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Poll: Download or Boxed?

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Download or Boxed?

Default Boxed vs Download

October 3rd, 2007, 10:27
All things being equal, do you prefer to purchase digital downloads or boxed copies of PC games?

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October 3rd, 2007, 10:41
Digital download for me. It's usually faster and cheaper than retail here in Australia, I hate going to the store and while I have a fond memories of my old box collection, I just don't have the space these days. I also buy a lot of indie games digitally.

Steam, TGN and indie developers are my main avenues.

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October 3rd, 2007, 10:56
Long after Microsoft has deprecated the OS, and ATI and Nvidia have released incompatible drivers, and the CD has succumbed to bitrot, I want a box to hold and a manual to read …

… and memories of a game I enjoyed playing.

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October 3rd, 2007, 11:02
Not too long ago, I would of voted Boxed-Copy. For the same reasons as Dhruin, I've gone done the digital path.

I still would love a nice big thick tome of a manual, soundtrack CD extra and other nice stuff you see in special-edition releases, but a lot of it is just superflourous.

That said, I do like what has happened with certian games. The Boxed copy letting you register with an account to grab the digital download at a later point. The Half-life series via Steam is the best known example of this. (more out there of course)
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October 3rd, 2007, 11:12
Sorry, I like having a physical copy in my hand. Remember it's all things being equal and that should include price and date of availability!!

If God said it, then that settles it!!

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October 3rd, 2007, 11:22
I don't think I have a real preference but I tend to buy boxes more than downloads.
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October 3rd, 2007, 11:45
Boxed, no question. The reasons? Re-downloading is a hassle, and… there are risks.

I bought Beyond Good and Evil as a download from direct2drive a couple of years ago. Recently I decided to give it another spin, so I found my account, found the download, downloaded, and installed it.

The first time I started up, it asked for my activation code.

I looked that up too, and entered it.

Then I got an error message: "Could not issue license, because you are in a country where this is not permitted."

Funny, since I had (a) expressly checked that it was available for my country when I bought it, and (b) it was localized to French, German, and Spanish. IOW, I'm pretty sure it's sloppy programming from the activation provider — they don't handle old products right.

To activate the game that I had bought and previously activated and played, I had to lie about my nationality. I turned myself into an honorary Montanan, and the game activated fine. Of course, if they had something like an IP mask check, that wouldn't have worked.

IOW, I don't like download copies because my ability to play the game is revocable at the whim of whoever I bought it from.

The same applies to on-line activation, of course, but with the logistics involved in getting a physical copy to store shelves, it's at least slightly more likely that this sort of thing won't happen.
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October 3rd, 2007, 11:50
For any cRPG I prefer Boxed. Nothing beats a plump and richly illustrated manual with lots of stat boxes! Remember the manual of Baldur's Gate 1? It also was a complete introduction to AD&D ruleset 2.0. Alas, these days manual tend to be kind of flimsy. What infuriates me most is the PDF-hoax "New and improved! No hassle with stupid paper, we supplied the manual in electronic form on this very DVD for your convenience! We even provide it free for you!".
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October 3rd, 2007, 11:55
I'm a collector at heart so there is no question that I have to have the boxed version so that I can put it on a shelf and admire it as I pass by … yes I know it is a character flaw but I have so may others already that one more or less isn't going to make a difference

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October 3rd, 2007, 11:56
I'm using Steam more and more. Convenient, easy and it frees up a lot of shelf place.

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October 3rd, 2007, 12:05
Physical all the way

I prefer a boxed copy, I like to actually have the stuff myself rather then rely on other sources to be able to (re)play my games. I would just be too worried I wouldn't be able to replay a game 10 years from now. I even back up game patches and walkthroughs just in case they disappear in time.
Besides that, with the frequency I uninstall and reinstall games, it would be eating up our download limit if I had to re-download the games every time. Not to mention I like manuals, bonus CDs, art books, and stuff like that

Having said that, I know that in the US they still pack games in cardboard boxes, whereas over here most games come in DVD (sized) cases, which makes it a lot easier to store them since they are the same size and take up less space.
So I can understand that space might be an issue for those cardboard boxes.
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October 3rd, 2007, 12:17
Boxed. When everything in your OS goes down, it's good to have a spare copy.
Though I'm somewhat annoyed how the boxed versions take so long to come in stores.

If creating backups were more legal and less of a hassle with copy protections, I'd go for digital.
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October 3rd, 2007, 13:22
Seems to me it's easier to backup digital games than physical ones, Surlent.

1. Steam. Select backup from the menu.
2. TBN. No copy protection. Copy it as you like.
3. Spiderweb and other indies. Copy as you like.

That's assuming I bother, because I can download from Steam as often as I like.

Disc? Hope that Nero works but even if it does, you'll need to find a fixed .exe because of the Securom.

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October 3rd, 2007, 13:38
Hmmm … I am in a quandary over this. On the one hand I love Steam and have enjoyed the simple reinstall of games using the service. On the other I enjoy having the physical media as insurance against companies going belly-up. All things equal I'd take download, though.

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October 3rd, 2007, 13:49
For me it's like cash vs credit card. I'd like to feel how much I have instead of just knowing a number
Boxed it is.
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October 3rd, 2007, 15:00
Right now I'm on the fence. I used to want boxed copies, but the facilities for digital downloads are getting better and better, so eventually I'll be all for digital versions.

My main problem right now is storage of the digital downloads. I would like to keep all my software on a hard drive based storage, but I'm already constantly maxing out my storage options with data only. It's really not viable for me to buy a SAN or NAS just for keeping my games and their backups!

I think it will start moving to digital only within the next decade, mainly driven by the consoles. Consoles have already started pushing serious advancements in usability for digital content (XBox Live being a prime example). Once consoles start having enough storage to actually download many many entire games, then eventually they'll go completely digital and you'll just buy the console and pay for a service to get software just like your cable TV (with all the various subscription types).

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October 3rd, 2007, 15:14
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Seems to me it's easier to backup digital games than physical ones, Surlent.

1. Steam. Select backup from the menu.
2. TBN. No copy protection. Copy it as you like.
3. Spiderweb and other indies. Copy as you like.

That's assuming I bother, because I can download from Steam as often as I like.

Disc? Hope that Nero works but even if it does, you'll need to find a fixed .exe because of the Securom.
Sounds interesting, might have to give it a try someday. Though I've read on the net that few games like Bioshock actually had Securom on them even when they downloaded it digitally. But then this is just hearsay.
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October 3rd, 2007, 15:26
Boxed, boxed, boxed… as you all know I'm a collector… Well, it would be pretty hard to collect something if there was nothing physical. The only time I will buy a download is if it's the only option available, and I don't even really like doing that for all the valid reasons mentioned here by others.

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October 3rd, 2007, 15:35
A number of the Steam games have had their origional copy protection when first made avaliable. I know Starforce has been removed over time, But SecurRom on BioShock looks like it will stay until it they stop using it in retail.

For backups I just copy the apps directory to a portable hard drive, does not give me hassles like its inbuilt backup feature.
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October 3rd, 2007, 16:30
Boxed all the way, unless the publisher GUARANTEES that the product will be PERMANENTLY available for download as many as I would like and/or need even if they were to go bankrupt or otherwise be expunged from existence.
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