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. P.T. says:

    I bought L4D, World of Goo, Crayon Physics Deluxe and probably something else. RPS should get a cut of all those, since the RPS reviews helped. Of course, if RPS got a cut, I wouldn’t believe RPS anymore. I buy mostly digital for the PC because its so easy and for the instant gratification.

  2. caesarbear says:

    My download purchasing is still a low percentage. However my numbers are still ignored by NPD, as about 70% of my games purchases are boxes through online vendors.

  3. minipixel says:

    Boxes only, retail or online. No downloads for the moment. Too much control lost on the product, especially with the current state of DRM.

  4. Muzman says:

    My first and only digital game buy was Audiosurf for my sister late last year. It worked out ok. I might do it again for something small like that. But the prospect of a proper hefty game that way seems like far too much for my poor bandwidth quota. I’d have to nurse the connection at 3 in the morning and hope the planets align for nice decent speeds.

  5. smorgasbord says:

    Bought quite a few on steam this year. Mostly though, they were budget or indie games with the exception of L4D. I still tend to buy retail boxes for big new titles. Partly because id prefer a box for those and partly because it takes so bloody long to download for those only on cheapo broadband.

  6. Krupo says:

    Who’s spending 80-100% on digital product???

  7. Joseph says:

    Only via steam.

  8. spelk says:

    I buy a lot over digital download, mainly Steam, but also some titles on Impulse. Also a good number of the games I play on the PC are independant, so many of them are obtained via download and use key codes to activate. I still buy retail products – but I like the convenience of having the DRM built into a system like Steam (most of the time) so that I’m not changing discs to play different games. I also think digital distribution serves my immediacy needs, in that if I like a demo of the title, I can then go and purchase it without the need for searching retail offline and online for a boxed copy, many more exotic/obscure indie titles just aren’t available this way.. so I’d put a big thumbs up for digital downloads getting the content to the customer.

    I also applaud the reduction in the amount of house/shelf space I take up with games. Most of my boxed products having been slotted away in a disc only folder, with the key code pages being torn off and stuffed in behind them. I simply haven’t the room to store all the boxes anymore.

    The only thing that concerns me is that your games are tied up into a mechanism, and if the relevant company goes down the pan, you’ll lose quite a hefty number of gaming assets. You can make local backups of the software, but the authentication and update procedures are tied directly into the download system… so perhaps spreading the load across one or two digital distributors is the way forward. Fingers crossed Valve or Stardock don’t take a nosedive in the near future..

  9. Shifter says:

    I bought 7 games that I can remember in 2008. 5 in the Steam sale/weekend deals:

    STALKER
    Trials 2 (RPS+)
    Far Cry 1
    Ultimate Doom
    I-fluid

    2 full price:

    Bioshock (That was in 2008 right?)
    Left 4 Dead

    2 old games on the cheap:

    Fahrenheit
    Price of Persia 2 (My old disk got scratched)

    And I got a 90 day timecard for EVE Online before I quit.

    I think I actually spent less than I voted, that comes to under £100. I could have spent alot less though.

    Games I didn’t touch:

    STALKER
    I-fluid

    Games I played very little:

    Bioshock
    Left 4 Dead
    Prince of Persia 2
    EVE online

    Games I play occasionally:
    Doom
    Fahrenheit

    Games I played alot:
    Far Cry

    Games I play alot:
    Trials 2

    The game I played for hundreds of hours more than all the others combined, desprite having had it since 2004:

    Counter Strike: Source

  10. Shifter says:

    Oh yeah, I almost forgot. Tecman, I put your Steam URL into

    http://www.alabasterslim.com/worth.php

    and it says:

    You own 194 Steam Games worth ~ $2446.23

    You ARE addicted to Steam.

  11. Kanakotka says:

    Four downloaded, 3 bought in physical form.

  12. Duoae says:

    Nice poll. I bought Sam and Max season 1 (counted it as one game as it was one purchase) and Left 4 Dead.

    I have a fair few games on Steam and it’s the only online service i’ll waste any money on. My problem with most digital downloads (GoG excluded) is that you’re paying full price for a long-term rental with no consumer rights tied to that purchase, just a ‘oh we’ll give you something to let you play if we go down’ comment.
    S&M was cheap – like £5 so i don’t mind losing that and Left 4 Dead is essentially sort of like an MMO in my mind – if the gameplay is good and the community is there it’s like paying for a sub to a local centre or something.

    Oh, and just in case people forgot, i also hate DRM – in the online activation sense of the modern meaning. I’m completely fine with disc checks etc.

  13. BobJustBob says:

    Heh, I spaced on the poll earlier and counted console stuff. Of course you snobs don’t care about that. :P

    My percentage of digital vs. physical when considering only the PC is much higher than 80%. I bought just a handful of games on disc this year and 50+ digitally.

  14. macc says:

    I got quite a few games from Steam:

    -X3 Reunion
    -X3 Terran conflict
    - Vampires: The Masquerade bloodlines
    - Orange Box
    - Hitman: Blood money
    - Prey (the 5 dollar thing)
    - Audiosurf

    Games like Far Cry 2 and Fallout 3 I bought retail, because it was quite a lot cheaper in the local store.

    Prices need to be more competitive on Steam.

  15. Stick says:

    Whole bunch of stuff off Steam, SinsOASE off Impulse and Mass Effect PC off the abominable must-be-destroyed EA downloader thingy. (What can I say, I’m impatient and MEPC was released on a bloody national holiday of shop closing.)

  16. moo says:

    Just say Sins instead lol

  17. TooNu says:

    L4D and EvE articles made me take up EvE again and buy L4D. Great, inspired writing affects my wallet so :(

  18. theanorak says:

    Hmmm. I’m the same as a few commenters, I think, in that my console habits push the proportion of digital delivery in my spending.

    Then again, factoring in things like DLC can bump it a bit. I’ve bought a bunch of stuff from PSN/Xbox Live Marketplace over the past year. And a fair chunk from Steam — particularly in their sales.

    Also, I’ll echo Mr Chug. Thanks *so* much for recommending Trials 2. Can’t think how many hours I must have “wasted” thinking I was only playing for 5 minutes.

    Oh yeah, and Vampire: Bloodlines: The Maskerade (or whatever it was called).

  19. Fraser says:

    About half of my digital downloads were console, but I didn’t notice a stipulation for PC-only. You lot sold me on World of Goo.

    I estimated my total spend in Aus dollars, ignoring the pound sign. Then when I remembered all the extra games I’d bought over the year the total just about doubled, so it worked out the same!

  20. Rei Onryou says:

    Interesting…I’ve spent about £150 on digital distribution and about £150 on retail.

    As for RPS recommendations, there’s WoG, the X-COM collection and several wonders from the Steam sale.

  21. KindredPhantom says:

    Now ask how often i actually play the game i have bought and downloaded digitally.
    It is common for me to buy games on steam and not play them or only play them once or twice for a bit then not touch them again.

  22. Sam says:

    Kings bounty, Space rangers 2, World of goo, Sins of a solar empire, Fallout 1+2, Tomb raider anniversary, Xcom, Beyond good and evil, Children of the nile Alexandria, Hinterland, all digital, that i can remember + LOTRO and WoW subs at various times. i got fallout 3 thru amazon tho. Ugh, well i’ve just realised i have too much disposable income.

  23. solipsistnation says:

    These days Steam (and to a lesser extent GOG.com) has become my purchasing platform of choice. Best Buy gives me a headache and I have to drive across town, whine whine whine. But if I can download a game, I will, unless there’s a pretty cool special edition like the Fallout 3 Pip Boy thing. Overall, though, digital downloads are the way to go.

  24. Hmm-Hmm. says:

    I wonder, is digitally purchasing a game without having to download it -at that specific point in time- still considered a digital download? If not, maybe you should’ve used ‘online purchase’ or something.

    ‘nyway, I purchased Aquaria and Defcon from Ambrosia, of whom I’m a rather devoted customer ever since Escape Velocity. Which you wouldn’t know of because you’re a bunch of non-Mac using heretics. *ahem*

  25. Morte says:

    Whilst I would prefer to buy by download (it should be quick, cheap and low hassle) I tend to buy games as discs in boxes because:

    - It’s usually cheaper. Mail order boxes get discounted far more aggressively than downloads. This is madness.

    - Steam takes a week to load and tries to take your life over once it has.

    - I’ve heard a few too many gripes about download services like D2D being slow with getting their versions of patches out for games like Neverwinter Nights.

    So the games I’ve bought by download this year are Space Rangers 2 (a weekend special), EVE (unavailable on disc), and various bits of Guild Wars (noted for their slick infrastructure).

  26. Eschatos says:

    STALKER: Clear Sky because of you guys, and one or two others I don’t remember.

  27. spacedoubt says:

    How about the question “Would you buy via digital download if you had access to a credit card?”

    I don’t know about other people, but I do feel like I’m missing out. =(

  28. cjlr says:

    Heh, I picked £300+ but only because I automatically read it as $300…

    No digital downloads for me, but that’s only because I don’t have a credit card. Although, even if I did, there isn’t much I would buy – mostly things that are unavailable in plastic-disc-and-dead-tree edition (expansions for GCII, EUIII…).

    I’m rather paranoid and skeptical about relying on a digital handshake in order to actually obtain something I’ve bought. It means that you need an internet connection, for one, and that every step in a long chain of communications goes perfectly. And all of it is valid only so long as the service is maintained. I’d rather just have a disc, thanks (even if, as I can never get over, one once exploded in my drive). Plus, I just like having a nice, printed manual.

    And finally… Is there any reason not to pirate the stuff, in the case of older games? XCOM and a few others on Steam, or, for that matter, all of GOG…? In most of those cases the original publisher and developer have ceased to exist anyway. Five minutes with DOSBox and your favourite file-sharing client, and you’re set.

    And, bizarrely, I have this old Interplay box set, which I believe was a 15th anniversary compilation of 15 titles: Fallout, Descent, and Battle Chess, among others… And my favourite racing game ever, Whiplash (which I think was originally Fatal Racing in Europe). I think it was about $10 at a Business Depot back in the last millenium, and even my nine year old brain could recognize what a deal it was. And it turns out that these are more or less the first batch of games GOG got their hands on (and they’d try to charge you > $50! But to be fair, you’d get a lot of pre- and sequels thrown in too).

  29. Daniel says:

    I bought every game I could online. Some games were not available online in my region: Crysis (it was offered later), Mass Effect, Assassin’s Creed (I think it was offered later), Dead Space (it became available this year). There might be one or two more, but, if so, they are not GfW — they do not appear on the Games folder.

    Now, contrast that to online. There was some stuff I bought on GoG, Impulse and that Penny Arcade system I can’t recall the name for. I don’t think it’s more than a dozen all together. Plus a few direct purchases, such as World of Goo.

    Then there’s Steam. This was a big year for Steam as far as I’m concerned. Many games became available on my region, many games became available at all, and I had a new computer capable of playing a lot of games I stayed away from before. So, in a sense, there was a slant. Still, I now have over 90 titles on Steam, ALL of which, with the sole exception of Half Life 2, where bought on Steam. And I think over 40 over those where bought in 2008.

    This year started a bit more balanced. There was Crayon Physics Deluxe, Mirror Edge and all the Ghost Recon stuff (great weekend on Steam :). On the non-digital side, there was Infocom stuff on eBay and The Witcher on a regional ebay-like site. Money-wise, non-digital is prevailing, as both The Witcher and the Infocom stuff were rather on the expensive side. I doubt this trend will persist, though… :-)

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