Consumers Reject Digital Downloads

The digital download path is one that is full of cracks, bumps and weeds when it comes to getting through to console owners. Whilst services such as Steam thrive and flourish on the PC, there has been no such breakthrough for our beloved Sony, Microsoft or Nintendo devices.

It seems console owners really do love their boxed products.  Even the loss of the much maligned UMD was criticised when Sony unleashed the PSPgo onto the public.


A survey of over 1,000 people by research firm Ipsos MediaCT found that 64 per cent preferred physical discs for their games over digital copies.  In all honesty we are surprised the figure was that low.

The reasons for the rejection of digital download are numerous.  Many gamers have been brought up with boxed games, and as such have fond memories of them.  Digital downloads are – dare we say it – a touch soulless.  There is no anticipation on the bus ride home with game in hand; there is no cursory glance at the instruction manual before deciding you know how to play the game already.

Factor in the loss of trade in value, and the generally high price of digital downloads, and it’s clear to see why the boxed product has a place in our hearts.

With giants such as SEGA backing digital downloads we have no doubt they will become the norm – but will it be this generation?

Source: MCV



  1. hmmm, I’m guessing that (using myself as an example) many people were early adopters of the PS3/360 and have therefore reasonably limited drive storage.Suddenly the idea of filling what limited drive space I have left with a full game when I could just have it on disk, becomes a reason within itself to limit downloads. When we get consoles with 1+TB drives and proper high speed internet, these things will no longer be issues.

    By the way, anyone here know how to change a Gravatar? I’ve looked in my profile settings and can’t see the option anywhere.

    • You can search the forum for a guide. It’s fairly simple.

    • Broadband speed is a killer for me – would dread trying to download an 8GB game.

      • don’t forget the 30+GB games

      • What like LBP, was 40-50GB… now a paltry 2GB download. and the 40GB inFAMOUS, now 7GB… I wonder how the sizes of games have been shrunk so much, is it that they are only so big in the first place because of the Blu-ray drive’s limitations with seek speed? Obviously compressing audio helps reduce size and as long as its still 5.1 does it really matter

      • @cc_star – It is amazing how they shrink those sizes, but the size of games will surely become bigger and bigger as time goes on, and the next generation will be an even bigger step up. I just don’t see download speeds keeping up with what we can fit on a disc.

    • For me it’s more about price/value. Lots of games are available on the 360 store, but the price is way to high. BFBC1 £20.00 via DD, yet it’s a tenner brand new and boxed in the shops.

  2. I wonder if these big companies have considered the internet speed in rural areas, I’m currently in Cornwall and my internet is 0.5MB it took me 2 whole days (full 48hrs) to download GTA San Andreas and that’s a just a small download.

    • That’s insane!

    • this is the exact reason I, as a Londoner, was happy to pay the 50p broadband tax the former government mooted, to bring all the other regions into line.

  3. Hey “lil folken” ;-)
    Congratz on new job

  4. I prefer having discs to digital, I just like physically having ‘it’ rather than within something else.

  5. I prefer disks to digital also. For many reasons.

    1. I just don’t trust it, I’d rather not have 10 games I lose if my console breaks.
    2. Downloads are unreasonably highly priced considering there is no disk burning, packaging or shipping costs.
    3. It’s an obvious, and badly planned ploy at ruling out the preowned market.

    My opinion on digital downloads is not limited to games however; books, music I all prefer to have physical copies of.

    • hear, hear.

      Made me laugh as well on that Ipad advert were it mentions about “more books than you could ever read” and I just thought yeah, but I’m not gonna get mugged for a paperback if I’ve got my head buried in that.

      • “Hand over the Robert Ludlum and nobody get’s hurt” lol. Nothing beats the feel of a real book in your hands.

        I’m not a fan of digital downloads for a number of reasons. As has been mentioned I can’t trade in, sell or lend out a download the same way I can a physical copy. I’d be more inclined to support a strictly digital format if there was a significal (I’m talking more than 50%) reduction in price over a physical verson. Digitally speaking, and forgive any ignorace I may be showing but as far as I can tell there are no manufacturing costs, no storage costs, no shipping costs and probably removal of other costs associated with the distribution of physical media so why would I pay the same price for an intangible verson when I can get the physical version at the same price and do what the hell I want to with it when I’m done with it?

  6. well personally i like having the game box and all the gubbins… digital downloads are not something i really care about… if i had the option i would buy the boxed game every time.

  7. I think there’s room for both, though I do like having something physical. I think my generation always will. Maybe the next generation of gamers will see no issue with the lack of physical media, but for us old-timers it’s always going to be difficult to let go.

    • I don’t know how old you are Kovacs, but I’m 24, and I don’t see myself giving into digital downloads. So maybe we’re from the same gen =)I love reading the manual before I put my game into the PS3, or while it’s installing. I downloadeda few games, and it’s just…bleh. Not to mention the price.

  8. I think it comes down to one thing. Price. Not many people will pay full price for a digital copy of a retail game. Look at the prices of games on demand on live. Way way overpriced compared to second hand games. The second hand games market exits no matter how much the publishers don’t want it to. Lower prices and watch the money start rolling in.

  9. I’m ready for digital downloads… disks are a pain

    There are some big hurdles to get over first though, a largely unreliable broadband network in the UK, download limits, drive sizes, ease of replacement should your console breakdown, pricing is still largely uncompetitive as there is largely no competition, pricing also rarely reflects the fact that you don’t own a resell-able asset.

    But over the next year or two the majority of these issues will be cleared up and we can just get on with the full digital revolution

    • The addition of multiple retail sources for digital downloads or some sort of 2nd hand market place would be a key point in that delivery methods development I feel.

  10. I like having the box too but we have to be forward-thinking. All this plastic packaging, Blurays coated with chemicals, the transport cost, the manufacturing cost is absolute death for the environment, and now demand is so high it is really out of control. We need to embrace digital downloads as a matter of urgency to try and reduce the carbon footprint of video games (and music and movies).

    • Very well said, Katy. I’m a huge fan of digital downloads (for all media) but appreciate the trade-in value is negated almost everytime. Something that smarts like hell.

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