LTPD: Digital vs. Physical Media

This just in: people enjoy lovingly gazing at their shiny media collections!

Note: I don't have time to individually list various user comments for the LTPD review this week, as I'm actually writing this while in a meeting at work!

There wasn't as much participation in this week's LTPD, but that didn't stop the interesting discussion and surprising results!

First off, almost 50% of you stated that you tend to purchase a mix of both physical and digital media, with the main factor being price. That makes a lot of sense, as (aside from the Steam sale), digital media tends to not go on sale nearly as often as physical media does. Find the bargain bin at any Best Buy or Gamestop, and you can get great games for cheap that would otherwise cost more to digitally download.

That said, a large number of you of you admitted that you really do love having a large collection of physical media... just to have it! Whether it's to show off to friends when they come over, help decorate the living room, or just to gaze lovingly at while you're alone, there is just something satisfying about having a large collection of games, movies, and music in various forms.

Big thanks to everyone who contributed to the discussion, and you can still add to it below! If you have any suggestions for future LTPD topics, feel free to tweet them to me @thesmi1ey.

Original Post

The cloud is taking over, but buying physical copies of games and media is still a common practice. Which do you prefer?

I love a good discussion, and I love polls, so I've decided to create Let the People Decide™; a weekly TAY article that presents a topic and a poll on Monday, then summarizes the poll results and discussions on Friday. You can read the previous LTPD entry here.

The deaths of brick-and-mortar retailers like Gamestop have been foretold many times, but physical game and media outlets still seem to be going strong, and not just from a surge of hipster customers. Many people still prefer physical copies of their media over the digital versions. Are these people just "old fashioned," or is there something to buying a disc over a digital download?

Review some of the reasons below, vote in the poll, then add to the discussion!

Reasons for Digital Media

  • Easy to acquire without having to spend time and gas to drive somewhere.
  • Instant access to the content you want to play.
  • Purchases can be accessed from the cloud on multiple devices (where applicable).
  • No risk of the disc getting scratched and becoming unusable.
  • No risk of lost or stolen purchases.
  • In some cases, digital content can be higher quality than it's physical version.
  • In many cases, digital copies of media are cheaper.

Reasons for Physical Media

  • Instant access to your content, regardless of internet or cloud availability.
  • Most physical media can still be backed up in digital form if needed.
  • No risk of a service ending, causing loss of un-downloaded, purchased content.
  • In some cases, physical content can be higher quality than it's digital version.
  • No reliance on hard drive storage. Hard drives don't have a huge life span.
  • Can easily lend content to a friend to play.
  • Can be re-sold or traded in.
  • "I just really like showing off my sweet media collection!"

Let the people decide!

You can follow Matt "smi1ey" Dunn on Twitter @thesmi1ey, and learn more about him here.