Gaming has always been a collector’s hobby in my mind. Part of the experience is gathering memorabilia, systems, but above all, videogames. Is the digital format here to change how we collect and access videogames?
There’s just something about holding a case, pulling the disc out and inserting it into the console. And if you’re old school like me, blowing cartridges and seeing the first splash screen pop up successfully was already part of the sense of accomplishment that comes from playing a game.
As you can see, back in 2008 I had a fairly diverse albeit not entirely vast collection, covering all Nintendo systems from the NES through the Wii (including 2 SNESs, 2 N64s and 2 Wiis), Xbox 360, PS2, PSP, PC as well as 4 Nintendo DSis. Yeah, I was responsible for half of Nintendo’s market value back then.
Nowadays, most of my purchases are digital. The last physical game I ever bought was The Witcher 3, which I bought over a year ago and still haven’t played. What happened between 2008 and today has been a series of relocations (Spain – UK – Chile – USA) that made me realize I’d rather not have to deal with physical formats anymore.
Every move meant packing everything, stressing over whether everything would arrive at the other end, the condition everything would arrive in and then having to set everything up again. Now that I’m older, I’d like to minimize the stress of moving, while also being able to prioritize other things in such pivotal moments in life.
Another reason for me to gradually transition to digital has been the mere convenience of being able to carry my collection wherever I go. I remember back in the day I used to carry my Sony Discman with a massive case containing my complete heavy metal CD collection. But like with the iPod, I’ve now converted to the convenience of carrying my games with me in a single package, whether on the Switch, installed on my laptop, or on my consoles. Another advantage is that today, losing said packages has little impact, since you can always re-download your saves and games from the cloud.
I have to admit, I do miss having a shelf to look at and feel proud of, but the advantage of actually having a tidier house, which I now share with my wife, and the fact that I can access everything almost instantly, more than make up for it.
Now, the next debate will be whether to have games downloaded locally vs. streaming services. Even though the latter is still a ways away, I’ll still be covering it in a future post, because I suspect the next generation of consoles will bring about some big changes around how we consume videogames.
What are your thoughts on this? Do you still buy games in physical format? Are you already using streaming services like PS Now?
I've been a gamer since the SNES days and Donkey Kong Country was the first game I ever owned.
I currently work as a management consultant, and my console of choice is the Nintendo Switch, which I carry with me during my travels.