NPD: Digital Downloads Encompass Nearly Half of PC Game Sales

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aCi11i3s

My only complaint with Steam is that you can't control what harddrive each game goes to.  It all downloads to the Steam file, which of course is on my main drive Program file 86x.  oh well...still very happy with Steam, I guess I just need a bigger main hard drive.

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cal70d

It's easy.  Just follow the instructions here:

https://support.steampowered.com/kb_article.php?ref=7418-YUBN-8129

You won't believe how easy it is.

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someuid

I've given physical media the boot.  All games I buy now are digital downloads.  Why?

First, I don't have to waste any money or time driving to the store to get the game.  If I decide at 2am on Sunday I'd like that game, I buy it and download it and I'm done.  No lines.  No screaming kids.  No empty shelves.  No beeping scanners at the door because the checkout clerk didn't swipe the box good enough.

Second, Steam has it right in their EULA that if their service ever tanks, they will leave up a maintenance server that will unlock all your games.  Sweet.

Third, loading all my games after a reload of my OS takes forever with pyhsical media.  Steam has a tech document out, plain as day, that says "backup the steamapps folder and steam.exe - replace to new computer, run steam.exe and you're golden."  I reloaded my game machine the other week - nice fresh OS.  I replaced my 12 steam games in - waiit for it - 20 minutes.  The time it took to copy them from the external drive and install the steam client.  20 minutes and I was back up and running.  You can't beat that with physical media.

Fourth, I don't have anything to lose.  If a game disc is destroyed, you're screwed.  You have to go through the trouble of making a backup copy.  When I use steam, any game that is deleted, corrupted, hosed, whatever, can be re-downloaded for no charge.  That is awesome.  I don't have to do anything to protect my purchase.

For those of you screaming about not having high-speed - get over it.  Go find a place with free highspeed and bring your laptop.  Download the game, take it home, copy it to your game PC and walla - you have the game.  A bit of work?  Yeah, maybe so, but if you don't have high speed, chances are you don't have a well stocked video game store either so you're out one way or the other.

I urge you all to give physical media the boot once and for all.  You will love it.  Instant gratification, nothing to lose, easier reloads, game is easy to back up and will always be around.

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linkmaster6

Gonna have to play the stickler card here, NOT EVERYONE HAS HIGHSPEED

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Rocketpop

No impulsedriven.com, huh? That's too bad, I like Impulse. But I will admit they've been awfully slow lately. Their weekend deals used to be really good (I got Dawn of War: Dark Crusade for $3.99 and GalCiv 2 Ultimate Edition for $9.99), but lately they've been pretty tame, and often for games that no one cares about.

Any other Impulse users out there?

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JohnP

Bascially, we are buying a key, the media does not matter. If the download exists on my computer, I just burn a copy. Even better when an .iso download is offered.

 A good example is MS Technet (MUST BUY!). For the hundred of products offered and dozens of keys, most of the downloads are .iso files. best of both worlds.

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pcmaximus

of course the digital download numbers are up, it's getting harder to find physical boxed copies around town like before.

as a pc only gamer since the 5.25" disk days, i always prefer a boxed copy i could hold in my hands. the only times i ever bought download was two really old games from dos days which could not be found physically anymore and a 3 buck offer on mlb2k10, of which i already had a separate disc version.

i wish steam and others offering downloadable games had an option whereas you could choose a physical disk along with your digital version.  i know stardock impulse offers a download and disk of elemental war of magic for 50 bucks.

lastly, why are the powers that be making it so hard on pc gamers? i am an old school pc gamer that wants nothing else but to play games on my system of choice, a powerful pc.  i do not care for consoles, cellphones, portable games, social networking, etc.  i just like pc gaming and that's it. i'm sure alot of people feel the same, they just don't want to admit it. just keep the pc games coming, with a box option.

 

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iftegod

I'm sorry discs, I loved you for so long, but having to insert you in order to play is so 20th century. What else do you want from me, to enter programing code like I had to in order to play "Summer Olympics" on my Commodore 64? C'mon, lets let evolution run its course here. I'm not all that worried about losing my games because I can back up the downloaded games. Plus, the less I have to carry with my laptop is a definite plus, especially if I can carry all my games and music and media and not carry any discs is a definite plus at this point (as the Army sends me all over the world year after year). Having only to carry the laptop makes life so much easier when you live out of a duffel bag. Besides, when Steam runs its summer/winter sales, you can double/triple/quadrouple your collection for the cost of 2 or 3 new games! I know I did.

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That one guy

My last few games purchased have all been on Steam. Left 4 Dead, Left 4 Dead 2, Borderlands, Battlefield 2: Bad Company are all examples. All of these also have had four-pack deals that I took advantage of (Steam Calculator values my account at 333.78$).

The only game that I've bought for PC that hasn't been on Steam ever since I started using Steam has been Starcraft II which I've preordered the Collector's Edition of. Unfortunately Starcraft II isn't available on Steam.

Fortunately Blizzard offers digital download copies as well after registering the CD key and all that so I'll be able to download Starcraft II if I ever lose my discs.

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jgraves000

I've found a lot of good deals on direct2drive.com

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pentastar

I prefer physical.

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michaelh

I miss the days of good old analog downloads.

Physical media versus digital delivery, I'm slowly being won over to downloadable titles.  I still don't completely trust that my purchases will be available (or their DRM servers) in the years to come, but I'm spoiled by all the space I save and the ease of switching games without loading another disc.

I am surprised by GFW being at all popular.  Even after the standalone client was released it's the most irritating download service I've used.  A game being a Games for Windows title is a minus in my book, having GFW live requirements of any sort - more so.

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praetor_alpha

I miss my analog downloads too.

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michaelh

Ah, the whirr of the punch machine as it stamped notches in my cards from a game I'd downloaded over my 300 baud modem. Oh, wait, that still downloaded digitally.  Ones and zeros, right? MaxPC, et tu Brute? Why don't you just start referring to wallpapers as screensavers while you're at it?

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Jesterace

For console gaming I prefer physical media. For PC I almost prefer digital because it used to annoy the heck out of me to have to insert the game disc into the DVD just to run the game after it has been installed on my PC. But I guess that really isn't that different than requiring a disc to be inserted into a console. Though my recent PC gaming purchases were Battlefield Bad Company 2 and Dragon Age Origins and they both are digital purchases.

It's more convient to buy and download, vs driving to the store to buy a game. Now if my current rig ever implodes and I have to build a new one. Be interesting if the DRM will let me install it on a newer rig.

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Biceps

I prefer digital downloads for my games... I can never lose or scratch a disc, and the DRM solutions, while often still a little draconian for my tastes, tend to be less intrusive via services like Steam, than they are for physical media.  Of course some companies are still awful about this... cough, cough, here's looking at you Ubisoft.  Overall, with a broadband connection, D2D is just more convenient now.

For consoles, physical media has always been my first choice, and will most likely remain so for the forseeable future.  The ability to resell games and purchase used games is a huge factor.  Also, the fact that, on a per Gb basis, you are paying 5-10 times more for hard drive storage space on a console with overpriced hard drive add-ons, it is simply more cost effective to go with discs.

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