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?