To The Bitter End
And there you have it. We have reached the end…of this little story. I would like to think Smashing Avatar would survive even this tumultuous scenario.
If you have a 3DS, New Super Mario Bros 2 is probably something to which you were looking forward. Its release on digital platform straight out of the gate leads to a growing question in video games, and entertainment in general. Is it worth spending 40 dollars on something you don’t physically own?
This is not the first time we’ve been forced to consider this question. Music and movies have both been available digitally for quite some time on a variety of services. Buying music on physical media is a ridiculous proposition for all except the ardent audiophiles. The libraries of the top services like iTunes are exhaustive, and the ability to buy a single song for 99 cents revolutionized the way we listen to music. Or at least it made legitimate the type of playlist building that was at first only possible through illegal file sharing or spending a crap ton of money on a massive CD collection.
Movies are not quite in the same position. Digital services are still lagging somewhat content-wise. Netflix’s streaming platform has a decent collection, but a lot is still missing. You can pay per movie on PlayStation Network or Xbox Live, but the price point is significantly higher than with music, and still quite a bit more than going to Redbox at the grocery store, or using Netflix’s mail-in service.
Now with video games, we have an entirely different story. The price of a single game is much higher than any movie or song. Dropping 40 or 60 dollars on something you can’t hold in your hands is harder to justify. You can’t resell it to pay for other new games, and it doesn’t look pretty on your shelf with the rest of your game collection.
There is a major upside though, particularly on a portable system like the 3DS. The ability to carry a large collection of games without lugging around the physical cartridges. It is especially useful for an adult who carries a wallet, and not a giant backpack. Even on home consoles, the ability to choose a game without having to take it off the shelf and put it in the disc drive is a big deal.
The money from said digital purchase also goes directly to the video game company, cutting out shipping costs, retailers, and the used game market. Increased digital sales should eventually result in lower costs for game companies, and correspondingly lower retail prices on digital games.
As I see it, digital games are the future. It may take a while longer to catch up with the music, I believe that eventually buying a game on Blu Ray or DvD will be as outdated as buying an album on CD.