Why do people say PC is all-digital?

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#1 Posted by qx0d (333 posts) -

I've heard this a lot online... people say PC is all-digital.

How is it all digital, when Wal-Mart and Amazon sell physical PC games?

PC isn't all digital. Just because Steam is popular, doesn't mean Wal-Mart doesn't sell PC games anymore. Am I missing something? Why do people say PC is all-digital?

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#2 Posted by npiet1 (2316 posts) -

Because almost all sales are done digitally. Most people don't have disc drives of any sorts in their PC. Laptops don't come with them unless you look specifically for them. So that's why.

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#3 Posted by MonsieurX (39127 posts) -

Because even when you buy a physical copy, most of the time you get a digital key

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#4 Edited by xantufrog (11517 posts) -

Because it is.

Some cars have 3 wheels - but, effectively, "cars have 4 wheels"

A handful of games sold on disc, almost always with Steam (or Blizzard) keys, doesn't really change the narrative for anyone.

I'm rarely gifted physical PC games now (mostly because it's almost impossible to find a game you are asking for on physical format on PC), but the last few games my wife did give me were all really just Steam keys in a box.

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#5 Posted by pyro1245 (5061 posts) -

Discs are digital

And even if you buy a disc it's likely got incomplete data and will require you to install it via Steam, Uplay, Etc.

Even console games need updates to access all of the features these days.

Also a Blu-Ray at max speed (16x) is still only half of my internet speed.

So really what's the point of disc-based media if you have a decent internet connection?

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#6 Posted by neatfeatguy (4255 posts) -

@qx0d:

@qx0d said:

I've heard this a lot online... people say PC is all-digital.

How is it all digital, when Wal-Mart and Amazon sell physical PC games?

PC isn't all digital. Just because Steam is popular, doesn't mean Wal-Mart doesn't sell PC games anymore. Am I missing something? Why do people say PC is all-digital?

Rarely will you find a game that has an actual CD/DVD that houses the game files on the shelf anymore. Usually inside the box is a cardboard CD shaped cutout that has a game key printed on it. You then download the game from whatever location using the key to tie it to some sort of DRM service (Steam, Origin, Uplay, etc). Any other game that does have an actual CD/DVD, you still need some kind of DRM service to activate the game.

I consider a physical copy of a game, one that comes on CD/DVD and doesn't require a DRM service to play. I'd have to dig through the last 6-7 dozen physical games I have tucked away in a box to see what might be the most recent physical copy of a game I purchased that didn't require a DRM service to activate....probably something pre 2012.

I think Crysis 2 might be the most recent physical copy I have....I installed it some time ago to play and I don't recall being required to utilize Origin to run it.

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#7 Posted by Ezekiel43 (1610 posts) -

@pyro1245 said:

Also a Blu-Ray at max speed (16x) is still only half of my internet speed.

So really what's the point of disc-based media if you have a decent internet connection?

Ownership, the ability to trade, gift and sell, not having to trust an online account with 300 games to a stranger (Valve), installing during an internet outage, not using up monthly bandwidth caps on huge games. I've only ever used up my 1 TB cap once, but still. It sucks that PC players have given all this up because of Steam.

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#8 Posted by pyro1245 (5061 posts) -
@ezekiel43 said:
@pyro1245 said:

Also a Blu-Ray at max speed (16x) is still only half of my internet speed.

So really what's the point of disc-based media if you have a decent internet connection?

Ownership, the ability to trade, gift and sell, not having to trust an online account with 300 games to a stranger (Valve), installing during an internet outage, not using up monthly bandwidth caps on huge games. I've only ever used up my 1 TB cap once, but still. It sucks that PC players have given all this up because of Steam.

And I'm here wishing for a Game Pass style service so I don't have to worry about owning anything....

Also this only applies to me, but I have a cache server so everything downloaded via Steam (Uplay, etc) gets stored with a redundant backup forever. So at least I will always have access to my game data.

Even a physical copy isn't a 100% guarantee you will be able to play it in 10 years.....

Ownership is less defined than you would like it to be. At least I'm ready for the worst.

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#9 Posted by Grey_Eyed_Elf (6453 posts) -

Last game I bought in a store had a empty case with a download code on a paper disk inside... So yeah I'm more than certain all new games in store don't actually have the disk.

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#10 Posted by Grey_Eyed_Elf (6453 posts) -

Also the last two cases I have had don't have optical drive bays.

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#11 Edited by Ezekiel43 (1610 posts) -

@pyro1245 said:
@ezekiel43 said:
@pyro1245 said:

Also a Blu-Ray at max speed (16x) is still only half of my internet speed.

So really what's the point of disc-based media if you have a decent internet connection?

Ownership, the ability to trade, gift and sell, not having to trust an online account with 300 games to a stranger (Valve), installing during an internet outage, not using up monthly bandwidth caps on huge games. I've only ever used up my 1 TB cap once, but still. It sucks that PC players have given all this up because of Steam.

And I'm here wishing for a Game Pass style service so I don't have to worry about owning anything....

Also this only applies to me, but I have a cache server so everything downloaded via Steam (Uplay, etc) gets stored with a redundant backup forever. So at least I will always have access to my game data.

Even a physical copy isn't a 100% guarantee you will be able to play it in 10 years.....

Ownership is less defined than you would like it to be. At least I'm ready for the worst.

No, it isn't less defined. Newer Blu-rays have a really long life, looking at my previous thread asking if people's discs stopped working. I have more faith in their longevity than I have in an online account. I'm also able to rip almost all of my discs, if I do decide to make backups. I also have more freedom to do what I want with my disc, so I do have more ownership over it than someone with a key.

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#12 Edited by Yams1980 (3513 posts) -

I think people say most PC games are only offered digitally these days. I try to find physical copies when possible but its pretty slim pickings.

You guys shouldn't act so elite and be snubbing optical drives. M-Disc bluray discs have a 1000 year lifespan. I use them all the time, hard drives are alright but you gotta be careful not to let them sit too long or the data does weaken and you may not be able to read every sector on it.

I had this happen to a 60gb and a few 6gb hard drives from the late 90s and early 2000's i hadn't run up until just recently. One drive didn't even boot up properly, and the others files were almost all unreadable. One of the 6gb drives did actually read and had windows ME on it, but i didn't verify all the files so it could have some bad ones.... but the other 6gb was in bad shape with almost every impossible to copy.

SSD/Flash memory are just awful for backups, I hope nobody actually uses it for that, I had flash memory go bad often by just sitting for a couple years. I even heard SSD's can lose data after 10 years if they are not being used.

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#13 Edited by warmblur (2532 posts) -

Rockstar games is one of the only few left that still come with discs off the top of my head although they still have a launcher.

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#14 Posted by Bikouchu35 (8304 posts) -

@warmblur: I think that game killed my DVD drive.

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#15 Edited by urbangamez (3491 posts) -

its not analog. digital optical disc or digital versatile disc