I'll be the first to admit, I love Steam its a great way to purchase PC games.
As most people will notice the PC section in your local EB or Gamestop has gotten noticeable smaller down to one shelf section on the wall or sometimes just an isle shelf stuck in the back.
More and more people are turning to digital distribution as a way to get the latest PC game and sometimes its the only option if you don't have a EB or Best Buy nearby.
In the last couple of years Ive probably bought 20+ titles from Steam and Direct2Drive, however if you look at the purchases I have made you will notice that they were all games that were on sale.
And why do you ask why do I only purchase games when they are on sale? The reason is Digital Distribution.
Now at this point some of you may be scratching your head and saying what? Let me explain.....
When a new game comes out, and lets say its the Dragon Age: Orgins which is available on both Steam and Direct2Drive for $49.99 for the regular edition or $64.99 for the deluxe collectors edition, now if we ordered it from EB and got the actual box we pay the same price, and that's where the problem is.
When you pay the same price for the digital copy as you do for the box copy, you are better off buying the box.
Now you might be asking yourself why do you say that? Well here's why...
When you buy the digital copy that's all you get, the game downloaded onto your PC, when you buy the box version you not only get the discs so that you can install right away, (means no waiting to download the game), you have a permanent backup if your computer crashes. Now you may be saying wait, you can make a backup with Steam and D2D as well, and I say yes you can, but there maybe sometime in the future that those services will be discontinued, (unlikely at this point of time, but its a possibility). But the real value you get from buying the box version over the digital comes down to whats inside the box.
In most boxed games you will normally have a printed manual, now i know people will say but there is a PDF version of the manual with the digital version. That's well and good most box games also include a PDF version on the disc as well, how ever its not something you can go thru quickly. When I need some info on the game I'm playing I find it easier to quickly thumb thru the manual than so tab out of the game load up a PDF reader and scroll thru the pages to try and find what i want.
Secondly there are the extras that maybe in the box this is especially true if it a collectors edition. Dragon Age: Orgins Deluxe edition contain a Steel Case, Cloth Map, Making of DVD, plus a number of added digital extras.
Now the digital copy only includes the digital extras, plus the Addon called Wardens Keep, which can be bought for 7$.
Even adding on an extra 7$ for the collectors edition the box version is just a way better deal than the digital version.
So until the price of the digital download becomes more reasonable I'll see you at the store