I'm thinking come oct 1, I'm going only digital for pc gaming for a year

A few years back, I decide to spend a year buying games via only online preorder. I’m thinking about trying something similar but this year I’m going to try to get games via digital online services. Steam, EA Link, Game tap, and Direct2Drive. Are there any major titles I should expect to have difficult getting over the next year?

I’ve more or less done the same. A subscription to Metaboli seems to give me
a heck of a lot of Codemasters and THQ releases, Steam gets me more of THQ
and Valve’s own plus a lot of smaller things, and I’ve really got everything
interesting from the bargain bins by now.

MMOs are starting to wise up to the fact that people don’t care about the box.
The manual is outdated by the first update, anyway :)

12 months from now, I’m hoping everything has simultaneous physical and digital release.

Finally ran out of vacuum tubes for your old analog computer, eh?

Finally ran out of vacuum tubes for your old analog computer, eh?

I don’t understand what you’re going for here. Are you trying to make statement?

I can understand preferring digital distribution and using that if it’s an option but if a game comes out that you really want to play and it’s disc only then why not buy it that way?

Actually, even the very early computers (Univac, Eniac, etc.) that used vacuum tubes were digital, weren’t they? An analog computer would be a slide rule or something (some of you kids probably don’t even know what that is).

Was the original “Difference Engine” also analog? I can’t remember.

There were analog computers, made out of parts like op-amps and displaying results in terms of things like voltage readings. You didn’t really ‘program’ them so much as wire them up to perform a particular specific calculation, though.


An analog computer would be a slide rule or something (some of you kids probably don’t even know what that is).

Also correct, though slide rules weren’t the first analog computers.

Frankly, anything that sticks it to EB/GameStop and keeps them from buying back used product at a pittance, then recycling it at an insulting $5 off the price of a new item, without funnelling any of that money back to the people that actually produce and publish the games, is starting to look more attractive with each passing month. They keep a lousy stock of “new” merchandise, usually half of it in gutted boxes. I’d that bet half their reason is to minimize inventory expense on the books, while the other half is to maintain shortages that will pump demand for their reanimated zombieware. That Penny Arcade comic that depicted GameStop stores as glorified pawnshops was right on the money.

On the other hand, I like to have the discs, too. And I still worry that I’m not going to be able to play this stuff if Valve goes poof! at some point in the future. So I give a lot of my business to the competition these days, but I am definitely picking up more things from download services, too.

My intention is pretty much the same, to purchase either through the EA Downloader (formerly EA Link), or Steam. I don’t keep game boxes, and I love the portability of Steam delivered titles.

The only wrench in the works may be my patience if a couple of titles aren’t available via download at launch. Tomorrow the Company of Heroes expansion is out, and while it will be assuredly be available via Steam, eventually, I don’t know when. Similarly Quake Wars, in early October.

I assume that publishers don’t announce availability dates on Steam as some kind of a concession to Brick & Mortar retailers, because they certainly are tight lipped about it.

True (many of them actually ran base-10 natively). But “Finally ran out of megaliths for your old analog computer, eh?” just didn’t have the same ring to it.

I couldn’t go cold turkey – some expansions released electronically won’t work with my retail copies and bargain bin hunting is done best in the back corner of CompUSA – but I’m already purchasing more PC games electronically than I am from a retail store. Steam has a large majority of the stuff I want, Gametap handles most of my bargain bin shopping, and StarDock takes care of that Indie itch.

Ever since I ran out of shelf space for more PC boxes, and what actually comes with the boxes diminished to a disc wrapped in paper, I’ve been doing quite a few more purchases digitally. Gametap is just icing on the cake. Still, I know if walk by an EB games, chances are I’m going in to see if they have anything that I’ll buy on impulse: used or otherwise.

What about mods?
I saw conflicting reports about successfully running mods on Steam version for example.

Was going to ask the same thing intruder just said. Don’t some of the download versions have compatability problems with mods/patches?

It depends on the service: e.g., most mods work with Steam games, IIRC, but Gametap uses its own proprietary format for storing game data (I would guess for DRM purposes) which can’t be modded.

So in order to stick it to GameStop, you’re going to vow to only buy digital downloads of console games? G’luck there! (There’s Warhawk at least, right?) Or you’re going to buy digital downloads of PC games and really hit that thriving used PC game model that Gamestop does these days?

I mean, I’m 100% behind you on the crappiness of buying used games for a pittance, marking them up 100+%, and reselling them as if it were a “bargain”, but realistically there’s no way to bring the force of digital distribution to bear on Gamestop’s model here that I can see. The only way to affect that is for consumers to get so insulted at the way they’re being treated that they’d rather wait to play a game until it drops in price than let Gamestop bend them over like that. Frankly, I don’t think the consumer beast is anywhere near that intelligent.

Well, you can stop buying console games…! Or get them at Best Buy.

I’ve fully switched over to digital distribution. The last game I got in a box was Shadowrun, and the last one before that was Fallout, which I found for free at a yardsale here in Oakland. Sweet deal. I’ve gotten Bioshock, Civ IV, Galactic Civilizations II, Psychonauts, Orange Box, Episode One, Swat 4 and Stalker through Steam, Direct 2 Drive, and Stardock. They’re all easy as hell to use and manage, and they work well with my instant gratification needs!

I find it real hard to imagine that if Steam went under they wouldn’t find some way to give us permanent access to the games we’ve purchased from them. In fact, have they mentioned anything about that through their various channels? I’d be interested to hear what their plans are should the worst happen.

I excluded console games.