Do you prefer digital or physical games? Rank PC, Xbox, PlayStation and Switch digital marketplaces from best to worst.

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arkephonic

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#1  Edited By arkephonic
Member since 2006 • 7014 Posts

I used to be a game collector so I preferred physical games. I sold off my collection, don't really care about collecting anymore and recently started buying digital games. The reality of the situation is that physical media is becoming more and more archaic each passing year and will eventually be phased out completely as internet and hard drives improve. Just look at PC who leads the way.

When you actually think about it, the disc, the disc drive, all the moving parts, the delicate fragility of it all (don't get dust on the lens!), it's all kinda silly and I wanna move away from it. It's just an added element of potential failure, just another set of moving parts. A system with an SSD and no disc drive is the way to go for reliability.

Besides, the only reason these companies even still have physical media is because of the backlash they received when they entertained the idea of going all digital. The backlash is probably because lots of people still have slow internet or internet data caps, or maybe people just like the feeling of owning a physical game they can touch. Also, reselling games, letting friends and family borrow games, trading games etc.

But, the actual purpose and use of a disc here in 2021 is so minimal. All it really does is take half the load off the mandatory download you need to do anyways with any new game. After that, you're literally just putting the disc in so the console can confirm your game license, the system isn't reading anything on the disc at that point.

I think going forward, I'll probably still get physical sometimes if the deals are better, but I'm gonna go with digital. It's also much more convenient to have your library a touch of a button away, without the need to change discs.

Ranked marketplaces:

1. PC obviously

2. PlayStation/Xbox tie

3. My microwave

4. Switch

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briguyb13

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#2 briguyb13
Member since 2007 • 5656 Posts

I've gone digital with both Xbox and Playstation, but I still prefer cartridges for Switch.

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uninspiredcup

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#3  Edited By uninspiredcup
Member since 2013 • 44165 Posts

If it was old brick boxed PC games, with big phat books to go with it, them for sure.

But typically it's just a boring, cheap looking clam box now. so, eh. Take the convenience of Steam.

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lamprey263

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#4  Edited By lamprey263
Member since 2006 • 38295 Posts

Xbox simply for superior rights retention, for consoles. Pc takes the cake there, and digital distributors doing great job keeping games running on modern hardware. So many of my old physical PC games I just abandoned when I couldn't get them to work anymore.

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hardwenzen

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#5 hardwenzen
Member since 2005 • 6845 Posts

Physical all the way and forever.

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Howmakewood

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#6 Howmakewood
Member since 2015 • 6552 Posts

Only buy digital on sale because **** paying 10€ more for a digital vs physical and sony wanted to make browsing deals very hard for the ps5 store for no reason...

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arkephonic

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#7  Edited By arkephonic
Member since 2006 • 7014 Posts

@briguyb13 said:

I've gone digital with both Xbox and Playstation, but I still prefer cartridges for Switch.

I'm curious why you prefer cartridges for Switch? I always found changing cartridges on the Switch to be annoying and inconvenient. I always kinda envied my friend who had a Switch with a 512gb micro SD card full of games.

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briguyb13

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#8 briguyb13
Member since 2007 • 5656 Posts

@arkephonic said:
@briguyb13 said:

I've gone digital with both Xbox and Playstation, but I still prefer cartridges for Switch.

I'm curious why you prefer cartridges for Switch? I always found changing cartridges on the Switch to be annoying and inconvenient. I always kinda envied my friend who had a Switch with a 512gb micro SD card full of games.

Because I also have a Switch Lite, and a secondary system requires internet authority to activate digital games. My Switch Lite is for on the go to places that generally don't have internet access.

I also have 400 GB mini sd cards in both, and despite using mostly physical cartridges, I only have about 120 GB left on my original Switch. I've always liked cartridges and have never cared much about discs, they seem so fragile.

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Eoten

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#9 Eoten
Member since 2020 • 2886 Posts

All digital. I cannot be bothered to keep track of, store, and maintain physical media. Digital is just way too convenient.

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arkephonic

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#10 arkephonic
Member since 2006 • 7014 Posts

@briguyb13 said:
@arkephonic said:
@briguyb13 said:

I've gone digital with both Xbox and Playstation, but I still prefer cartridges for Switch.

I'm curious why you prefer cartridges for Switch? I always found changing cartridges on the Switch to be annoying and inconvenient. I always kinda envied my friend who had a Switch with a 512gb micro SD card full of games.

Because I also have a Switch Lite, and a secondary system requires internet authority to activate digital games. My Switch Lite is for on the go to places that generally don't have internet access.

I also have 400 GB mini sd cards in both, and despite using mostly physical cartridges, I only have about 120 GB left on my original Switch. I've always liked cartridges and have never cared much about discs, they seem so fragile.

Damn, do you have a lot of games?

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briguyb13

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#11 briguyb13
Member since 2007 • 5656 Posts

@arkephonic said:
@briguyb13 said:
@arkephonic said:
@briguyb13 said:

I've gone digital with both Xbox and Playstation, but I still prefer cartridges for Switch.

I'm curious why you prefer cartridges for Switch? I always found changing cartridges on the Switch to be annoying and inconvenient. I always kinda envied my friend who had a Switch with a 512gb micro SD card full of games.

Because I also have a Switch Lite, and a secondary system requires internet authority to activate digital games. My Switch Lite is for on the go to places that generally don't have internet access.

I also have 400 GB mini sd cards in both, and despite using mostly physical cartridges, I only have about 120 GB left on my original Switch. I've always liked cartridges and have never cared much about discs, they seem so fragile.

Damn, do you have a lot of games?

Not really, like 40 physical games and a bunch of digital indies, and a few digital aaa titles.

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Pedro

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#12 Pedro
Member since 2002 • 46994 Posts

Physical games....

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SheevPalpamemes

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#13 SheevPalpamemes  Online
Member since 2020 • 834 Posts

@Pedro: you mean renting games.

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NathanDrakeSwag

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#14 NathanDrakeSwag
Member since 2013 • 14690 Posts

Physical. That's my biggest disappointment about PC is having to go all digital. There's just something nostalgic and comforting about unboxing a new game.

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lundy86_4

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#15 lundy86_4
Member since 2003 • 57971 Posts

Digital on PC, and I prefer hard copies for consoles. As for marketplaces, i'd go PC in first, Xbox/PS in second, and Ninty in third.

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GirlUSoCrazy

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#16  Edited By GirlUSoCrazy
Member since 2015 • 11389 Posts

I prefer physical. It's a lot faster to install a disc than download a game. I can use it on any console and any user account. I can sell it, if I ever wanted to.

I like GOG because of no DRM. Next Steam, the cross OS support is great and good controller/community support. Next is PS, I find it easy to find games and there are lots of sales. Next is Xbox. Switch is dead last, full of junk and restrictive permissions.

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SOedipus

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#17 SOedipus
Member since 2006 • 13058 Posts

Digital. I do worry, just a little, about what-ifs, like if a client/company goes under and closes shop, if an account gets hacked (which people have tried), or something like that. But I like less shit around the house. I find download/install speeds faster than installing from disc. Although I haven’t had a disc drive in a pc for about a decade. Not sure how much better they are now. The last game I did purchase for in disc format ended up downloading the game anyway....lol. Overall find digital more convenient. PC first then PSN. Haven’t used Xbox marketplace since 360 and don’t have a Switch.

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ConanTheStoner

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#18 ConanTheStoner
Member since 2011 • 20420 Posts

Yeah, digital. Like grabbing a game on a whim, having my entire library a click away, being able to access my games on any PC, share my library with a friend, etc.

Just so convenient. Last night was chatting games with the bros, they're talking about the GG Strive beta, ten minutes later I'm playing it too.

Physical had a certain allure, but that's largely gone for me. Cool box art, stacked manuals and extras, the full game on disc... all either a thing of the past, or locked behind special/collectors editions.

-

Don't really use the console marketplaces enough to rank them.

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I_P_Daily

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#19 I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 21386 Posts

I've said it before and i'll say it again.

I like my games like i like my woman, and that's physical.

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brimmul777

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#20 brimmul777
Member since 2011 • 4781 Posts

Digital

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M8ingSeezun

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#21 M8ingSeezun
Member since 2007 • 2254 Posts

A little both.

I've preferred physical games for most of my gaming history. However, these last 2 years, I've been going digital for the most part mainly because of sales on the PS Store. So much convenient and minimalist. I don't go impulse buying crazy, I just buy games that I want to play. I still buy physical if I see a game on sale, that I want to play.

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SolidGame_basic

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#22 SolidGame_basic
Member since 2003 • 29907 Posts

I buy both but tend to prefer physical. I like to be able to sell games I no longer want to play.

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warmblur

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#23 warmblur
Member since 2017 • 6854 Posts

Physical for consoles always and digital for PC.

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#24  Edited By madrocketeer  Online
Member since 2005 • 8242 Posts

Digital. Buy games in seconds, one-click install, no plastic boxes taking up space in my house.

I like GOG the best, because I can skip the launcher, and they offer DRM-free installers I can keep for archiving. Steam is alright, even if they clutter their shit too much. Ubisoft Connect is tolerable. Origin is barebones and annoying. Battle.net is my least favourite, because it likes to declare sovereign states on my screen space for useless junk, and doing certain stuff like using its 2FA is irritatingly complicated. Haven't used enough of EGS to form an opinion.

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SargentD

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#25 SargentD
Member since 2020 • 279 Posts

Prefer Physical.

as far as digital marketplace they are all the same to me

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Eoten

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#26 Eoten
Member since 2020 • 2886 Posts

@SolidGame_basic said:

I buy both but tend to prefer physical. I like to be able to sell games I no longer want to play.

I've never been so broke I had to sell games for a fraction of what I paid for them. I also tend to have a pretty good sense of what will be crap and don't really buy much that I do not enjoy playing.

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I_P_Daily

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#27 I_P_Daily
Member since 2015 • 21386 Posts

@eoten: Geez one minute you're saying console gaming is more expensive than PC, and the next minute you say we're broke, so if we're broke how did we buys these expensive consoles to begin with?

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#28 DrSerigala
Member since 2018 • 191 Posts

Sold my physical games and consoles few years back and cannot more happy than that. I am free of burden that must maintenance and cleaning physical games and console, no need to provide room for piles of boxes and plastic. Digital is all the way to go from now on

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ocinom

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#29 ocinom
Member since 2008 • 1219 Posts

Buying digital games only on consoles from companies that are notorious of anti-backwards compatibility is a waste of money. So, Nintendo and Sony.

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Bluestars

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#30 Bluestars
Member since 2019 • 2338 Posts

physical

buy..complete...sell.....repeat

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lebanese_boy

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#31 lebanese_boy
Member since 2003 • 16038 Posts

I've been into the idea of digital-only for at least a couple of gens, I loved the concept of having all of your games in one place without having to switch discs/cartridges before it was actually possible to do so.

Apart from PC this technically started for me with the DS and PSP through alternative means (that was after I bought my games). I don't know why but I just preferred it that way and wanted to go this route in the future. I had a couple of digital games on WiiU (mostly free) but since it had very low storage and I didn't feel like expanding it I never truly went digital. Also the console had very few games I wanted and died quickly.

3DS is when I mostly went digital (I have only like 4 cartridges) and again, loved it. With the Switch I finally decided that I was going full digital and I did. So far, so good. My only exception is Switch Ring Fit Adventures and that's because it's only available in physical.

I can understand why people argue that physical is preferable but I never saw it that way, especially with the argument that digital is temporary and physical is forever. The truth is that nothing lasts forever, even physical media will fail eventually. I think it also has to do with how I view games and life. Basically video games are just entertainment that can be replaced with anything else. I f I lost a game, so be it. I can either get another one or do something else with my time.

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YearoftheSnake5

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#32 YearoftheSnake5
Member since 2005 • 9470 Posts

I prefer digital these days with a few exceptions. There are some games that I'd just like to have on the shelf. Ones that I'm particularly excited for. Metroid Prime 4 and BotW2 will likely be among those. Not sure if that makes any sense. Otherwise, I'm all digital these days unless I'm getting the game as a gift for my son. I think it's more exciting for him to open a boxed game rather than get a card with a code.

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IgGy621985

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#33 IgGy621985
Member since 2004 • 5883 Posts

Digital games. I only buy physical collector's editions, but I'm very picky about those.

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SolidGame_basic

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#34 SolidGame_basic
Member since 2003 • 29907 Posts

@eoten said:
@SolidGame_basic said:

I buy both but tend to prefer physical. I like to be able to sell games I no longer want to play.

I've never been so broke I had to sell games for a fraction of what I paid for them. I also tend to have a pretty good sense of what will be crap and don't really buy much that I do not enjoy playing.

It's not about being broke, it's about not having a desire to play the games anymore, so I might as well sell them. If you're worried about losing a lot of money on it, just wait for a sale. Simple!

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xantufrog

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#35 xantufrog  Moderator
Member since 2013 • 15214 Posts

These days, unless it's a collectable somehow, just give me digital.

GoG

Steam

PS

Switch

MS store

EGS

Origin

Uplay

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SecretPolice

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#36 SecretPolice  Online
Member since 2007 • 37701 Posts

GamePass. Nuff said. :P

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navyguy21

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#37 navyguy21
Member since 2003 • 15825 Posts

I went digital only on PC ever since Steam hit it's stride in about 2005.

Consoles I still buy physical because console digital prices are ridiculous.

Ranking online stores:

1. PC, of course

2. Xbox

3. Playstation

4. My neighbors weekly booth selling handmade trinkets

5. Switch

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SecretPolice

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#38 SecretPolice  Online
Member since 2007 • 37701 Posts

@navyguy21:

"4. My neighbors weekly booth selling handmade trinkets

5. Switch"

----

lol ;)

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ProtossRushX

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#39 ProtossRushX
Member since 2007 • 8848 Posts

I'm all digital on everything now but who has the best stores?

I think Steam wins easily with all the info they provide top 100000 on best sellers or whatever you wanna know forums and all that for games and user ratings and reviews its not even close at all others are billions miles behind steam digitally.

Next you got the consoles are equally terrible I guess switch seemed a little better its got top 20 rankings wishlists an stuff I don't use xbox store at all and haven't used to PSN store in awhile so dunno how they compete anymore really.

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pyro1245

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#40 pyro1245
Member since 2003 • 7271 Posts

I prefer digital across the board.

  1. PC - Not only is it really easy to buy and download a game, but it's also easy to back up data and keep your piece of mind when it comes to uncertainty in the future.
  2. PS5 - I am so happy to say downloading games on the PS5 isn't complete garbage like it was on the PS4. Thanks SSDs, glad you made it.
  3. Switch - Still absolute garbage. Wifi is trash. Downloads are slow. Store is fine I guess.

I haven't used a next-gen Xbox yet. The Xbox app for PC works well enough (it used to suck, but it's okay now). Having Game Pass does make it really easy to get up and running with a game and the download speeds are acceptable.

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sheep99

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#41 sheep99
Member since 2020 • 505 Posts

The problem with digital games is it will get overcrowded

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navyguy21

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#42 navyguy21
Member since 2003 • 15825 Posts

@SecretPolice said:

@navyguy21:

"4. My neighbors weekly booth selling handmade trinkets

5. Switch"

----

lol ;)

I had to lol.

Nintendo makes (when they actually make games and not port old games to the newest system) amazing games but their online infrastructure and marketplace is always a several generations behind.

They need to outsource development for Switch 2 or just buy a online startup or something.

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briguyb13

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#43 briguyb13
Member since 2007 • 5656 Posts

@SolidGame_basic said:
@eoten said:
@SolidGame_basic said:

I buy both but tend to prefer physical. I like to be able to sell games I no longer want to play.

I've never been so broke I had to sell games for a fraction of what I paid for them. I also tend to have a pretty good sense of what will be crap and don't really buy much that I do not enjoy playing.

It's not about being broke, it's about not having a desire to play the games anymore, so I might as well sell them. If you're worried about losing a lot of money on it, just wait for a sale. Simple!

I notice you buy some special editions of games from time to time, I hope you don't trade those things in to lamestop.

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#44 ConanTheStoner
Member since 2011 • 20420 Posts
@SolidGame_basic said:
@eoten said:

I've never been so broke I had to sell games for a fraction of what I paid for them. I also tend to have a pretty good sense of what will be crap and don't really buy much that I do not enjoy playing.

It's not about being broke, it's about not having a desire to play the games anymore, so I might as well sell them. If you're worried about losing a lot of money on it, just wait for a sale. Simple!

Yeah it's a lame argument. I'll admit, don't even bother with resale or trade in for the few physical games I have, doesn't seem worth my time. But having that option is definitely an advantage.

If I could comb through my Steam library, mass select the games I know I won't be playing, and put them up on a digital marketplace for a suggested price? Of course I'd do that shit, why not?

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SolidGame_basic

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#45  Edited By SolidGame_basic
Member since 2003 • 29907 Posts

@ConanTheStoner said:
@SolidGame_basic said:
@eoten said:

I've never been so broke I had to sell games for a fraction of what I paid for them. I also tend to have a pretty good sense of what will be crap and don't really buy much that I do not enjoy playing.

It's not about being broke, it's about not having a desire to play the games anymore, so I might as well sell them. If you're worried about losing a lot of money on it, just wait for a sale. Simple!

Yeah it's a lame argument. I'll admit, don't even bother with resale or trade in for the few physical games I have, doesn't seem worth my time. But having that option is definitely an advantage.

If I could comb through my Steam library, mass select the games I know I won't be playing, and put them up on a digital marketplace for a suggested price? Of course I'd do that shit, why not?

I actually just traded in a bunch of games. I usually sell them myself, but with Gamestop, I got a bonus for being a Pro member, which is cheap in itself ($15 a year plus you get a monthly $5 certificate every month and a free subscription to Game Informer) I got at least $30 each for a bunch of Switch games, and for the PS4 games I traded in, I came very close if not a little over what I paid for lol. Altogether I got about $300! I'm also selling a couple of rare games online through eBay. In some cases I actually make money lol. I had the Special Edition of Fire Emblem Fates which I bought for like $60 back in 2015, and sold it for $200 this past summer!

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VFighter

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#46 VFighter
Member since 2016 • 8128 Posts

Physical 99% of the time. I'll only buy digital if that's the only way to buy the game or if it's some INSANE deal that I don't think the physical release will ever see.

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SecretPolice

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#47 SecretPolice  Online
Member since 2007 • 37701 Posts

@navyguy21 said:
@SecretPolice said:

@navyguy21:

"4. My neighbors weekly booth selling handmade trinkets

5. Switch"

----

lol ;)

I had to lol.

Nintendo makes (when they actually make games and not port old games to the newest system) amazing games but their online infrastructure and marketplace is always a several generations behind.

They need to outsource development for Switch 2 or just buy a online startup or something.

They should just go GamePass. Man, now that would be something to write home about. :D

Eh, one can dream I suppose. :P