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Reader Comments (60)

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 3:52PM allonblack said

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I don't need the box but at the same time I feel there should be some sort of discount for getting things electronically given that you're not getting the box and all the bits and pieces inside. I can't imagine that the bandwidth cost for someone to download it exceeds the cost of packaging.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 3:54PM Seffrid said

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If it's an old-fashioned box with an old-fashioned manual then I'll take it any time over a download, whereas the modern DVD case with miniscule-print manual to match doesn't really cut the mustard. If there isn't a decent-sized manual then I am happy to print off the online one in A4 and have it bound at my local stationary shop for a quid or so.

However, the ultimate choice between box or download often depends on (a) timing and (b) bonus items.

Time was, of course, when I bought a box because of the map, but sadly those are very few and far between now. I've raised quite a few eyebrows in the office photocopier queue in the past as I have struggled to print off a cloth map in sections so that I can scribble my notes on it!

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 4:17PM Bezza said

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Here in Australia most retailers are phasing out PC Game titles in favour of consoles. Most 'game stores' only manage a very small PC section and I imagine this will vanish in the next year or two. Stores like EB only stock new releases in limited supply, other stores like GAME are phasing out PC altogether. Large retailers don't have a clue how to manage PC titles and have given up all together.

Digital distribution is significantly cheaper here also. An exsample would be Aion found in most stores between $80.00 to $100.00 AU purchasable for about $55.00 AU -when not on special- which is a significant saving. Add to this that good ISP's (like internode) don't clock steam downloads as part of your metered usage and the appeal of digital download is even higher.

That said, where available, special edition boxed sets do have their allure. But since Digital Special Editions also come with freebies it very much comes down to the game. I recall the Guild Wars 'Factions' special edition box set with fond memories. Maps, Posters, Art Book and Soundtrack CD were all very nice. However not all collectors editions are equal.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 7:22PM Graill440 said

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Thats pretty odd. I have some old business friends down there and this is the first i have heard that Australia is paving the way to console domination. In fact the phone call i made after i read this verified that PC game sales was alive and well down under.

You live in Tasmania? That might be why.

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Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 7:44PM Bezza said

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No Graill I don't live in Tasmania. I don't know who you called but their information does not reflect the state of retail sales of PC titles in NSW or the ACT.

EB & GAME the only two major game stores in the NSW/ACT region are steadily winding back PC titles shelf space in favour of console titles. Much as i hate it, it's a fact. Go into any EB and see how much space it allocated to PC titles and how much is allocated to the various console formats, then look at how much of the PC titles are just old stock they are waiting to clear and how much are new stock. It's not good. Then visit any Target, Big W, Kmart store and look at thier PC titles, usually only cheap crappy titles that are years old and being resold as el cheapo games or endless copies of the sims.

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Posted: Jan 4th 2010 10:11AM Cendres said

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If EB is Electronics Boutique it's the same deal in Canada, the PC section is pathetic at this time, it could just be the chain that is doing this.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 5:41PM Lemure said

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I prefer a box but I just get whichever costs less.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 6:27PM (Unverified) said

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As much as I've enjoyed them in the past I can't help but look back and see the boxes just sitting on the shelf collecting dust. I never end up using the extra stuff that isn't an actual part of the game. That said if I can get in game bonus items by purchasing online I will and skip the drive/line/box in the future.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 7:11PM Graill440 said

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Most will want to think twice on not getting the "box".

A huge issue is who will support what. On two occasions i ran into problems with borderlands, you will recall it was removed from digital download for a short time. trying to get support from the DD version verse the boxed dvd version is night and day in most cases. I have email replies from borderlands that flatly state "see your vendor for patches" This made no sense at all until i sicked the BBB on them and through many emails finally got a settlement.

Box support verse DD also presents problems if the game is so bugged out and non operational requiring big patches to put it where it was advertised that many folks without proper knowledge will be out in the cold as these companies do not support DD as they would a boxed dvd, and you will get tossed into a support loop.

Just be aware of the drawbacks verse the convienience of DD.

I only purchase the boxed versions now, two bad experiences with DD was enough for me.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 7:50PM Bezza said

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That would have been a real pain, i feel for you on that front. Took me a while to sort out getting a key for my special edition in game items that I was entitled to for my steam version of Fallen Earth.

There is the flip side of course, disks do get damaged and gamers often reinstall, upgrade thier rigs. One thing i like is if i wipe my system and reinstall from scratch, i always have my DD games a quick download away. So I guess there are pro's and cons for both methods.
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Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 8:31PM (Unverified) said

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Box guy here. Between DSL and the cat walking on my keyboard it took almost five days to download my WoW trial. And I don't even want to think about what I went through with WAR and FilePlanet.

Posted: Jan 3rd 2010 11:52PM Marked said

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I much prefer the digital download. The only thing I still own from my boxed PC games is an envelope with original keys and a spool with a stack of all my disks.

With all the insane deals Steam has been having lately, I've actually been rebuying some of the cheaper titles just so I can completely ditch my physical copy.

And for those worried about backups and wanting physical disks, I know Steam allows you to burn disk images so you can reinstall without downloading them again. I used Steam to make an image of my digital Borderlands so I could install it on Win7 without redownloading it.

The whole price difference between digital and boxed copy though, I know in the past there have been store chains that threated to stop carrying certain titles unless the price on the digital copy was raised so the boxed copy price could compete. For the life of me I do not remember the stores or the games in question though.

Posted: Jan 4th 2010 12:17AM Gloon said

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I'm done with retail. Period. Steam has met and exceeded all of my gaming needs.

Posted: Jan 4th 2010 2:21AM (Unverified) said

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Getting the box is the old way of doing things. All my CE extras just sit on the shelf collecting dust along with my standard editions.

Posted: Jan 4th 2010 9:20AM (Unverified) said

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I prefered boxes, but after trying Steam for a couple of game purchases I am a believer.

Now all my games are bought off Steam.

Posted: Jan 4th 2010 1:58PM Aetrix said

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These days Steam will have most games downloaded and ready to go just as fast as if I had gone out to pick up a box, and it eliminates the hassle of traffic and waiting around to feed optical discs into my computer.

The only downside to these services is that they're TOO convenient and are therefore an impulse buyer's nightmare!

Posted: Jan 4th 2010 4:55PM Bezza said

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Yea EB is Electronics Boutique, but here in my region the other major software retailer is also following suit. A couple of the medium sized store chains will still stock a handfull of newish titles but their PC sections are poorly maintained, overpriced and clearly play second fiddle to the console sections which have a much higher sales turnover. It is no surprise really, DD is just that much cheaper, despite developers charging some regions inflated prices.

Posted: Jan 4th 2010 5:57PM (Unverified) said

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While I would love to buy games in a box, especially if it is a long-awaited game, most of the time it is simply not an option in my case. The reason for it is simple - I live in a small country in a corner of Europe called Latvia and getting a box over here on time and for a reasonable price is often out of the question. Because of that development of digital distribution has been a godsend for me and I end up regularly buying games from Direct2Drive, Steam, or directly from the publisher.

It is also very convenient. I have been playing games for over 10 years and the hundreds of CDs are starting to take up space. Having a digital copy that you can download whenever you want instead is helpful.

Posted: Jan 5th 2010 6:50PM Averice said

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I need a box. Mainly collectors editions, if they're available. Why? Well the only time I actually buy a game anymore is when I know I'm going to love the game. And if I'm going to love the game, I have no problem putting out a couple extra bucks for a collector's edition.

I can't stand steam. I know I just had a rare bad experience, but I'm still not a fan and don't plan on becoming one in the next few years... after the next few years I probably will be though, when it's more the norm.

For now, I'm happy to only spend money on top quality games that I know I am going to love. Oh right... this is massively, so we're talking MMO's.

For MMO games, it's a bit different. There's the psychological aspect of physically holding an expansion in your hands that makes it feel more worthwhile to buy. Otherwise it will just feel like another normal patch, and you'll sit there wondering why you have to pay extra money for it. To buy an MMO expansion, I need a box. I don't feel the need to keep those boxes, like I do the originals, but I need to buy something physical with my money.

Posted: Jan 7th 2010 1:17PM Evy said

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I need the box. I'm not quite sure why, but it makes me feel good to have a paper manual and physical copy of the game. Even if I never look at them again after installation, I still want 'em.

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