Download Only Games? Yay or nay?

Today someone brought this game to my attention:

Now, being of the Cold War loving ilk it sounds right up my street. However there appears to be a problem, as far as I can see the title is available by download only.

I have a fairly strict download limit on my account (10GB per month), as I usually only use the internet for browsing websites this is usually more than sufficient, however it may cause problems if I try to download a multi-gigabyte title like the above.

Personally I prefer to have a physical copy on an item in my hand but thats not an insurmountable problem. However as interesting as the above game looks unless they start burning copies to disk and selling them they will have lost at least one potential sale.

So, download only games, yay or nay?

Like it or not it’s certainly where everything’s headed, and not just games, I believe the latest Mac OS version (Lion) is download only.


Of course, I have no download limits, and tend to treat the kind of games I download as being mostly disposable anyway. And I like the fact that the kind of games I download generally let me download a free trial, which lets me check whether it will in fact play nice with my decrepit laptop.

At present, I mostly buy my games from BigFishGames, and I got them from Shockwave or Pogo before that–so I don’t know that the kind of games I play are the sort you’d be interested in. I’m a pretty casual gamer, as such things go.

And zombywoof is right–everything’s headed in the direction of downloadable content, which is great sometimes, and frustrating other times. Especially when deciding whether the effort of creating a new identity just to get at free member only content, or wishing there was a way to take a closer look at something before you pay the fee, so it feels like less of a crapshoot.

Aside from games, the main thing I download is knitting patterns. Which makes me weird, or at least a knitter.

Recent Penny Arcade strip.

Back when games came with interesting well done manuals and lots of goodies in the box i would have agreed with you, but now getting a physical copy is simply a waste of space and resources. That said a 10gig cap is a pretty serious roadblock to digital download gaming.

Yeah, for several years now, if a game even bothers to have a manual, you can expect it to be a PDF on the disc anyway. You’re not losing anything by getting a download version, and it’s the way everything’s going, especially niche games like the one mentioned in this thread. Publishers & retail just take too large of a chunk out of income for it to be worth it to small-scale developers.

As for the game itself, I was favorably impressed by Wargame. It’s real-time, but the pace of it is deliberate rather than frenzied, and it focuses much more on planning ahead than on micromanaging combat. I like it a lot more than its predecessor RUSE.

Yeah, I can see I’m fighting a losing battle on this one! :slight_smile:

I’ll wait until my usage account rolls over and download it at the start of next month because it does look really interesting.

Thanks everyone

I love download games. I think I made a thread about it somewhere…

anywho, I like them because I hate having to keep a disk around. And if it’s one of those annoying companies that make you put in a code to install the game, should you ever lose the code you’re SoL.

ETA: This game sounds really fun.

But if you ever have to reformat, and somehow can’t reconnect to the d/l server (either because they disappear or you lose your connection), you are also SoL. That’s why everything I d/l gets copied to a DVD anyway.

I think the only PC game I’ve bought on physical media in the last two years was the kickstarter project for Wasteland II - and that was specifically because the tier I bought into gave you a cloth map along with the printed manual and DVD. Otherwise, everything’s download these days.

This. Also, if you have to move to a new computer, and the company has gone belly up, you’re SOL.

I very much prefer to have my discs, thankyouverymuchINDEED.

Have you tried Bonanza?

Yay, but those which do not require a server to play by their very nature should not require an internet connection to play. That is, if it’s single-player I should be able to download, install, and then play it in places with no internet access.

Do none of you people practice a robust backup solution? I mean seriously? What happens to all the actually IMPORTANT stuff on your PC that you CAN’T just redownload?

This always concerns me when I see people talking about “OMG, what will happen to my games if my hard drive dies?”

I can’t see Steam and GOG going ‘belly up’ any time soon, and by the time they do I imagine we’ll be on new OS’s anyway. None of my old game discs work any more, but downloads are tailored specifically to your OS and made compatible (to a certain extent). I keep all my games on an external hard drive as well as on my internal hard drive. Far less likely to be damaged unlike CD’s and DVD’s which get scratched easily.

I still buy physical copies though. I installed Skyrim once from the DVD, but now I don’t even know where it is. Each time I’ve had re-installed it I’ve just downloaded it. I think all media should behave like this - when you go out and buy a movie you should also get a digital copy too (though I know sometimes you do). I watch all my movies on a computer hooked up to a TV anyway, and rip them for convenience. It’d be nice if distributors caught up with the technology.

I think in a few years, nobody will have an issue with download only. For an enormous section of the market, download is your only choice; I’m talking about smartphone and tablet apps. And since I don’t particularly worry about Apple or google going out of business (and because my iPad backs itself up to my computer every time I plug it in), I’ll likely always have access to my apps even in a catastrophic device loss.

For an example more like your full-fledged PC game, I now buy a huge portion of my computer applications through Apple’s Mac App store, and whenever there’s a viable option for windows users similar to that, I’d expect huge chunks of the market to switch to pure download for everything.

The game industry will never go download-only. The PC side surely will (and really, already has), but the entire industry never will.

Definite Yay. Steam, Good Old Games, and the Indie Bundles have drawn me in completely.

Yes, I give up some of the benefits of having a tangible copy. But all of those services give me a lot of conveniences in return.

Plus, digital distribution allows all of those insane sales. Those would never work with physical disks – can you imagine Best Buy selling one of those “Hot New Game $20 Including Entire Publisher Backcatalog” deals? I think it would just be impossible to do that with physical stock. No store could hold a million copies of every obscure little indie title on the off chance that people might suddenly want it.

IMO, even though I’ve purchased a lot of games that I don’t like or haven’t even tried with all of those sales, I still come out ahead in terms of entertainment-per-dollar. If I spend $50 on a bunch of deeply discounted games, I’ll almost certainly end up with something I love, and a few that I enjoy. With $60 new releases there’s a substantial risk that I won’t get my money’s worth.

Indeed. Hard to download a copy of Settlers of Catan.

Not that hard, actually.