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Why Do People Prefer to Buy Digital Versions of Video Games rather than Physical versions?

“Digital Videogame Sales Rapidly Gaining on The Sales of Physical Videogames.”

By: Saurav Tuladhar December 19, 2017

A video game store you can access from the comfort of your couch, it’s a pretty

convenient thing to have at your disposal. Except, shopping here costs almost double of shopping

at a normal video game store.

Yet, the sales at this store are rapidly on the rise as you can see in fig 1(Statista), the sales of

digital games have been increasing rapidly from 2012, and it has kept on increasing ever since.

Which is unusual as people are willing to buy more of products that are financially less

advantageous to them.

So, looking at the graph we can see that people have an incentive to buy digital games

that are more valuable than the cost and having a physical proof of purchase which is worth

paying almost double the amount. For instance, Far Cry four digital sells for for$60 on the

PlayStation Store, whereas you can get a PS4 copy off Far Cry four on GameStop for $24 with

additional cover arts and maps. An incentive which is worth paying 60$ for a game you can get

for 24$.(Pereira)

Buying physical video games is great, It has a lot of distinct financial benefits in buying

them. As you may know trading and buying preowned games are the most advantageous aspects

of buying a physical game. (Reed)As Physical video games have a lot of resale value due to the

physical copy and the limited artworks.

But people still buy digital games, games that can only be used by the person whose

account the game is tied to. As you can't sell it or trade it. It’s a done deal that cannot be undone

as you can’t even return the game the second you buy it.(Reed)
Incentives motivate consumers to make a choice and, a good incentive to buy digital

video games more than the monetary values of the product could be convenience.

As the key convenience related to microeconomics is the difference in the ease to access

of the product that has similar values. As the consumers who buy digital get to play new releases

the moment, it's available without waiting in line for days which saves up time and gives the

Instant gratification of enjoying a product without waiting for a long time. The time that can be

invested in more productive ways. Though this convenience comes at a price as you do not get

limited items and physical copies of the game which can be resold. (Reed)

But you get to be the first person to play a new game which ignites the gamer satisfaction to the

maximum if you value the game more than the art which is the primary reason of buying a game.

In addition to the instant access to new games, you have access to all your library without

swapping discs as all the games you need are inside the console. Which is convenient as you can

control everything without even standing up. Though it has limits in storage unlike physical

where it's unlimited, digital has limits, but these limits are pretty big, and you can always buy

hard drives for extra storage. (Beres)

The further cause of this unusual epidemic is that the structure of the games themselves

are changing as games are leaning towards Online gaming, where the games are being played for

more hours than before. People can play the games for months and years unlike before where

you complete a story, and the game is over. So, having an everlasting copy of the game is useful

as you keep on getting satisfaction from it and having a broken or stolen disk does not help when

you play the game every day. (Beres)

As, there is a security of having the game forever. As digital games always stay with us

and no one can steal it from you as there is a backup in the cloud, so you can never lose the game

ever. Unlike physical where if someone steals your game you cannot take it back or have

ownership. (Beres)
In addition to that, due to reoccurring satisfaction, people are less likely to trade or sell

their games.As videogames are becoming more engaging as we’ve seen the rise of downloadable

content and in-game microtransactions, designed to extend the lifespan of major new console

releases. Making People less likely to trade games instead repeatedly playing because of updates

provided and new content always being added will keep on providing reoccurring satisfaction.

(Andronico).An incentive that beats the most valuable aspect of buying a physical copy.

As the theory of rational choice says, people make choices by optimizing their choices

and choosing the most satisfactory option for them. Which from looking at the incentives from

this essay I think is digital. So, I conclude that digital download is certainly the right choice as so

many people have already chosen to go digital as these incentives outweigh the monetary values

many times in providing satisfaction to the consumers.

In addition to that, I myself love to play games online and enjoy add-ons to my game. So,

having an everlasting copy is convenient to keep on playing my games every day which in which

digital is the best option. (Beres)

So, I conclude that unless people love to have a physical copy in their hand or have a

collection choosing digital games is wise. As a part of the buying decision, is figuring out how to

make the most of every dollar and if you like to play a game which can give you everlasting

satisfaction going digital is wise just like all the people who are going digital. As it has a lot of

incentives in its favor and not just money so people just like the music industry should adopt this

new mechanism of consuming games as adaptability is key .

Work Cited.

Andronico, Michael. “Digital vs. Physical Games: What's Right For You?” Tom's Guide, Tom&

#039;s Guide, 23 Nov. 2017, www.tomsguide.com/us/digital-vs-physical-games,news-


Beres, Damon. “Stop Buying Physical Video Games Already!” The Huffington Post,

TheHuffingtonPost.com, 25 Nov. 2015, www.huffingtonpost.com/entry/digital-video-game-


Devine, Richard. “Should you buy digital or physical Xbox One games?” Windows Central,

Windows Central, 13 July 2016, www.windowscentral.com/should-you-buy-digital-or-physical-


Pereira, Chris. “Ubisoft Explains Why Digital Games Stay More Expensive Than

Physical.”GameSpot, Gamespot, 9 July 2015, www.gamespot.com/articles/ubisoft-explains-why-


Reed, Chris. “10 Reasons to Buy Physical Copies of Video Games.” The Cheat Sheet, 19 Dec.

2016, www.cheatsheet.com/entertainment/reasons-buy-physical-copies-video-


Statista * All products require an annual contract. Prices do not include sales tax (New York

residents only). “U.S. computer and video game sales - digital vs. physical 2016 |
Statistic.” Statista, www.statista.com/statistics/190225/digital-and-physical-game-sales-in-the-



Fig1: U.S. computer and video game sales from 2009 to 2016(Statista)