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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, 23:10
Originally Posted by Gallifrey View Post
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!
It's quite true that one shouldn't trust technology too much, especially the local/network backup hard drives (which I myself use to a fault). But what I can't understand is how that retail CD/DVD somehow were more trustworty. There are no guaranties about the lifetime of a disc, nor are there guaranties that the latest hardware/software are compatible with some old copy protection system.

Sure, there will always be 'fixes' for faulty copy protection schemes, but when it comes down to that I'm pretty sure there will be a fix for steam activation the moment valve declares the servers are going down for good (either by valve or by some third party (legal or not)). And as previously said, you can take local backups (and burn them to a CD/DVD if you like).

Lastly, about modding, I have my steam bought Deus Ex (unreal opengl engine update and high def textures) and Vampire: Bloodlines (unofficial patch) modded/patched, haven't had any problems (Steam updates will overwrite these, but you can tell steam not to auto update if you like). This of course is just steam and the games I have tried/moded/patched, ain't really familiar with other download thingies…

And for the record, I have long been a collector kinda guy meself, until the misc stuff, even manuals started to disappear from the packages, and after several hours of trying to get my freshly bought copy of some game to work, until finally having to use a fix (NWN2 and C&C3 comes to mind).

Still do prefer the boxed version if it acctually includes something other than a ten page manual and a disc, like a nice cloth map for example…

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October 4th, 2007, 01:01
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
Digital download for me. It's usually faster and cheaper than retail here in Australia…
Boxed for me for the exact opposite reasons . Here in Europe shipping is very fast and you will often get games before the street date when ordering from online retailers. I buy UK versions most of the time which are often cheaper than German versions and thus also a lot cheaper than digital downloads. To get uncensored versions of some games (like MoH: Aiborne) it is required even to order from the net (I bought that game from an Austrian retailer for example) since you can't find some games in German (online) stores at all.
I also like it with boxed copies that you can quickly install a game from the DVD if/when you feel like it. I do have a pretty fast Internet connection but even with a 6MBit line it will sometimes take hours to download a modern ~4GB+ game. That sucks when you have one of those "Must. Play. This. Game. Now." moments .

Steam is comparatively expensive and Steam has censorship so I only use it very rarely for buying games that are a) not censored, b) relatively cheap and c) hard to find in stores and d) English language versions.

Other download services are for me (as a German) completely unattractive or not even an option because the local download providers over here usually only sell localized German versions (no thanks) and international download services often don't accept German/Euro customers or offer games that will not work with the official retail patches which is unacceptable IMHO.

I have absolutely nothing against DD but the things I mentioned (especially price and censorship or adult verification) need to be addressed before I would consider using it more.
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October 4th, 2007, 06:37
Never downloaded any games other than demos. I'm totally a box person. I throw away the box mind you, but I can't stand online manuals - you can't read an online manual when you are sitting on…. um…. a certain place…

..& so they take the fiction all out of the Jabberwock & I recognize & accept him as a fact. - Mark Twain, May 30, 1880
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October 4th, 2007, 11:56
I like boxes better, but find myself using downloads more and more, because it is so easy and convenient. But I miss the printed manuals, etc., so I will probably keep buying at least some games boxed.
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October 4th, 2007, 17:01
I vote boxed. How could download possibly be faster unless you live in the boondocks? Nowadays game sizes are in the 1-4 GB (or more) range. That takes a long long time to download, even with a very fast connection. I live in a relatively small place and I could find almost any game that I want at Best Buy or Wal-Mart and be home in less than 45 minutes. And then once you have the boxed copy, you can just re-install it instead of having to wait to download it again. I just re-installed Half-Life 2: Episode 1 in less 10 minutes last night. It would have probably taken me hours to download it. Not to mention, downloaded games always have some kind of bullshit digital rights management associated with them that boxed copies don't have. Add on top of that, most of the prices on Steam are a ripoff.
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October 4th, 2007, 17:09
while i will always prefer box i do utilize the download version for the rare stuff and i have to agree the biggest joke for most downloads are they are actually more expensive. steam is for rich people i guess. totalgaming though is nice as they care more indie games, many of which just aren't available otherwise. unless you've already played many of the games the 70 dollars is worth the approximate 5 games you get since very few games are over 2 tokens.
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October 4th, 2007, 17:21
Originally Posted by Luma View Post
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.
I'm not missing the point. I just don't see it how you do. I have many many many boxed retail games that require online activation, so your point is null and void.

Without the activation point, my system is far superior. Most people are under the impression that having a CD means they have a backup. Sorry, but if it's the original CD and not a duplicate, it's *not* a backup. Sure it's not going to get deleted, but it can still burn and be stolen.

It all comes down to personal taste whether you want boxed or digital distribution. But once the infrastructure is there, the convenience, maintainability and security of digital distribution is going to make the physical media disappear completely. Physical media is a dieing breed, and people will need to either accept it eventually, or just grumble about how all the young whipersnappers ruined everything by going digital distribution only.

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October 4th, 2007, 18:51
Originally Posted by Chekote View Post
Physical media is a dieing breed, and people will need to either accept it eventually, or just grumble about how all the young whipersnappers ruined everything by going digital distribution only.
That's exactly what I will do

If digital distribution is going to replace physical media… the makers of consoles and console games better get on it, because at this point probably over 90% of every console game made/sold/played is only availabe as physical media. As long as they're offering it for consoles, it will be offered for PC games. The push for digital distribution of console games is minimal at best right now. So we are years away from physical media dying, or even losing its dominance as the primary form of distribution.

And when (and if) it does I will just sit back and play all the games that I have in boxes, because I'm not going to pay for something that I can't hold in my hand. You're right… I'm an old fart who is resisting change… but like you said, it all comes down to personal taste.

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October 4th, 2007, 18:58
Amen! Preach on Brother Narpet!

..& so they take the fiction all out of the Jabberwock & I recognize & accept him as a fact. - Mark Twain, May 30, 1880
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October 4th, 2007, 19:38
Yes you're absolutely correct. But like I said in my post a few pages back, my predictions are based on a 10 year time frame at least.

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October 4th, 2007, 19:56
if played across all gaming genres and bioshock was the first game i had to activate online. if of course you are referring to multiplayer games then that is about as ridiculous as saying you have a car with wheels.

also saying physical media while die shows the pea size wisdom that is synnomous with youth. even though people are reading less books than ever before its not because the physical book has been replaced, but rather that society is geared more toward instant gratification. a lack of an object losses the one crucial step that connects the consumer to the objects creator. for cds, or records for that matter, holding the insert with lyrics, graphics, and often a story on the first listen (OF THE ENTIRE ALBUM) can never be matched by anything that can be downloaded. sure you can have cool flash stuff, etc. but that is surely less available to the smaller bands and still wouldn't have the magic of sitting in a chair, lying on your bed. even if physical media becomes less important to the average joebob, that will just make it all the more special.
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October 4th, 2007, 20:00
i wonder where Professor Roqua is, he likes talking about this one
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October 4th, 2007, 20:01
I never realized cardboard could cause such a debate…
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October 4th, 2007, 20:35
Originally Posted by Chekote View Post
Yes you're absolutely correct. But like I said in my post a few pages back, my predictions are based on a 10 year time frame at least.
Sorry… I missed that.

However, even though the rate at which technology changes is fairly rapid, the rate at which new consumer technologies is completely and universally accepted is very slow. You can look at any type of media storing technology that has existed in the last 100 years.

Examples:
1. When audio Compact Discs were released to the general public in (somewhere around) the early 1980s everyone said that vinyl records would be gone within a very short period of time, and that cassette tapes would shortly follow the demise of vinyl. But that's not what happened. It took many years before vinyl was no longer produced, and it took a very long time (way more than 10 years) before cassette tapes became a thing of the past. And now, vinyl is making a small, renaissance-like come back.

2. When DVD (video) became readily available to the public it was believed that video tape (VHS) would become obsolete within a short time, but that was not the case. Here we are over 12 years past the time when DVD was introduced and many movies are still available on video cassette. The publics unwillingness to completely give up on VHS is evident by the fact that you can so easily purchase a DVD/VHS combo player/recorder for your home.

<<EDIT>> I looked up info for clarification and I was wrong about the DVD timeline… it's been almost exactly 10 years (not 12) since DVD was introduced to America (not sure about globally). But VHS is not quite dead yet, even though it is on its way out <<END EDIT>>

Gamers… especially console gamers… are still very ingrained in and fond of "the purchase". By that I mean that it is part of the gaming pleasure to go to the local EB Games and pick up your pre-ordered copy of Halo 37. PC gamers aren't quite so stuck in that way of life since there is so little shelf space alloted to PC games in most stores, but we still like to order our games online and get excited when the box gets here.

It's part of retaining a bit of your childhood. Let's face it… when we buy a new game, we're getting a new 'toy', and we can't wait to look at it, open it, read about it, and play with it. A big part of that joy… the visual and tactile sensations… will be gone if digital distribution ever becomes the only way to purchase a game.

It's almost a sociological study in a way. None of us know when or if it will happen. It could be (like your estimation) in 10 years… or it could very well take 20 or 30 years before physical distribution is completely gone.

I personally don't believe it will happen in my lifetime, assuming that I will live to be a ripe old age (I'm 40 now).

Just my thoughts.

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Last edited by narpet; October 4th, 2007 at 20:43.
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October 5th, 2007, 09:03
I dont mind downloads, but I positively hate anything that requires internet activation (or worse, validation every x times you play the game) for offline play. I want to be able to go completely offline with my computer, and there are times when I spend weeks at a place without proper internet access. And of course there is the whole issue of the company disappearing.

Maybe we will have to accept that we just buy the right to use the software for an unspecified period of time, rather than buy the software - period. This offends me as a consumer but in reality it is what the industry is moving towards.
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October 5th, 2007, 10:07
Originally Posted by curiously undead View Post
…also saying physical media while die shows the pea size wisdom that is synnomous with youth.
Originally Posted by narpet View Post
Gamers… especially console gamers… are still very ingrained in and fond of "the purchase". By that I mean that it is part of the gaming pleasure to go to the local EB Games and pick up your pre-ordered copy of Halo 37.

[…]

I personally don't believe it will happen in my lifetime, assuming that I will live to be a ripe old age (I'm 40 now).

Just my thoughts.
I think you both underestimate both the changing market and Gen Y consumers. Of course some forms of physical media will never "die" depending on your definition, but physical digital media will be relegated to obscure niche markets in due course. Will it take 10+ years? Probably. But it will happen.

You won't buy anything you can't hold in your hand? Gen Y doesn't care. They're buying $5 ring tones and DRM limited music for their mobile phones faster than the servers can get the stuff up. I'll bet a lot of people here have cable and, of course, everyone has internet access. Don't laugh it off as different - again, Gen Y doesn't make that distinction.

Console gamers are ingrained to buy the media? Honestly, that's fast getting old as they rush to buy screenshots and wallpapers on Xbox Live.

Have you ever noticed that consoles are proprietary platforms? Do you think Microsoft might have considered that Xbox Live can eventually replace every retailer, keeping the entire margin for themselves? If they just wanted connectivity, they would have just provided internet access.

Not all these things are good, by the way, but that's where the market is heading.

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October 5th, 2007, 10:09
Originally Posted by Zaleukos View Post
Maybe we will have to accept that we just buy the right to use the software for an unspecified period of time, rather than buy the software - period. This offends me as a consumer but in reality it is what the industry is moving towards.
You never did buy the software - just a license to use it. Just read any EULA. I'm not saying I've ever liked that but its always been that way.

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October 5th, 2007, 11:07
Originally Posted by Dhruin View Post
You never did buy the software - just a license to use it. Just read any EULA. I'm not saying I've ever liked that but its always been that way.
For boxed software, this is actually different from country to country (and whether a EULA actually stands the test of a court trial in any given country is a whole different can of worms I would guess ) .
In Germany, for example, courts have repeatedly ruled that you do in fact buy the software and not just a licence to use it. The view of our jurisdiction is pretty simple really. You receive a box and a CD. These are physical objects. This makes the purchase a purchase of a physical "mobile thing" (our law distinguishes between mobilia = movable things and immobilia = immobile things). Since you actually buy a "thing", you acquire full ownership of the "thing". Period. Any wannabe "let's try to restrict the rights of the owner by establishing that he just bought a licence" EULA crap will not get very far in a German court .
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October 5th, 2007, 11:47
Fair enough. Would you agree a large chunk of readers are using software under license, even if they never think of it that way?

(And until a court sees otherwise)

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October 5th, 2007, 12:13
Originally Posted by Chekote View Post
Without the activation point, my system is far superior. Most people are under the impression that having a CD means they have a backup. Sorry, but if it's the original CD and not a duplicate, it's *not* a backup. Sure it's not going to get deleted, but it can still burn and be stolen.
This point is correct. The game CD is the original. You need to make a backup if you want one, for example an ISO image on your HDD. Itīs not always possible though.

It all comes down to personal taste whether you want boxed or digital distribution. But once the infrastructure is there, the convenience, maintainability and security of digital distribution is going to make the physical media disappear completely. Physical media is a dieing breed, and people will need to either accept it eventually, or just grumble about how all the young whipersnappers ruined everything by going digital distribution only.
Your conclusion (italics) is based upon a wrong assumption (marked in big font) and thus very unlikely, or too focused on urban areas in industrialized countries.
Large parts of important gaming markets have an ETA for broadband internet of "not in the foreseeable future". As long as ca. 50% of the land area in industrialized countries is without broadband there is a significant demand for retail product. The situation is even worse in poorer countries where DSL is expensive relative to the average income.
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