Up For Debate - Do you miss buying physical copies of video games?

Written by Chad Norton on Sat, Jul 16, 2022 4:00 PM

Ah, what it would be like to transport back into the 80s and 90s, when technology was much more analogue and gaming was at its most innovative. Of course, many look back on those times fondly, and others appreciate the new features and improvements we’ve had since then. But if one thing has defined PC gaming (and consoles now too!) in the last few decades, it's the overwhelming switch from physical to digital sales.

No longer do you need to wait in line at your local games store to hope you can grab one of the first copies of a new game coming out. Instead, buying a game is as easy as a couple clicks and it's already being installed on your computer. There are some pros and cons there, but the simple instantaneous purchase is the biggest difference by far. And although it has become most popular on the PC platform, consoles are now doing the same thing.

But do you miss buying physical copies of video games? There are some titles which still offer a physical box to purchase, but most of the games we buy nowadays are done online through a storefront, where you buy a key instead of a CD. Not to mention the constant reminders that you don’t actually technically ‘own’ your games like you do with a physical copy (thanks, Ubisoft!). Also, we're talking about the physical boxes of video games, and not the collector's editions which often provide physical goodies alongside the game itself.

There are ways of getting around that last issue though, namely by purchasing games on GOG instead of the other dozen or so storefronts these days. But even then it’s not like a physical CD you can hold, breath on, or scratch endlessly until you have to pray before booting the game that it actually starts. There’s no manual to read on the car ride home, no more box art to ogle over. Is it just nostalgia? Or is there some inherent quality there that we’ve now lost?

What do you think? Do you miss buying physical copies of video games? Why or why not? What are the biggest advantages and disadvantages to both? Would you even buy a physical copy if you could? And what was the last PC game you bought as a physical copy?

Do you miss buying physical copies of games?

What is the main benefit of buying a game digital over physical?

When was the last time you bought a physical copy of a video game? PC or console

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00:50 Jul-22-2022

I've always hated the idea of never having a physical copy of a game. If you buy a product (not a service) you should always own it. I still have physical games that I can download and/or play whenever without a internet connection.

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20:28 Jul-20-2022

What I miss is actually owning the game, nothing other than that.

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02:41 Jul-20-2022

Even though we don't own the game I think it would cost more for physical copies (packaging, shipping, DVD's, extra's etc that usually end up in landfill dump.) Even though you get live updates physical games were more polished back then to & not reliant on lazy publishers. Also I think we gotta get away from humans physical throw away world / limited earth resources exploited for personal gain & pleasure etc. Even the cost of living is that high that you will need your own power station to run the future tech & it's electricity draw to use a PC.

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23:34 Jul-19-2022

Back when physical copies had effort put into them and you could buy deluxe physical things by paying $20 more, like the halo 2 metal embossed case and a movie length video showing behind the scenes things and the game being developed. Or san andreas in the base version having a whole book and map of the game, that was great. Only part about the whole physical copy thing I miss. Most games didn't back then but now all the premium editions cost 2-3 times the game's money and it's mostly digital goods anyway.


I miss the high quality physical releases that you didn't have to get completely ripped off to get them, But having to buy every game as a physical copy, just no.

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19:34 Jul-19-2022

i bought one today for the switch :)

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13:55 Jul-19-2022

NO, Instant Purchase, Can't remember, I'm old...

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11:59 Jul-19-2022

I think the last physical PC game I bought was Starcraft 2. And that was just an installer for the launcher. I had really bad internet at the time and I was extremely disappointed at how everything in that game had to be downloaded. Even after I downloaded the game, each map had to be individually downloaded, even for the campaign.


It made the point of buying it physically completely moot, and gave me a real hate for any game that requires an internet connection like that.


Not a problem now, as I have great internet, but the concept of it still boils my blood.


Why bother with physical disc, if they're just launcher installers that take up space?

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16:41 Jul-18-2022

I bought physical copies recently, but they were for my N64, sooooooo......

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16:59 Jul-18-2022

Just out of curiosity, what games?

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22:22 Jul-19-2022

MarioKart64

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18:48 Jul-18-2022

Haha, me - for GB/GBA :D

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15:54 Jul-18-2022

Nope, I enjoy the convenience that comes from Steam. 400+ games in the library, no way in hell I would ever have near that many physical copies lmao. Plus digital storefronts opened the world for Indie games. No way we would've seen all this content had we stuck to physical mediums

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14:48 Jul-18-2022

Physical copies take up too much real life space. I don't like having a whole library actually.

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12:21 Jul-18-2022

I still buy physical for my consoles. So, not all is lost yet.

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11:29 Jul-18-2022

Love physical.Got around 170 PC only games - from "Diablo" and "Descent" being the earliest i've got.And like some mentioned it - love the fat manuals, with characters and concept art, etc."Far Cry" 2, "Overlord", "GTA" III have some neat maps and such, for example.Got most of the games digital too, but physical is always the preferred way to me.And many of the games installation is just for a few minutes.Last i've got was "Aliens versus Predator 2 : Primal Hunt" and "No One Lives Forever" with the OST CD - great just to look at them on the shelves, you know?

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09:20 Jul-18-2022

Most physical games you buy now a days are just codes for the digital download lol. Last copy i bought was GTA V as i had ADSL at the time download would have taken days. I have 2.5gbs internet now so it takes 15mins for GTA V to download so not an issue. However, a lot of places in France have release day deals for physical copies so ill try and pick one up then. GTA V was 40€ instead of 60€ on release day so i picked that up. You can't sell physical games either anymore if its a digital key but if it's an actual physical copy you can. If it's a collectors edition of something i really want that's probably the only time now ill get a physical copy. Uncharted maybe?

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04:57 Jul-18-2022

Selling games you dont need anymore to buy new ones

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15:57 Jul-18-2022

Getting $4 for the $60 game you bought 3 weeks ago

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18:49 Jul-18-2022

Doesn't work like that unless you bought a really crappy game

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19:43 Jul-17-2022

Last one was probably BF1. Don't miss physical copies at all.

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16:18 Jul-17-2022

Last physical discs I bought were of Metro 2033 and Crysis 3 back in 2013.

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19:42 Jul-17-2022

Dead Space 2 i think.

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15:17 Jul-17-2022

I miss the instruction manuals. Don't miss the install time on 5 DVD's though.

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09:04 Jul-17-2022

I still have my old original game disc from 2000's. But now, it's all a hard drive plus a PIRATED copy of the game. Reasons are simple. Longevity, Preservation, plus offline play.

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03:25 Jul-17-2022

It's a mixed bag. I miss the extras like physical artwork and maps, sometimes even books with related lore. I definitely don't miss changing discs or people who wanted to borrow them, but not take care of them.

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23:26 Jul-16-2022

Unreal tournament 2004 was my last physical game purchase, what a game! i still have it and most of my other physical games

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