Welcome to Respawning’s Games Club! The purpose of this is to get a bunch of us together once a week, to allow us the chance to chat shit about whatever takes our fancy in the world of video games and discuss what we’re currently playing.
With the latest theories swirling around the PS5, Xbox One Two (Xbox Two? Xbox 720? Xbox 1080?) and even the next Nintendo console like guppies to a piece of fish food, we decided to pick apart one common theory that has persisted ever since the death of the last generation – Will the next generation of games consoles be entirely disk-less? Let’s discuss!
…YOU WHAT! THOSE MONEY GRABBING SO AND SO’s… Following on from the hell that is microtransactions, combining this with people not wanting to leave their house and sprinkle of game streaming dust, and inevitably you’ll get the cake that is disk-less consoles, or as I like to call them “A sure-fire way of making a fuck tonne of cash”.
Being someone who doesn’t tend to keep games after completion I utterly hate this idea. As I play a lot of games I very rarely tend to go back to a game after I’ve finished, not even for a piece of rad DLC (e.g The Witcher 3), so I really do like the option of selling my game for cash or trading it in to help towards my next big game purchase; overall I feel that this process saves me a lot of money. I also collect comics too much to have another hoarding obsession.
Inevitably this is going to make gaming more expensive for us all as there will be no real way to discount the game on the online store, except for sales (Which are good but usually on older titles). Also these games will take up even more storage space so this means i can have even less games on my console at one time (Something I already struggle with). So for me I am not happy. I like my physical cases for games.
Oh and Sony need to vastly improve the usability of the store to pull this off!
For me, as an avid game collector with over 400 titles under his belt and over 30 collector’s editions proudly on display, I find the slow death of physical game editions an unwanted, unfortunate and inevitable fact of life – There will be a point where physical games will see the dumpster; just look at more perishable forms of game storage (I.E. cardboard boxes) which have been replaced by a superior alternative, plastic-based disk boxes; we’re beginning to see the same thing happen all over again now, with a large focus on eco-friendly materials, I think that the industry may altogether decide to say ‘fuck it’ and dump physical products as a remnant of a bygone age.
In the last year alone we’ve seen the majority of game sales move to digital distribution platforms such as Steam, PlayStation Store, and the Xbox Marketplace, in a bid to squash the remaining adopters of physical copies – Of course collectors’ editions and steelbooks will still remain, but only because they can upmarket them and make a tidy profit off of a small piece of aluminium, or a factory-crafted plastic statue or something.
I think physical copies of games will near-entirely die off, with the only survivors being those ‘cream of the crop’ editions that will serve as another way of snagging the cash whales and making more off of digital games; I’d better build my collection while I can…
Oh, hell no.
We aren’t ready for discless. We can’t trust the AAA space. The culture to support it ethically just isn’t there yet. With Disc games, a kid can simply eject his copy of his favourite game and bring it to his friend’s house. They can loan it, sell it, swap it. It’s theirs. Just like we all did with GBA cartridges and PS2 disks back in the day.
But requiring an online storefront for ALL transactions just isn’t ethical. It requires one to use either credit card or gift cards, it locks games to a specific system, and worst of all, it gives the publisher TOTAL control of the games you own. You will no longer own a game, you merely pay for the right to play it. It’s not your property – To trade in, loan, keep, or sell as you choose – No, you’re totally under the thumb of whoever owns the storefront.
The prices will stay fixed, meaning someone who can’t afford to pay £60 for a video game will simply never play an AAA game. Games will disappear forever and ever the moment the store is no longer supported, and those without a stable internet connection (Soldiers on deployment? Families in the remote countryside? People in less developed countries) will have a hard time playing video games, period.
A physical medium is essential for gaming to continue. If the next console generation is disk-less, I will stop buying consoles altogether. If it’s not on PC- where nobody owns the system and therefore no-one can monopolise selling software for it – It doesn’t exist to me.
I think I’m going to play the Devils’ Advocate this time. I think that it could be possible. The majority of what I play is currently on my PC, being run through Steam. Steam is a disk-less platform, even when you buy a physical game for Windows, the majority of the time the box is empty and just gives you a piece of paper giving you a download key for steam. Even on my PS4, the majority of my games are digital and sit in the cloud until I want to play them.
I do agree that yes, having a disk to resell a game is a huge advantage. But for me, I like the idea of being able to look over my hoard of games and decide that I want to play that one. or that old obscure title that I played as a kid and want to feel nostalgia for. I also agree that the servers on both Sonys and Microsoft’s behalf need to be upgraded. its all well and good having the ability to download any game at any time, but if it takes 3 hours to download a game, there’s a problem. When the hardware is ready for diskless, I think we will be.
So I’m that asshole that legit loves collecting games. I do not hate the idea of digital games as I own so many but I sincerely love the little ritual of going to my shelf and picking out what to play and then sliding that disc in like an epic gamer boy who’s ready for a night of Mountain Dew and wrecking scrubs. Sorry.
But that’s for the big boy consoles with the TV’s and the controllers and the teraflops and what have you. When it comes to portable consoles that’s a whole different story. I legit refuse to buy a physical game for my Switch. I only have one dedicated cartridge for my Switch and that’s for TLoZ. Everything else is digital and at my fingertips.