It used to be that buying a video game console meant having to put up with a lot of little inconveniences. First there was purchasing the disc itself. Thankfully, the PS4 and Xbox One freed games from bondage. Microsoft and Sony mostly nailed the digital buying experience. With all the things that the two companies have done to make digital games more palatable, a lot of users upgrading are asking themselves if now is the right time to get into buying games digitally. It’s absolutely the right time.
Because You’re Saving Yourself Gas
In an age when users can add tons of functionality to their Android, iPhone and Windows Phone with the push of a button; getting a new game means getting into your car and driving to a game retailer that keeps them behind locked glass.
That alone makes the process of buying a disc-based game absolutely inconvenient. If you head to a store like GameStop there are even more reasons to regret it. GameStop doesn’t just ask you if you have a Power Up Rewards card. Game advisers are also tasked with making sure that you don’t need any new accessories with your purchase and reminding you that GameStop buys and sells used electronics.
Used games are cheaper, but if it’s a relatively recent game users are only saving about $5 bucks on average, Not nearly enough to justify the horrifying experience.
With digital games on the Xbox One and PS4, getting the latest titles is a simple as a few button presses. Both Microsoft and Sony make games available on the same day as they arrive on store shelves. Since games take a bit to download, both also allow console owners to start playing when a certain percentage of the game has been downloaded.
Overtime the pricing gap spreads and used copies of games do become cheaper at retailers like GameStop, but it’s still not as convenient.
Because You Can Share Them With Friends
There’s nothing in gaming that is as honored as the sharing of a video game. Sharing games is important exercise in socializing. Sharing video games is the only way some people experience the latest titles. Seriously, its importance can’t be underestimated.
With the Xbox One Microsoft announced that in exchange for requiring users to be connected to the internet once a day, they’d be able to share games digitally with friends. This meant that users wouldn’t have needed to keep track of discs or worry about friends damaging their physical copy of Call of Duty. Unfortunately, Microsoft pulled the feature. Still, both the Xbox One and PS4 allow users to share their games in interesting ways digitally.
Whenever an Xbox One or PS4 user logs into a console, everyone on that console gets access to that user’s games. Users can play as long as they want on their account. The Xbox One takes this a little bit further by allowing users to set one console as their Home Console. From that point on anyone else can continue to play the digital games they’ve purchased.
No disc exchange, no unnecessary car rides and friends get access to every digital game you purchase as you purchase it. Best of all, your games are never in danger of being ruined. That’s definitely a win.
Because You Can Pre-Order on the PS4 Too
When the Xbox One and PS4 launched last year both consoles were neck and neck as far as digital game buying was concerned. Then, Sony added a pre-ordering system to the PS4 and everything changed. PS4 users can purchase digital video games ahead of their release. They can then have their console download the game before launch day so that they avoid the mass of people all trying to download the game at the same time. When release day arrives the digital download simply unlocks.
Sony simply nails the convenience factor here, solving the biggest problem digital game sales face today.
No one is arguing that digital game sales are going to eclipse physical disc sales anytime soon. They won’t. Internet service providers have introduced bandwidth requirements that could keep digital game sales from exploding. Microsoft and Sony also have yet to introduce some kind of system for lowering the price of digital games overtime. Even today, games that launched with both consoles still cost $59.99 digitally. By comparison, the same games have dropped to $49.99 and $54.99 at GameStop.
Still, all the pieces are in place, and digital video game downloads are more than just some pipe dream. Buying digital is how the world will get their video games. It’s already happening on smartphones and tablets and it’s only going to get more popular as these consoles mature and Microsoft and Sony add even more ways for users to take advantage of their digital library.