[Let's Talk] Digital vs. physical - Nintendo Everything

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[Let’s Talk] Digital vs. physical

Posted on September 9, 2017 by (@NE_Brian) in General Nintendo, Let's Talk

If you want to buy a game these days, there are two major ways to do so. You can either purchase a physical copy at retailers, or pick up the digital version from a place like the eShop.

Some folks prefer going all digital so that games can be easily accessed. Not having to deal with boxes and clutter might be viewed as another plus. But on the other hand, buying a physical copy means you’ll absolutely have the game forever (assuming the disc doesn’t break), and it’s a way of collecting something tangible.

Personally, I’m somewhere in the middle. I do prefer physical copies, but if a game is only being sold digitally, that won’t stop me from making a purchase. And if I see that a digital copy has received a massive discount, I’ll probably opt for that instead of going the physical route.

Which side of the fence do you side on? Do you lean one way in particular? Do you refuse to buy any games digitally (or vice versa)? Share your thoughts with us in the comments below.

Highlights from last week’s topic: What are you playing? – September 2017

Mic Smith

Still playing BOTW. I just love it. Finished master trial on master mode and loving roaming around with awakened MS.

Busterblade

Just finished Mario + Rabbids’ last world yesterday. A great game, but plagued by some technical issues that I hope to see resolved soon.

SetzerGabbiani

Sonic Mania has been dominating my time at home. Really, really well-made game, and more challenging than I expected.

Also the MHXX demo with different weapons because I feel empty inside.

Clearing up my backlog and playing 7th Dragon III Code VFD on 3DS during my commutes to/from work.

Thinking about playing Tokyo Mirage Sessions again. It’s been on my mind.

Daniel Limón

This week I’ve been playing Kirby: Planet Robobot on 3DS and completing Tails and Knuckles game in Sonic Mania on Switch. They’re both super beautiful games and incredibly fun, I’m amazed of how great “Mania” is, I didn’t feel like this since the Sonic Advance series.

Luke WalkingMoonTree

I’m playing both Mario+Rabbids and Splatoon 2, the latter of which I just recently borrowed from a friend, surprisingly enough I’m finding myself enjoying M+R MORE than Splatoon 2 : the game is just so charming and funny that It keeps me glued to the Switch! Don’t get me wrong, I’m loving Splatoon 2 aswell but I’m preferring M+R, probably a factor in this is the development team being from my same country, so in these days I had the chance to contact them and talk about the game, show them a few problems I found and they were so cool about it that it gave the game additional value

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  • Busterblade

    I’ll only purchase digital, if I’ve no choice, and it’s not a ridiculously huge game (indie). There’s a reason I stick to physical, even if it barely had any of the extras it used to have (manuals, etc) because the Switch has barely any internal memory to speak of, and I will not let Nintendo’s laziness cost me in an SD card.

  • Stuart

    If I had to choose,I would prefer physical. However from were I live most of the times it is way cheaper to buy digital,on my 3DS the overwhelming majority of my games are digital. On my Wii U I have a better balance between physical X digital. When I get my Switch I plan to go full physical on the third party games, they are getting HUGE in size and big SD cards are expensive.

    • Gemmol Lewis

      64 gb card is 23 on Amazon and on sale for 15, the 128 gb card is 40 to 44 dollars, on sale it goes for 30

      And these are 2017 models Samsung which have the fastest read speed the quickest loading

      Just wondering how is it expensive, 128gb card can hold NBA 2k18, both resident evil revelations, the new rockstar game and still have space to download 2 to 4 big games, or 8 to 10 well compressed games like Nintendo do wth their games

      • Radish

        This is a bad argument. 128 gb would be okay storage in 7th gen consoles, but major 3rd party games (the kind of games Nintendo really needs to get more of) in 2017 and beyond will fill that very quickly. This isn’t the Wii days anymore where games are 480p and require less space.

        • Gemmol Lewis

          how many games out now can fill up this 128 gb card…….theres not even enough big switch games to fill up that card now…..nba 2k18 25gb, both resident evil revelations, which add up to 39 gb, and you still have over 64gb of space left over…….so this is 3 games it fit already……I assume la noire will fit also, and maybe 2 to 3 more games…..so 5 to 6 third party games on a 128 gb is consider a bad argument now??? and dont forget we can keep the save file and delete the game to replace with another game and still carry 5 to 6 games with you no matter where you go…..for the price of 40 to 44 dollars on amazon for a 128 gb card…..or if u catch on sale for 30 dollars………seems worth it to me

          • Radish

            Essentially what you are saying is for every 5 or 6 games you buy, you need to spend $45~ for another microSD card. And that’s convenient how? I don’t want to have to delete games and then re-download them later. I should have either a large enough external storage option or more internal storage.

      • Stuart

        The problem is,I am not american. 128gb cards are not that cheaper for me, it could go up to 250$-300$ from where I live. Importing is a option however and it would be a little cheaper. It would most likely still suffer from the delivery fees and the taxes.

        • Gemmol Lewis

          sorry to hear that, hope things get better in your area

  • Billy Bob Throrton

    The bigger storage gets,the more tempting it is to go digital and not have to wait for the mail

  • Blake

    100% physical unless it’s only available digitally. Not even a big discount would get me to buy digital over physical. I’m a collector I guess!

  • Auragar

    I despise digital unless it is completely unavoidable like with indie games even though more and more indie games these days are getting physical releases which is nice.

  • Fandangle

    Digital is nice and all, but it’s a terrible distribution method. Developers should ALWAYS strive for a physical release. Digital is pretty much only for convenience. Due to physical retailers it’ll never be cheaper on the consumer end, but it is incredibly cheaper for smaller time developers which I feel is good. However physical should always be a priority, as well as putting it on as many platforms as possible for low-key releases.

    It makes it easier to archive games, P.T. for example is lost to time because Konami douchery. The Scott Pilgrim game is also lost and can’t officially be obtained because amaguchi thought the game was sexist and refused to redeem the license to their music, effectively making it illegal to sell it anywhere without their permission. Physical doesn’t wholly prevent this but it definitely helps. It also helps mom and pop video game stores and second hand stores that sell used video games. Thanks to how licensing laws work, most consumers don’t actually own the game they’re playing just the “right to play it” and for some games that means if the company ever goes under or if something legal happens that prevents the game from being sold it becomes nearly impossible to find for most consumers and the only legal way to obtain a copy is through the physical used market or piracy, which is also a way piracy is a good thing in some ways because they’re pretty much actively working on preserving and sharing gaming’s history. You can’t just redownload P.T. or Scott Pilgrim anymore because of this. If all the consoles with these games fail, that’s totally it for them unless you pirate them. Emulation also helps because in guarantees those games will be accessible long after the hardware becomes unavailable or destroyed. Just look at Pokemon. The internal batteries of Gen 2 and 3 games are all dead and unless you’re savvy enough to know how to replace those batteries then you’re only option is emulation, which again either through Nintendo’s official emulators or piracy.

    There is also the problem with design document loss, back in the early days in japan and some US developers they had the habit of completely destroying all design documents, including the master copy. We lost MANY Sega games because of this (If I remember right it’s why we haven’t seen a true port of any of the early sonic games and all officially released “ports” are just emulated). There is also loss through incompetence, like the Kingdom Hearts 1.5 collection, the original Kingdom Hearts 1 is completely lost to time and if I got my facts right, they actually had to use a physical copy of the game to rip all the assets from it and recreate the game’s engine from scratch. Then there is less popular games that have been lost like Panzer Dragoon and physical copies are the only way to officially own the game anymore without emulation. (Feel free to correct me if I’m wrong on any of this, I’m going off my own faulty memory here.)

    Historical preservation is important, especially in gaming since it’s such a fledgling media, and without the physical market we wont be able to continue that. Digital is merely a convenience for the most part, however since there is no real reason for it to cost the same as physical releases, which is due to companies not wanting to gimp physical retailers, physical is superior in most regards. It guarantees you’ll always have the game, even if your console fails and the digital shops all close down.

    /End Essay

    • JasonBall

      Dude how do you make spoilerblocks on disqus?

      • Fandangle

        Same way as blockquote or any other format but with “spoiler”

      • like an html tag but type spoiler in between the lt/gt brackets instead of b or i

  • digital is better and everyone who doesn’t post on video game forums knows it

    • JasonBall

      I love your brutal honesty.

      • digital is too expensive, though. the big 3 are making bank on that.

        i don’t understand why physical-only ppl don’t care about DLC. you can’t sell it, and it’s worthless without the disc, so you’re locked into owning the associated game disc forever.

        also licensed DLC can expire from the store. comic book games are really bad about this, on the rare occasion a comic book game is fun. there was this game, marvel ultimate alliance 2, where the DLC was up for like 3 months. plus the game was real buggy at launch, so some people waited to buy it and missed the window entirely.

        some companies are just straight-up stupid about downloadable games. it’s irritating.

        • JasonBall

          Well digital isn’t too expensive for me. And dlc issues like you describe generally don’t happen on Nintendo systems.

          • I can afford it, but it makes no sense that it costs just as much as a disc that’s shipped to a store and the store gets a cut.

          • JasonBall

            It makes perfect sense. Most people are too stupid to realize the discrepancy so companies make way more digitally. I actually like that sometimes if I really want to support the publisher and want them to get as much money as possible.

          • Basically nintendo takes the cut that the brick & mortar store would get. I just assume there’s so much lower overhead, you don’t have to print the disc, license the box art, distribute the media proportionally or pay the store. Though I know servers aren’t free, they’ve gotta be cheaper than renting real estate or deciding how many copies to print.

            It wouldn’t be a complaint if Nintendo were more active about eshop sales.

  • Aline Piroutek

    Physical copies for sure. The game is actually mine, I can sell it(I won’t) and I can borrow and trade with my friends(in the past, now everyone just plays Candy Crush).
    I hesitated a bit on buying Xenoblade X for $150 a physical copy when the digital was $60 but you know, the game is mine for sure.
    That’s why japanese don’t need digital copies. They’re the same price as retail. Or even cheaper thanks to thes strong second hand market.

    • Ferrett

      I totally agree with you here, I will pay more for a physical copy.. I didnt buy Fatal Frame 5 just to not support the digital only approach..

  • Aline Piroutek

    When I play a digital media game, it takes me back to the days I donwloaded DS games on the internet to play on my flashcart R4DS. Feels just like piracy.

  • SpaceLud35

    I live in a country where physical games are ~2-3x MSRP so I’ve set my system to a tax free zip in the USA and buy eShop cards online for a digital only lifestyle. If I make a trip stateside or if a relative or friend is coming for a visit I may ask them to pick me up a physical copy of something I’m interested in.

  • TruExtent

    I will most always prefer physical if I can get it. But for me, it depends on either the game or the deal I can get. Here’s a few examples:

    When I first got my 3DS XL it came with Mario Kart 7. However, it was preinstalled so it felt like a bummer. But then you factor in this: It would have cost me the same amount of money ($199.99) to buy a different color as it would have to buy this bundle. So in the end, I saved my self $40 and instantly had a game to play. As a bonus, I discovered that MK7 was one of the few 3DS games still supporting Download Play meaning I could have instant multiplayer fun with other 3DS users that didn’t have the game at anytime since I didn’t need to switch out a cart. A similar situation happened when I got my Mario Kart 8 Wii U bundle. At the time, Club Nintendo was running a really good promo and I ended up getting Pikmin 3 for completely free.

    In another case, I bought Pokemon X digitally. I figured I was going to want to play Pokemon anytime I wanted; just pop in, do some multiplayer, train and then switch back to another game. It worked out well for me. But that was bought at full price at launch since I figured that game style would be perfect for download. Then you get other cases like A Link Between Worlds and DK Tropical Freeze where I was planning to buy a physical copy but then it got a really good discount on the eShop that I had to take the digital offer.

    Despite what I’ve said in terms getting games digitally but preferring physical, the opposite is also true. I was planning to eventually buy Animal Crossing New Leaf digitally because it would have been like the Pokemon X situation: perfect to jump into once in a while and not have to have the cart at the ready. But then when Best Buy was having a sale on AC stuff I noticed they had New Leaf for $10. How could you say no to that? So I nabbed it… and I still haven’t gotten to it. But hey it was cheap!

    So like I said in the beginning, I prefer physical but depending on the deal or gameplay style can influence how I get my game in the end.

    • yeah i used to download games only if i was going to play them a lot, like mario kart 8 for wiiu has online multiplayer, and wii fit u i used every day, but then i just said screw it and downloaded everything after that, because it was so much better to have all the games on something smaller than a game box. i still never filled up my 750gb HDD, and it was cheaper than buying the wiiu deluxe.

  • Katzen

    I’m pretty much physical only because I often go back and play my games again years after release. I’ve had the experience of wanting to reinstall and play a slightly older game, only to find that the game had been wiped from the company’s servers. So I paid the same price as the physical game, but now what I paid for literally doesn’t exist. I wasted my money by going digital.

  • Roto Prime

    I’m all about that hard!!! Digi is cool….but please make more hard copy options ;_____;

  • Vigilante_blade

    I was going to try digital this time around, but I noticed that the prices for digital and physical on most games were identical. As such, I would actually be losing money if I went digital. Since I’m hardly saving any money if I go digital, I can’t justify buying a large SD card. If digital prices were lower in general, then I would consider the matter.

  • Addy

    It really depends on my end, if a digital version of a game is on sale for about $20 I may get it. I try to be as frugal as possible and don’t want to spend more than $20 on a game and it’s harder to get a refund on a digital game, as far as I know anyway.

  • Exy

    I prefer hard copies because it’s a lot easier to get retail discounts on them.

  • Gemmol Lewis

    I personally think people are over blowing the storage situation. At first I was thinking of doing physical, but as I carry around the system, playing it in different places or playing with my little cousin, I realize that I hate having to carry around other game cards, and having to take the game out to put another game in. I felt just like the Switch OS, we should be switching through games as quickly as we get around on the menu or wake up the system from sleep mode. Putting a game in and out is a thing of the past, so I got rid of the physical version of mario kart and zelda, and kept my save file. This is how I started my digital journey, got back both Mario Kart and Zelda, transfer all the pictures and everything I had on the Switch internal memory to the new Samsung Evo 128 gb card, this is their new 2017 model, it have the fastest read speed out of all micro sd. It cost 40 to 44 dollars, and on sale it can go down to 30 dollars. I have over 10 things downloaded to this 128 gb card, and I still have 90 gb to use. Switching between games is so much easier, loading is little faster, and I do not have to remember which game cards to bring with me, because all of it is on my memory card. I can switch to games, or demos with ease. This is how the Switch is suppose to be used, but this is just my opinion. I have enough space to still get NBA 2K18, both Resident Evil Revelations, and still have space for 1 middle size game like Zelda, or 4 small size games like Mario Kart, so for 128 gb card, it holds a lot, and mind you I still have nothing on my Switch internal memory, so it can be used for anything.

    The reason I say there is no storage issues because Nintendo did the best thing no other company did which is give us choice and right now Micro SD are cheap. Most of the complaints I seen come from people who look up Micro SD prices few years ago and still think 128 gb card cost 100 dollars, when it cost 40 to 44 dollars and a 64 gb card cost 23 dollars, which can hold 2 to 3 big games, meaning both resident evil revelations and nba 2k can fit on a 23 dollar 64 gb card.

    I say this is not an issue because I use to work in game store years ago, and people use to buy memory card for xbox 360, Vita and etc, even phones like it was nothing, but I feel since Nintendo name on the front, people are only saying its a issue because the system have Nintendo name on the front. We are paying way less for memory cards, with way more space. We are living in a good time.

    If you look at how Sandisk work, when a new card come out, every other card drop in price, for example the new 400 gb card, is taking the price that use to belong to the 256 gb card, meaning the 400 gb card will cost 250 dollars, and the 256 gb card will drop to the price of the 200 gb card, the 200 gb card will drop to the 128 gb card, the 128 gb card will drop to the price of the 64 gb card, and the 64 gb card will drop to the price of the 32 gb card

    What do it mean?

    it means for the same 40 to 44 that i use to get 128gb card, in a few weeks after the 400 gb card go on sale, I will be able to get a 200gb card for 40 to 44…..and the 128 gb card will cost 23 dollars…..

    so if Sandisk keep bringing a new card each year, in 2 to 3 years……we will be able to get 400gb card less than 100 dollars, for 44 to 70 something dollars

    how can we complain about that???? oh i know its because Nintendo name on the system lets just complain anyway

    even if you did not want to get more than one card, a 128 card go a long way, and if you keep your save file and delete the game, you can always download the game back, and if your internet speeds fast, you will have no problems replacing games to carry with you by deleting one game and adding another on your list to take with you on the go

    • RoadyMike

      TL;DR
      SD card prices have come a long way
      And a low-key insult to anyone who criticizes Nintendo

      • Gemmol Lewis

        TL DR????

        and yes these cards will keep dropping in price, its like I wrote above, if a new card size drop next year…..we all will be able to get 128gb card for 23 dollars or 13 dollars, how can anyone complain still??

        • RoadyMike

          “too long, didn’t read”
          We’re not at those prices yet. None of what you say is valid at this point in time because 128GB SD cards are NOT currently below 30 to 40 dollars.
          They may go down to those prices on a few years but you make it sound like 13 or 20$ 128GB cards are already available to the masses, which is simply not true. Not even the most generous of SD card discounts reach those prices

          • Gemmol Lewis

            128 gb cards do go on sale for 30 dollars…..its 40 to 44 dollars right now depending on which brand you buy, on amazon……..and it will drop down again since the 400gb card is coming out…..did you forget the 128 gb card use to cost 250, and it drop down with each new card that came out, or you dont read press release because they “too long so you didnt read”

  • DonSerrot

    My personal preference is digital for pure convenience. At the moment though I have the dual reasons of lack of funds for a high capacity micro SD card and plenty of discount options for physical copies that currently has me predominantly buying physical games. I’m hoping that Christmas and my birthday help with the micro SD card side of things, but as long as I can knock 20% off a physical game that’ll be where my money goes.

  • Radish

    I used to prefer physical games, but I really don’t have space for that anymore. With the Switch being so versatile I felt it was a good time to go all digital for convenience. Seeing how many games are $10 higher for the physical copies further cemented my decision. It used to be that physical games got better and more frequent sales (at least with Nintendo consoles) than digital games.

    Unfortunately the system only has 32gb local storage and they don’t make microSD cards large enough at a reasonable price yet to make going digital the sensible route. If I have to carry around multiple microSD cards with different games on each of them, the convenience of digital games is no longer a factor.

    Nintendo really needs to address this because more and more folks are shifting toward digital purchases.

    • Gemmol Lewis

      like I wrote to your other message…..a 128 gb card can hold 5 to 6 big games……..nba 2k18 (25gb), both resident evil revelations (39 gb) and still have space for 2 to 3 big games………and best part 128 gb card is only 40 to 44 dollars on amazon……on sales it drop to 30

      I rather this then any other option

      • Radish

        Again, 5 big games for an extra $45 is terrible. It dissuades consumers from purchasing the big games. This is part of what killed the Vita (though with that it was more extreme because of proprietary hardware)

        • Gemmol Lewis

          they do not have to get another card, and if you read my other post, once the new 400gb card drop, all the other cards drop in price just like the 128 gb card use to cost 70, and the 64 gb cost 40 to 44……when the new card drop the 64 gb will take the price of the 32 gb card which mean the 64 gb card will cost 13 dollars, and the 128gb card will cost 23 dollars……….so if another card drop next year, the 128 gb card will drop to 13 dollars……and like I said before memory is getting cheaper

          I understand some may not have fast internet like me, so I can understand deleting would be hard for them, but if someone did have good decent speed i still think my option of deleting is better, remove the game you do not play much, and put the game you do play more, and if your internet fast, your games will download back on to the system in 10 to 20 minutes

          • Radish

            At best it makes gaming digitally inconvenient. At worst it makes it very costly and very inconvenient and costs sales and gives horrible PR for Nintendo and makes porting games from third party devs worse. That defeats the purpose of gaming digitally. Give me 1TB or go home.

          • Gemmol Lewis

            you got a few years to wait for 1tb, we just reach 400 gb this year, but I understand your point, I would be set for the whole switch generation with 1tb too, I would not have to worry about another memory card, but I would be good with 500gb or 400gb also…….on Wii U I only use like 250 gb of space so I doubt I need more than 500 gb

          • Radish

            If you used 250gb on Wii U, I’d expect you to use a LOT more storage on Switch. Wii U didn’t get any major third party support, the only huge game requiring lots of storage was XCX. It’s looking like the Switch will be getting more major third party support (as there already are a few major titles). Not to mention that games get bigger every year.

          • Gemmol Lewis

            yeah but it goes back to my point of i would be okay deleting, with 400gb this is close to 20 big 3rd party games……..I only need 10 important ones….that never change out….and other 10 can change at any time……no way I play all 20 when im out, so a 400gb card or even a 256gb may fit all my needs because once nba 2k19 come out….I will delete 2k18 but keep the save data…..so from my point of view I will be okay with 400gb, but I could be proven wrong and if i do, then I will upgrade from 400gb

  • RoadyMike

    Mix of both on a case by case basis. For example, I’m definitely gonna buy Rocket League digitally to have it on my Switch at all times for ease of access. But physical versions to me are somewhat of a commemorate purchase, like the steelbook Metroid Prime Trilogy, Xenoblade, Smash, Pokemon, among others. Just to have something tangible with some boxart

    I’ll admit, I feel more secure buying digital because it isn’t prone to misplacement or loss. If anything happens I can redownload the game. That’s one reason my 3ds library is 70% digital. Plus, digital sales are much more frequent and such great value.

  • ««H3©TöR»»

    Physical is bragging rights, digital is not.

    • Busterblade

      It’s about keeping one’s Switch from filling up in the snap of a finger.

  • Gemmol Lewis

    Like I keep writing, and people keep ignoring,

    MICRO SD PRICES ARE DROPPING LIKE CRAZY

    it was just a year ago 128 gb cost 70, and the 64gb card cost 40 to 44, and the 32 gb card cost 23 dollars……

    after sandisk new card come out last year, all cards drop in price

    128gb card went from 70 dollars to 40 to 44 dollars replacing the 64gb card price

    64gb card went from 40 to 44 dollars to the price of the 32 gb costing 23 dollars for a 64gb card

    32gb card went from 23 dollars to 13 dollars

    and now sandisk drop a new card again this year the 400gb card, so what will happen again???? just look at how all san disk micro drop in price before and common sense shows

    the 128gb card will change price from 40 to 44 dollars to 23 dollars soon

    64gb will switch to 13 dollars

    and if they bring out another memory card next year they will drop again

    its san disk pattern…….so in 3 years the 400 gb card will cost 40 to 44

    • RoadyMike

      You seem to reeeeally believe people care about what you have to say m8
      Anyone who knows anything about tech knows storage prices are decreasing by the year. Unfortunately for you, we’re NOT AT these prices you keep repeating YET. Not with these higher capacity cards Probably won’t even be there in the next 2 years

      Easy enough for you to understand yet or do I have to draw a picture?

      • Gemmol Lewis

        where are you getting 2 years from….the 128 gb card cost 70 last year……its 40 to 44 this year……if we went by your words, wont that mean it should be 40 to 44 next year, so why did it drop in one year if what I said is not true??

        your whole response is assumptions………look at all of san disk price tag from past and each new card replace the other card, no card goes over 250 dollars…….so whatever the new card is get the 250 dollar price tag and every other card under switch price

        • RoadyMike

          I’m not saying prices aren’t going down. What I’m saying is that 128 GB SDs and higher are NOT at these 10 to 15$ price ranges and you seem to be convinced they are or will be in like the next few months

          SD card prices (the higher capacity ones at least) aren’t gonna be at the prices you keep spewing for a while. We’re not talking about the future but the present time in the Switch’s life. High capacity SD cards are still about 40$, which is the price you’re gonna be paying along with your Switch *right now*

          • Gemmol Lewis

            I never said next few months, it would take the 64gb price, like it did before when the 64gb cost 40 to 44 dollars, so in next few months it will drop down to the price of the 64gb now which cost 23, just have to wait for 400gb to get out more, usually the price sticks around May, when new 2018 models drop……and i said if they drop another card next year, then the 128gb card can move down in price again for the 13 dollars

          • Radish

            Sounds like you keep saying “next few months” as if you have some sort of vague prophecy like nostradamus.

            When can I expect 400gb microSD to be $40?

          • RoadyMike

            Years m8. Maybe 3. 5 tops depending how much they’re willing to drop these prices and how fast they can get these insane capacity cards to the masses

          • Radish

            Yeah, that’s going to be a major problem for Nintendo this generation.

          • Gemmol Lewis

            2018 models usually drop in May, so may……but the 400 gb will take 3 years to reach 40 to 44 range, it all depends if they make a new card each year for the next year, so if 3 new cards come out in next 3 years, then we will see it for that price

  • Reggie

    Physical all the way for me. Even though I’m now finding it hard to find space to keep all my game boxes, physical is just simply easier for me. That’s especially true now given the Switch’s limited space capacity. Plus I don’t like the loading times to download a game, especially big ones. =P

    The only time I’ll go digital is if there is no choice.

  • JasonBall

    For 3ds and Switch digital copy unless I have no choice. I have 20 full big budget 39.99 msrp at launch 3ds games, only two of which are physical, Tetris Axis and DoA Dimensions because there is no digital option. Switch I have only a few games period but they’re digital.

    Wii I go physical because I don’t trust HDMI output on Wii U. Wii U software I am not adverse to physical but all my games happen to be digital because of sales and I simply don’t want that many Wii U games.

  • metalpants

    Digital all the way.

    Physical just takes up space in my room/bags. I don’t wanna carry more stuff with me when I play Switch on the road… I just wanna pick it up and play.

    I like the convenience of having it all in the system or flash memory. Loads faster, you don’t have to change cards/discs, you don’t lose them or scratch/break them, nobody can steal them from you, if it’s deleted from your console or SD card for any reason, you can just redownload it any time since now they are registered to your account, etc. etc, etc.

    At the Walmart by my house, 200 GB cards are 70-80 bucks. So at the end of the day, convenience is king… and digital is all about convenience.

    No offence to physical aficionados. My first Switch game (BOTW) is the physical version ’cause I wanted to see the card and check out how the game card drive on Switch worked. But once I did that, every game I’ve bought since then is digital. I just like eliminating unnecessary hassle… so digital is definitely for me.

    • Busterblade

      Unnecessary hassle you say? When one says digital, I remember Wii-U, having to constantly remove stuff from it to make space for updates, patches etc. And that, when I’ve never had a game digital, so there you go.

      • metalpants

        Well, I had a 2TB HD for Wii U so… yeah… That was only a hassle for those who only had the default system memory to store data.

        • Busterblade

          Is it too much asked, to want that to last a while these days? Are we to factor in an extra cost in order to be able to future-proof our games as we buy more of them? Seems unfair to the consumer imho.

          • it probably is too much to ask considering devs regularly ship broken games

          • metalpants

            I get your point, but Nintendo has to watch their back as well. They’re a business after all. They lowered the price of the device as much as possible as it is, and to do that, they had to limit the factory storage capacity. We pay FAR more for our phones, and they come with the same amount of storage. Besides, the Switch is sporting some somewhat new portable technology which is yet to showcase its true potential. From my view, they get a pass this time. It’s somewhat uncharted territory after all.

      • all you had to do was stick a flash drive into the machine

        if you’re going all digital you’re not using the default storage

  • JJ

    Physical, I’d rather own my games (forever), when they’re released on physical media, rather than owning only a digital license, and if my system breaks or info/account get wiped and then the game leaves the digital marketplace I have lost this game.

    • it’s odd that some people claim its permanence and others want it because they can sell the games. downloadable games almost never leave the marketplace. when they do, the physical zealots come out in force even though they probably don’t own the game.

      the permanence argument is so weird. i still have a sega saturn i bought in the 90s. i haven’t hooked it up in a decade. most people who post online are always talking about the latest game or ones that aren’t even out that i have trouble believing that they’re playing something mediocre from five or ten years ago.

      • JJ

        The point is I could play physical games years later if I want to. With digital-well data doesn’t tend to last. And I really hoe you’re not calling all that prefer physical to digital “zealots”?

        • i have digital games from 2008
          they work just fine

          optical media does not always last
          it is flawed and fragile

          • JJ

            That’s your opinion, but I could argue it’s all how one takes care of their belongings like discs and cartridges. If handled correctly can last for years.

          • uh huh
            just like no one is going to come delete my games off my drive.
            discs and carts are not sturdy.
            you saying i have to take care of them proves that.

          • JJ

            Never said or not movies anyone would delete your data (on purpose), but hard drives fail, memory cards sometimes get corrupted (as well as system memory), and games aren’t sold forever on those servers.

  • Bart

    I just bought Binding of Isaac yesterday.

    It has a manual.

    The end.

  • Lumine

    I’m going all digital for the Switch but as for my PS4 and Xbox One it’s 50/50 some games I’ll buy digitally, others I’ll pick up a physical copy of.

  • Marcio Santos

    100% physical unless it’s only available digitally. Even because you can sell the physical game or exchange for another game already in the case of digital purchase is not possible to do so.

  • Anna Stopa

    Digital for new games and must-haves, physical for used games.

  • Anna Stopa

    Also, Switch is better suited for digital – you have your games everywhere you go !

    • Busterblade

      Unless you, oh I don’t know, don’t use it on the go? Because one has a 3DS for that? Or they don’t want to risk their home-console? If your Switch breaks, your dock isn’t going to be doing anything.

  • dbizal

    Physical > Digital.
    Especially when the majority of the time Digital versions of games are more expensive than the Physical copy.

  • Toni

    I kind of like those little cartridges (unlike discs that are not only slower but also less convenient) which is one reason why I prefer physical over digital, another is having all my games displayed as collection because the covers usually have great art and make my room more colorful;

    last is storage, just like the Wii U the switch doesn’t offer much in that regard and considering how it will need updates and such it’s going to use up all storage eventually even without games on it, so I don’t want to risk buying it digital just to be forced to buy external memory in order to keep the game

  • LordDisco

    I’m in the middle, too. Although I have a lot more digital games than I do physical at the moment. Most of that has to do with me traveling a lot for work, so if a game comes out while I’m in another area or country, I usually just download it. If I’m home, I prefer to get the physical copy.

    Of course the advantage of physical is that I can sell it or let my friends borrow it at will. With digital, I don’t have that luxury. However, the flip-side is that digital is always and instantly accessible, while physical copies can be forgotten, lost, stolen, or damaged (Well, this might not be entirely true for Nintendo consoles, but you get the point).

    Like right now, I really want to get Mario + Rabbids, but it’s not available in Japan yet, which makes me want to just grab it off the North American eShop. Or I can be patient and get the Japanese version when it eventually releases. haha.

  • FutureFox

    Pretty much the default expectation of these two paths is if the game is digital only and one really wants to play it then that settles conundrum itself.

    For me anything at or under $20 if a good candidate for digital download, also if the play time is under ten hours. With few exceptions its physical.

  • Tjnswitch

    BOTH !!! Games that I want on my system (Switch) all the time that I know i’ll be playing forever (MARIO KART 8 DX,BOTW,SONIC GAMES,anything RESIDENT EVIL) also eshop exclusives I get DIGITAL !!! Special Ed, Collectors, 1st Print and Deluxe PHYSICAL releases that appeal to me I will get those ! Its the best of both worlds. I am starting to lean a BIT more towards physical though….I learned my lesson when trading in my wii-u/new 3dsxl for a Switch that having physical games really does give back ($$$) as oppose to having a HUGE digital (Nintendo Network ID in this case) that is no longer used, all those “digital” purchases are in a cloud like 200 full games from 2013 to 2017. IF I could have just gotten back at least %5 or %10 back on those digital purchases I’m no longer using in exchange to delete my NNID (Since its NOT used within the Switch ) then I’d feel more solid about all digital.

    • Tjnswitch

      a 128 or higher microSD card is def. needed what ever the case maybe…especially if you plan on keeping your Switch over the next 5 to 8 years. The investment is much needed….also make sure you leave at least 4 to 5gb of free space on our (internal) system memory (for current and future game save data/updates) and you’ll be set !

  • FinalArcadia

    When possible, I go physical. I like having all the game cases to look at and keep nice and orderly, and I’m not a fan of having to buy SD cards just to download games I want when I could just buy them physical. When a game is only available digitally, I don’t mind too much since I have no other option (and I have plenty of VC games on Wii, Wii U, and 3DS), but especially for Nintendo consoles, I vastly prefer physical copies.

  • nekoknight

    As for me, I go digital all the way. The only real downside I can see to not owning physical is that you can’t resell a game if you end up not liking it. I also don’t have to pay sales tax, either. I just wish that eshop games were at least $10 less than their physical counterparts, since you’re not getting a game card or a box. I’m all about saving money.

  • R.Z.

    A bit of both.
    Ideally I would go with digital for games that I want to always have with me, like multiplayer games or games with high replayability that can be played in bursts, and physical for “one off” games that I won’t go back to for a while (if ever) once finished.

    However, with Nintendo’s pricing policy, design philosophy and one-off e-shops for each platform that don’t offer cross-buy as a standard, clients get screwed whenever they decide to go digital, so in practice I only go digital if I don’t have the choice or if there’s a really good deal going on.

    The prices on e-shop are always the highest possible, and you don’t get the perks offered by retail (preorder bonuses, loyalty programs [mynintendo is a joke] or even just the pretty box) where games are usually cheaper by at least 5 bucks (usually 10 or more). To me a digital game is worth less than a physical game if only for the packaging and physical storage format, so I’d only start to find the prices reasonable if they were some 10 bucks below the MSRP for the retail versions (which would in practice align them with the real retail prices).
    With Nintendo’s pricing policy, If you don’t care to go either way, it’s just never worth it financially to go digital for new games.

    My second contention point is that Nintendo always chooses to outfit its consoles with very small storage capacities. They are good enough for a bunch of digital-only indie games, but a couple of retail games are usually all t takes to bust your in-built storage capacity.
    So there’s an extra cost added on the consumer for enjoying the priviledge of going digital, which is annoying seeing how the digital format is already more expensive.
    Sure, if you think about it buying a big 128 gb SD card for some 60 bucks (no, they are not 20 bucks as some are trying to make you believe around here) that will hopefully last you for your whole console’s life is not such a big deal (I’m going with the hypothesis that you’re still mostly a physical consumer here, otherwise the 128 gb are peanuts), but on that first game that you need it for it basically doubles the price of entry.

    Lastly, Nintendo has that policy of having distinct digital stores for every console and no convenient way to keep track of your library, which makes me feel uneasy regarding the permanence of my digital purchases. There’s also the fact that cross-buy isn’t a thing unless the editors go out of their way to make it so, which really sucks. And let’s not even talk about virtual console.

    So long story short, when you’re a NIntendo player, you really have to treasure that convenience of not having to load a different game cart to go digital seeing what it costs you compared to physical releases.

    One last thing, some two gens ago I would have been “physical only to the death” because I really like the idea of having a collection of games physically that I can “plug and play” down the road.
    However with the generalized practice of day one patches, DLC or even parts of the basic game that you need to download that aspect is gone and physical pretty much has only the packaging going for it (as well as the possibility to trade and lend, but tbh I am not really concerned).

  • RoadMog

    I’ve largely moved to digital only. I’m not the biggest of having a physical collection, and the access of digital content instead of switching out discs and carts appeals to me. I think physical still holds some advantages over digital, notably price drops that digital content doesn’t have(though I suppose in some small situations the opposite is true, where limited physical copies pushes the cost upwards)

  • I buy some digitals on the rare occasion that the eShop isn’t being stingy, but I prefer physical. More sentimental, cheaper used, and able to be resold.

  • nukejello

    Physical because you can sell it later.

  • Supporter

    I definitely prefer physical but I don’t mind digital if it’s the only option to receive a game. Usually I prefer smaller games like Blaster Master Zero as digital only though, not games like Rhythm Heaven Megamix.