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RPGWatch Forums » Comments » Polls & Comments » Boxed vs Download

View Poll Results - Download or Boxed?

Boxed - I like physical stuff 365 75.41%
Download - quick and no clutter 119 24.59%
Voters: 484. You may not vote on this poll

Default Boxed vs Download

October 3rd, 2007, 18:45
digital as last resort only
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October 3rd, 2007, 19:06
Mostly boxed. If digital is significantly less expensive and it's a game which I don't foresee playing more than a few times, I'd go that way. But a pdf manual and no disc plus no surety that the company will be around in 5 years isn't enough for a permanent addition to the collection.

@Sorcha—the cardboard box is giving way to the slim plastic case now that DVDs are more common. CD versions do still come that way, but you can toss the box and use a plastic jewel case if you want to save space—it's not like there's a huge manual or quick key cards anymore, just a couple of discs rattling around in paper envelopes.

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October 3rd, 2007, 19:10
I really don't get the whole "The company is gonna disappear" argument. You have to protect your physical purchases yourself, so having to protect your digital purchases yourself is going to be just the same. Why does everyone assume that the companies selling you the software is responsible for archiving *your* data.

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October 3rd, 2007, 19:38
Boxed for me. It just doesn't feel right not tangibly possessing something. I need the ability to install and uninstall just by putting a DVD in the drive, since I sometimes have to juggle what I have installed to make space for things. Using up bandwidth just to do that seems counterintuitive.

Plus I've been going to the same independent shop for about 15 years. I know the guy, get my PCs built by him, free servicing of said PCs, a street date might be broken for me now and again etc.
I feel like I should be supporting the independent retailer when possible.
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October 3rd, 2007, 19:52
I like boxes and dvd-cases etc. so I clearly prefer a boxed version of the game. However, I do have some downloaded versions of games, mostly though modules for NWN1, and an adventure game called 'the shivah'.

I also think that a boxed version is the best guarantee that you have for being able to play the game 5 or 6 years after its release. Troika Games went under and so did Interplay and Looking Glass Studio - and many more small indie developers did go under, and I'm sure more will follow. Not that I hope this, but the way of the world is such that the big fish eat the little fish…

If say Interplay or Troika only did offer download options for Bloodlines or Fallout, what would we do know, you'd think. Or for adventure game lovers, think of Still Life and Post Mortem….and the way Microïds Studio went away…

/aries100
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October 3rd, 2007, 20:03
Aside from the fact that I just simply like buying the boxed product, and am even occasionally sucker enough to buy so-called "collectors editions", I actually have more practical reasons.

For one thing, I've had horrible problems with Steam. I think Steam knows I hated it from day one when I bought HL2 (collectors edition, no less, I have NO idea why) and has now decided to hate me in return. I suppose that's fair.

Additionally, there are my concerns about being able to play the games 10+ years down the line, something I do quite often. That issue, is, of course, not eliminated by physical media when factoring in optical media wear-and-tear or outright aging, the possibility of drives or systems no longer supporting the copy protection, etc., but I feel (for whatever that's worth) the odds are somewhat better with physical media. At least the variables are more in my control than trusting a third-party.

Third, digital download games tend to be more problematic with modding, especially modding where modding was not intended by the game authors. Since I adore modding, whether I do it myself or enjoy the fruits of other's labors, this is a major factor for me.

So I only buy games through digital download when I have no other option, which fortunately for me has only been one game ever: Mount & Blade. I even waited until Sam & Max was released on physical media despite the fact that I've so wanted to play it ever since it came out (being a big fan of the classic title).
Originally Posted by Chekote View Post
I really don't get the whole "The company is gonna disappear" argument. You have to protect your physical purchases yourself, so having to protect your digital purchases yourself is going to be just the same. Why does everyone assume that the companies selling you the software is responsible for archiving *your* data.
That's valid but only when concerning the download itself. The problem is many of these services require online activation. Yes, some claim those elements will someday be removed via patch, but I frankly don't trust those claims.
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October 3rd, 2007, 20:06
*Pulls hair out*

Digital download is *just* a means of distribution. It does *not* mean that you always have to return to the publisher whenever you want to re-install it. Backup your data people!

If you want boxed versions of the game then thats fine. But pleeeeaaaaassee have a legitimate reason for doing so! *nose bleeds*

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October 3rd, 2007, 20:11
Originally Posted by Chekote View Post
*Pulls hair out*Digital download is *just* a means of distribution. It does *not* mean that you always have to return to the publisher whenever you want to re-install it. Backup your data people!
I still disagree with your argument. In my argument above I link the copy protections used in physical media with the distribution just as I do with digital distribution. Your argument is an academic one. Yes, if distribution were an issue with no strings attached, you would have a point. But both forms of distribution do come with strings in most cases, and saying they are irrelevant does not make it so.
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October 3rd, 2007, 20:38
Well, I voted for Boxed Copy. I live in a *very* rural area and can't get broadband of any kind (I'd have to chop down 15 trees to even get satellite internet)…and the next place I live will be even more remote.

I've downloaded over half a dozen 1.5-2 gig demos recently, and regularly download huge patches and mods, some of them taking upwards of 100 HOURS of download time to get. That doesn't mean I enjoy it though, I'm just stubborn (and love GetRight).

When I can order a copy of a game from Amazon and use the free shipping and *still* get it long before I'd be able to finish a digital download of the same game…that makes my choice fairly obvious.

If I had a broadband connection though, I'd choose digital download *IF* and only *IF* they included a good quality manual in pdf or some other format (for the games that require it…which most decent RPG's do).
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October 3rd, 2007, 20:43
Originally Posted by Chekote View Post
Digital download is *just* a means of distribution. It does *not* mean that you always have to return to the publisher whenever you want to re-install it. Backup your data people!
Doesn't that just validate boxed copies anyway?
Rather than mess about downloading, then burning to a DVD/CD anyway, just buy the boxed copy with a pretty factory pressed disc that comes with its own case.
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October 3rd, 2007, 20:48
If you burned a DVD/CD then yes, that would be pointless. But why on earth would you do that? My setup is:

Primary Internal HDD: Stores OS & installed applications
Secondary Internal HDD: Stores *all* Data and downloaded software installers
External HDD: Is an exact mirror of my Secondary Internal HDD and is stored at my in-laws house incase my house is burgled / burns down.

I can guarantee you that that setup is far better than having DVD/CD's with your software on, regardless of whether those DVD/CD's were purchased at a retail store or burned from downloaded software. Someone can always come in and steal your stuff, or your house can catch on fire etc.

Using anything other than a HDD for backup is ridiculous in this day and age.

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October 3rd, 2007, 21:04
Ahh, of course. I totally didn't think about back-up HDDs.
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October 3rd, 2007, 21:05
Originally Posted by Chekote View Post
If you burned a DVD/CD then yes, that would be pointless. But why on earth would you do that? My setup is:

Primary Internal HDD: Stores OS & installed applications
Secondary Internal HDD: Stores *all* Data and downloaded software installers
External HDD: Is an exact mirror of my Secondary Internal HDD and is stored at my in-laws house incase my house is burgled / burns down.

I can guarantee you that that setup is far better than having DVD/CD's with your software on, regardless of whether those DVD/CD's were purchased at a retail store or burned from downloaded software. Someone can always come in and steal your stuff, or your house can catch on fire etc.

Using anything other than a HDD for backup is ridiculous in this day and age.
I believe you are missing the point entirely.

Having back ups of the download is all fine and well but what if the only edition requires activation and the company is no longer around? Your 3 backups are now useless as you can't activate it upon installation. Boxed media normally does not require this activation.

Also those who can't get broadband (still many millions of houses that can not get any type of broadband)

I would much rather get a boxed copy.

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October 3rd, 2007, 21:13
I don't like clutter, so I always go for the… physical stuff. I don't like cluttered hard drives…

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October 3rd, 2007, 21:32
I too prefer boxed, but think that digital downloads are an excellent idea and really do like having that option.

The advantage of a boxed copy is that I get a manual to read, and I'll always have a copy of the game at hand. I like having a printed manual to read on the couch or elsewhere, and I enjoy knowing that my game discs are safe and I'll be able to install the software whenever I want and I don't have to fuss with backups, physical or otherwise. And I don't see the point in a non-physical back-up, external HD or not. I do not trust technology enough for that!
Plus, a boxed copy does give one artwork and whatnot which can be nice.

Digital's main advantage is instant gratification. I buy about 95% of my games on-line, since there is no decent local source, and with digital it's only a download away rather than waiting for mail delivery.

But I like knowing where my games are, where I can see them, knowing the discs are safely stored and organised. Digital downloads are too intangible. Although I do much prefer having the option to not install off of discs.

So all in all, both work for me, I prefer boxed, but both have great advantages.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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October 3rd, 2007, 22:36
woah, I didnt think it would be that dramatic of a difference. I know I'm a hoarder, and I'm glad to see that I'm in good company. I cant even bear to get rid of games I dont like, and will most likely never play. I never know if I'm going to be in some hideous accident and be confined to my home. I just may find some fun in Lords of the Realm 3 after all ='.'=

Although if there was download-only type of real perks such as lots of bonus content that really mattered, I might consider going the Chekote route. I'd definitely have an additional neato 007 model external drive that looks like a fireplace brick tho.
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October 3rd, 2007, 22:50
Having lost my entire rig to a nasty buggie (still need to do that disk wipe), I simply don't share Chekote's confidence in electronic storage, nor has he spoken to the whole activation issue. Give me a nice shiny disc.

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October 3rd, 2007, 23:06
Prefer boxed, mainly because I like to touch shiny things …but

To be honest I buy more digital these days, therefore that's what I chose. As per Dhruin, our good exchange rate with the US makes it considerably cheaper. And one gets sick of farting about with nocd cracks etc. As long as the service in question has a means of back-up, or no DRM/copy protection at all, I'm happy.

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October 3rd, 2007, 23:29
Cost certainly is another consideration. I find digital download prices stay higher much longer than boxed versions, and I never buy games at new prices. I buy a lot of my games either used or on clearance, and those two things never apply to downloads. I just can't justify the costs of most games now, so I don't pay the higher prices.

You know the very powerful and the very stupid have one thing in common. They don't alter their views to fit the facts, they alter the facts to fit their views, which can be uncomfortable if you happen to be one of the facts that needs altering.
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October 3rd, 2007, 23:49
The only time I buy digital (and I have on several occasions) is when the boxed copy comes with odious malware such as Starforce (X3, Space Rangers 2), or when it's not available in stores, or so obscure that I can't find it (Paradox's expansions to Victoria, HoI2, and EU3, Tarr Chronicles).
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