Comment Poll: Digi Downloads

By Jim Rossignol on January 19th, 2009 at 12:14 pm.


We want to know a bit about your digital download habits, like whether you’ve bought a game via digital download in the past year, and how many you’ve bought. If you want to tell us, then hit the polls after the jump and click truthwards.

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181 Comments »

  1. jacksonmc says:

    I still definitely prefer having a boxed copy of something, but digital has proved to be a great method for indie games particularly and something I’m in a rush to get hold of or don’t feel like waiting for a late release date.

    The thing holding digital distribution back for me and I would suspect alot of 3rd world countries as well (ironicaly exactly who this stuff should be great for) is the cost of bandwidth> With games starting at 4 gigs these days and then just blowing up from there I cant afford to download most new releases. At $10 a gig round about it becomes exorbitantly expensive and gets rid of all the benefits of digital for me, slow to get and more expensive in the end.

  2. El_MUERkO says:

    steam has gotten a lot of my money in the last 12 months

  3. Jetsetlemming says:

    Is the final question for spending total or game purchases? Because since 2005 or so I haven’t bought a single retail PC game.

  4. Pags says:

    I buy cheap indie things, so while I bought plenty of games via digital download (mostly via the dev’s website) my expenditure didn’t end up being anything ridiculous. Oh and the Steam holiday sales were good for me too.

    I save a lot by not having anything to pay subs on. Watch me as I laugh at you MMO-people.

  5. Eamo says:

    Every game I bought last year was digital, almost entirely from steam. Of course since valve unveiled their new “Rape the Eurozone” price policy I am back to buying box games for the first time in about 3 years.

    Where is that promised talk with valve about why they screwed us over with steam pricing by the way?

  6. matte_k says:

    I tend to buy boxed copies (especially if it’s some lunatic special edition, like the spiffing FarCry 2 wooden box with goodies), but thanks to the RPS Hivemind this year a good portion of digital downloads have been recommended and purchased including: Dangerous High School Girls In Trouble, Penny Arcade Episodes 1 & 2, Audiosurf, World of Goo and SiN Episodes: Emergence (hooray for mega sales). I’ve even purchased some games as gifts via DD, and now my girlfriends phone bill is drastically reduced as we talk via Steam since I got her playing World of Goo.

  7. subedii says:

    If possible I think one more question should be added:

    If available do you prefer to buy a game:

    - Digital Download?
    - In-Store?

    Anyway, interesting results so far. Obviously given the readership here, results are going to be skewed, but I’m surprised that maybe 9/10 of us bought a game via DD last year (As I’m reading 408 against 23). Just three or four years ago those results would probably have been reversed.

  8. Nitre says:

    I would be buying many more games digitally if i had a credit card of my own.

  9. Davee says:

    I’ve bought most of my games online lately – but that might be because they have been Steam-based mostly (eccept for EVE that is).
    For example, I had heard of Mount&Blade via a friend of mine, but never more than that. But after seeing an RPS article about it i decided to download the demo and try it. Bought it less than an hour later. I would also likely have bought L4D even if you didn’t post any articles, but they sure made me even more exited about the game :)

    DD is the way to the future I say (and Steam will be our messiah!… What…?)!

  10. danielcardigan says:

    I haven’t bought a game by download since Defcon.

    Amazon or Play was almost always cheaper. I HAVE missed out on some of these smaller games which I do regret.

    I’ve no standpoint against downloads, I just stopped doing it because the VFM wasn’t there. My Steam account has about a half a dozen download only games on it and twice that on my Stardock/Impulse account.

    Oh, and I know about the Steam sales but I don’t buy stuff off the internet at weekends because I’m probably going to be drunk and it’s like taking sweeties from a baby for them.

  11. Fetthesten says:

    If it weren’t for RPS I wouldn’t have bought World of Goo, probably. At least I wouldn’t have preordered it. So thanks for that, RPS.

  12. Lobotomist says:

    Buying games via digital download is cheaper, easier – and often the only way if there are no physical copies in nearby shops.

    No wonder its preferred way to purchase games for PC

  13. FernandoDANTE says:

    “Did you buy a game via digital download because of a recommendation on RPS?”

    ALL FOUR of the games I bought digitally in the past 12 months were bought because of RPS recommendations. Audiosurf, Half-Life for 99 cents, Team Fortress 2, and Left 4 Dead

  14. danielcardigan says:

    Case in point M&B £18 off play.com, £21.76 off the Taleworlds website.

  15. Jazmeister says:

    Digi download – bringing games to hermits (with broadband)

  16. James Brophy says:

    I prefer not to have a box and not to give my credit card details to everyone with an indy game so I generally wait for things to turn up on steam. Took ages to get a hold of world of goo. The major exception to this is the sam and max game… I cant wait for them. there too good.

  17. Craymen Edge says:

    I can see the results but can’t vote on anything because there’s nothing clickable.

    I think this might be an issue with my shitty ‘access the net
    via a remote desktop on a central server’ setup at work though.

  18. wants €'s not that cheap currency says:

    You should make the questionary as one form because otherwise you can’t really show dependencies. For me it was Braid – on that edgie Box that likes to spin around.

  19. yhancik says:

    So far I’ve always preferred boxed games, but a couple of things changed this year :

    - I finally can use PayPal (I don’t have any CC)
    - our ISP finally upped the monthly transfert limit from 10Gb to 25Gb

    … which is still not much, though.

    For now, I find digital download mostly interesting for more or less (small) indie games that are unavailable (or pretty hard to find) in boxed version.

    For big, AAA games, I’m still not sure I would prefer to download 4-8Gb for (mostly the same price) than getting the DVD from a shop.
    Not to mention the requirement to have Steam (for example) running in the background.

  20. fulis says:

    I bought Trials 2 partially because of RPS
    World of Goo because of RPS

    I buy most of my games on Steam except when they’re significantly cheaper at online retailers, which happens, but not that often because I almost exclusively buy discounted games. I’ve only bought one full price retail game in the last 4-5 years I think

    I might buy Mirror’s Edge just out of principle

    I don’t want to know how much I spent on games in the last 12 months, but I’ve bought more than one game a month on Steam and I’ve bought some collections too.

    I pirated BioShock and bought it later, and I pirated Far Cry 2 and played it for a bit and I’m glad I didn’t buy it. I might buy GTA IV if they get their performance straightened out

    Once you actually dare to give Steam a chance I think you will embrace it. I used to not trust online shopping, and I wanted discs for security and just for having something physical, but I’ve realized that I don’t need or want it anymore. People are resistant to change and so was I, but Steam is just more convenient

  21. Dave says:

    Games purchased because of RPS:
    World of Goo
    Mount & Blade
    Titan Quest Gold

    Games not purchased because of RPS:
    Dead Space

  22. Hermit says:

    @Jazmeister
    Damn right. I buy most games, boxed or otherwise, online anyway, and digital download means I get them quicker. Valve’s weekend deals and GoG help too; cheap prices like that mean I’ll end up buying stuff with the intention of playing it in the future. I nabbed quite a few games in the Steam’s sale at Christmas and still haven’t installed some of them.

    I find it funny that many “PC is dying!” doommongers ignore digital PC download sales, then by contrast tout the 360 and PS3 online stores as a sign of the healthy console market.

  23. McTecman says:

    http://steamcommunity.com/id/tecman/games

    Help me, I am addicted to Steam.

  24. Matt says:

    I pretty much only buy Valve games digitally. I did buy Half Life 2 in a box, but that was pre-Steam. The only other games I bought off Steam last year were Audios(m)urf and Abe’s Oddessy, or however you spell it.

    I’m another box guy really… The type of bloke who has 360 games he only played once when he first bought it, but still doesn’t want to trade them in just in case he may want to play them some time in the future. So yeah, there’s boxes everywhere here.

  25. fulis says:

    Btw on the whole € vs £ vs $ thing
    The new prices include VAT. For me they are EXACTLY the same as they were in $ a few months ago. That still sucks though because the tax on Steam purchases doubled and the dollar went up, so prices effectively got 50% higher

  26. Hermit says:

    In fact, quite a number of the games I bought as retail boxes over digital downloads were due to the lure of a Collector’s Edition. I’m a sucker for a well stocked box of goodies (I can’t really get into Fallout 3 but I consider the purchase worth it for the bobblehead alone :p)

  27. fulis says:

    I think you should add a question about how many full priced games people buy

  28. Johnnymac says:

    Got L4D (not really on a recommendation, as I was planning on getting it anyway… I have a soft spot for shooting the undead/infected), Audiosurf (it was on sale, and a bunch of folks I game with said it was beast), Stalker SoC (during a gaming drought, and was picked up for cheap), and most recently, Trials 2 (thanks to the many RPS mentions of it… actually was so much fun, got my bro and my best friend to buy as well.)

  29. SteveHatesYou says:

    I bought World of Goo because of all the raving you guys did about it on here (and I didn’t regret it one bit).

  30. Morph says:

    Having 4+ as the top number in the second question is waaay too small, surely. I bought 4 in the steam sale, my total is over 20.
    And the last question – what percentage of your spending is on digital products? Does that mean percentage of spending on games? I mean a lot of my spending goes on rent, food, bills etc.

  31. Fitzmogwai says:

    Virtually all of my games shopping over the last year have been digital. The only purchase I partially regret is Outrun 2006 Coast 2 Coast, which was on the recommendation of a certain KG. The single player game is indeed fabulous, but no-one mentioned the fact that the multiplayer / online component (which does constitute a significantly large part of the gameplay options) is totally, utterly and irredeemably broken. Sega don’t seem to have ever been in the least bit bothered. Anyone wants to talk about shoddy console to PC ports, there’s example #1.

  32. Hypocee says:

    My number for this year is a bit of a spike – I picked up LOTS in the Steam sale – but I still would have bought more than 4. All non-scrambled, low-priced indie stuff – L4D is my first big-title digital purchase, I don’t plan to add a peer anytime soon, and I still wouldn’t buy a big title through anything but Steam. I was in the Sword of the Stars crowd when their vital patches were taking multiple months after release to percolate through D2D and GG. No thanks, ever.

    I should probably work out some way to volunteer as a ‘gift’ purchaser for whipping bEuropean gamers…but I bet they ban you from Steam if you do that excessively. Right?

  33. nihohit says:

    A question that I think should be added – do you buy online full priced games?
    Since the habit of selling discount games hasn’t really caught on in Israel, I buy my games when their price drops beneath the twenty dollars.

  34. ad_hominem says:

    I’v found that, due in the main part to Steam, that I am buying more games and the majority are now downloads. If I didn’t have a 360, I wouldn’t buy any games by retail.

  35. fulis says:

    Hypocee I think purchases are region locked on Steam =/
    So if you buy a game in the US you can’t play it in Sweden, but I’m not sure

  36. teo says:

    I bought one game that had 3rd party DRM (Clear Sky) and I had to crack it to be able to play it

    I chose not to buy some games because of their DRM

  37. Alex F says:

    My digital downloads have been limited to games not available via retail–indies, the GalCiv 2 expansions, etc.

    I’ve come close to buying a few things off Steam, but the DRM is too much. I’d happily buy games off GOG, but so far I own pretty much all the ones I’m interested in!

  38. Hermit says:

    @Fulis

    Not sure if that’s true. Steam certainly restricts the games available in your region, but gifts from other countries should work fine (So if you’ve got a US mate he can gift you Ubisoft stuff no problem, for instance). Unless they’ve changed that recently.

    If there’s a region-specific version of the game though, that is what is installed/played. So for example, playing TF2 in Germany will always load up the censored version (No blood, gibs are random springs. It’s like partymode all the time).

  39. Theory says:

    Yikes: £120 last year on Steam + £40 for World of Goo and Crayon Physics. My only retail purchases in that time were Spore and Pathologic; Spore because it was only available through EA’s crap download system and Pathologic because it was just too much cheaper at retail to bother buying off Gamersgate.

    I also bought Jim’s book of course. :)

  40. Yontan says:

    I think i feel ill at the sudden realisation at how much money i’ve just spent on gaming in 2008. :S
    including subs, lifetime sub, package deals, spur-of-the-moment buys and long anticipated titles its actually scary. And somehow I’ve managed to budget for it without knowing how much i’m spending on gaming in total… :S, weird.

  41. Yontan says:

    Damned valve value pack.

  42. cliffski says:

    I buy my games digitally when its easy. Scarily, I seem to spend a lot less on games than most people here. Most new games leave me bored.
    The last digital game I bought was Sins of a solar empire. No idea what the last boxed one would be. Something old probably.

  43. Severian says:

    Within past year:

    1. Audiosurf
    2. Defense Grid: the Awakening

    Both worth it, ‘though impulse buys.

    For now, I’ve stuck to “casual-esque” games in digital form. I can’t quite explain it, but if I’m going to experience a big bombastic blockbuster, like Fallout3, I still enjoy going to the store, taking a copy from the shelves, reading an actual instruction manual, etc. However, I could easily see myself giving up on this model entirely and happily moving to 100% digital download in the near future.

  44. Hypocee says:

    I mention it because Jonas says it works. Will look around tonight, I guess.

  45. SPEEDCORE says:

    Only DD game this past 12mths has been Audiosurf on steam. (hmmm haven’t played that in awhile… //powers up steam)

    Had planned on getting afew games during xmas on steam cause of the specials but of course I forgot!

    If I’m going to be spending $50-100~ for a game I want a box. I’m oldskool.

    and ofcourse the usual month subs to an mmo.

  46. NukeLord says:

    The only games I’ve bought through DD the past year have been audiosurf and the id super pack from steam. Though with more games becoming available and the current UK pricing I think it’s highly likely that this year will bring a lot more to me.

  47. Kismet says:

    43.77% Retail – 56.23% Digital here for 2008.

    Only one game of the so-called Triple-A category has been bought digitally at release price though (Left 4 Dead).

    Hard to say where the balance will be by the end of 2009.
    Probably GoG.com, Impulse and Indies going DRM-free direct sales will get a fair chunk of that 36% of my games expenditure that went to Steam in 2008, but looking at what I’ve effectively bought on Valve digital store this year I suspect most of that money will simply be saved or spent not-on-games.
    At the same time, there’s less and less stuff released by the big publishers that appeals me, so retail may end up not gaining ground percent-wise anyway.

  48. Brian says:

    I don’t care about the box at all anymore. I’ve got fast internuts (12Mb) and less than no shelf space (I have a column of game boxes on the floor next to me) so digital is the way to go.

    The last game I insisted on buying in a box was for the collectors edition of Hellgate London, but that stupid box was 50% foam so that was the last straw.

  49. vader says:

    Yikes! It’s scary to realize how much you spend on games.

    Though I do buy less and less games online since the price on steam compared to a boxed copy is simply silly nowadays. Well atleast for us Swedes. The last game I bought was Fallout 3 for €18 from a store. Compare that to the €45 steam charges.

  50. teo says:

    Hypocee awesome :D
    If you buy a 50$ game on Steam in the US, is it 50$ or is VAT added after that?