Earlier this week, my colleague Derek Baroni had a review of the indie game Papers, Please. I’ve heard a lot of interesting things about that game, some good, some bad, and everywhere in between. I must admit I’m rather curious and wouldn’t mind playing it myself. But I won’t. Because I don’t have a Steam account, and probably never will.
Owning vs renting
I have this little rule. I don’t do digital only content. Not just for games, but books and movies as well. I have made exceptions here and there, but for the most part I just won’t buy something if I don’t really own it.
With a hard copy of a game, it’s mine. It’s not mine as long as I keep my online account running or as long as the device it’s stored on doesn’t die, which isn’t very long since nothing’s built to last anymore, no it’s mine. Period. I can give it away, loan it out, sell it, keep it until the day I die, even chose to be buried with it if I feel like going out like an Egyptian Pharaoh. I can even wipe my ass with it, should I so chose. Point is, it’s mine.
With digital only content, you don’t ever really own it, you’re pretty much just renting it.
I freely admit I’m missing out with this little rule. I can think of several games on the virtual console I’d like to play. Even though I’ve heard mixed reviews I’m curious to check out Sonic the Hedgehog 4 or the Rocket Knight remake. And I’m dieing to play Mega Man 9 and 10. But I guess I’ll just have to wait until a 1-10 Mega Man collection. Assuming Capcom doesn’t go tits up before that happens.
DLC is another thing I, on principle, don’t get. Hell, I’ve never even bothered to hook my systems online. I know that seems weird as hell, but most of the games I play are single player and the multiplayer games I love, like Mario Kart, I prefer to play with others in person.
There is a lot of DLC out there I would love to get. The stuff for Mario Kart 8 looks amazing. But I resent that it wasn’t just put on the disc. I resent having to pay extra for things that can just evaporate away like nothing. Is it stored on my device? What happens when it dies? These devices don’t last long these days (Red Ring of Death anyone). Is it stored on my online account? Oh, so I only have it as long as I keep paying a monthly fee? To be fair, not all of these online accounts charge a monthly fee but still.
Hard copy or no copy for me
I get I’m missing out on some cool content. And I get that some smaller indie devs just feasibly can’t do hard copies. I get all that. I really do. But I still resent the push for DLC and digital only releases. I want to have a physical copy. I want to own it, really own it. I want truly own it. To have control over the thing I purchased. And I just don’t see how you ever get that without a hard copy.
I won’t say I’ll never get a digital only game, buy some DLC, or get my WiiU hooked up online. But as a general rule these are things I try to avoid. So don’t expect a review of Mega Man 9 or Sonic 4 from me anytime soon folks.