubt encouraged the gamers of today to stay indoors. I think this is for the best for now, as discussion surrounding the price jump of next-gen games looms around the corner along with the next batch of consoles. COVID-19 has only reinforced the necessity of staying home as well, a prospect of which most Americans are dealing with on a very real level currently. Not only is there an incentive to stay home, but there is also more digital media worth accessing than ever before, on any medium of digital entertainment anywhere.

Cutting down on production costs for physical distribution isn’t exactly new. Game cases and manuals have been getting thinner, flimsier and less substantial with every new generation. As of the last generation,  most game manuals were actually put on the inside of the sleeve, meaning you have to remove the box art altogether to access what comes out to be notably shorter than game manuals from previous generations.

There is definitely something to be said for an all-digital future by doing away with physical media altogether. It sounds a bit strange, but that’s the direction nearly every entertainment medium has taken.

Streaming/downloading games, music, movies, etc. has only grown in popularity, as accessing these new platforms creates conveniences we only dreamt of a decade ago. It’s amazing to see then, that this industry is moving en mass with other forms of consumable media to a platform more accessible in times like these, even if the main incentive is to avoid infection of COVID-19.

Featured Illustration: Austin Banzon

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Zachary Helms

Zachary Helms

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