I’ve discovered with some surprise that I haven’t bought a single game off the shelf in the past 12 months. Not one. Every game I have is now digitally purchased, ranging from GOG, Steam, iTunes and sometimes directly (e.g. GSB from cliffski).
I sat down and thought about it and there are a number of compelling reasons:
(1) It’s just faster to sit your ass at home and buy games - no trip to the mall etc - internet speeds are sufficiently fast for most of us;
(2) It’s easier to find online discounts;
(3) I don’t have to worry if the discs are going to be damaged/scratched;
(4) I don’t have to care about putting those boxes with the manuals and the CD-keys etc away (good luck if you lose that CD-case with the key);
(5) About those manuals… long gone are the days of the Falcon and Red Storm Rising manuals over which I could literally spend hours poring (although digital manuals like cliffski’s humourously done GSB manual are very very welcome);
(6) The digital platforms are maturing/have matured (although STO was a serious f-up there, Steam old boy);
(7) There’s less DRM when you purchase an online game (Ubi can suck balls); and
(8) Automatic updates (provided the developer supports the digital distribution platform).
I’m firmly in the digital distribution camp for PC games - perhaps one day we will also purchase console games in the same way. Even if I find myself wandering through a software store, I just don’t feel an inclination to pick up a box anymore. I can’t see the future of bricks and mortar software stores being very bright anymore.