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Why I am reluctant to go digital? on my consoles
- A blog entry I did over on IGN -

I have been debating myself on whether to go all digital this generation or not. In 2000 I ditched out my only CDs and made the jump to digital for all my music, in 2006 I made a similar jump with my movie collection. I?ve always been a big advocate of going digital, BUT when it comes to games I?ve very hesitant on making the plunge.

When it comes to going all digital with gaming one big question always makes me take a step back from making the jump? Will I still be able to play them once the console?s life has ended?

35 years later I can still pull out an old Atari 2600 game and play it, BUT will I be able to do the same thing with my Xbox360/XboxOne/PS3/PS4/PSP/VITA/Wii/WiiU/3DS collection?

For this lets just put aside anything dealing with multiplayer servers being shut down, it?s not as big of a deal, yes it sucks but honestly most games once they get really old they lose almost all their online user base for the newer versions, just try and get an online game of Call of Duty 3 going. We?re at the edge of see what will happen with last generation, and the big elephant in the room is, what is going to happen once Microsoft/Sony/Nintendo turn the lights off on their old system? We have seen console services end before, all the online games from the 6th generation (Xbox/PS2/GameCube) have gone off line, but for the first time we?re dealing with a system generation that had a large Online presents, lot of us poured hundreds if not thousands of dollars into XBLA, PSN and WiiWare. And no one has given us a straight answer on what it going to happen to our digital library. I feel a bit foolish having put so much money into my last gen digital library, I went in thinking back then that our current gen systems were going to be backwards compatible. Sadly that turned out to be a false assumption.

Another big question also surfaces, once the systems are discontinued and my console kicks the bucket will I ever be able to play my digital collection again or will I have to scour pawn shops and second hand stores looking for a system that still works. With physical media people have found ways to deal with discontinued hardware, we can still play our old games thanks to emulators and 3rd party hardware. I don?t need my original NES anymore to play my collection of NES games I can go out and buy something like the Retron. And there are a number of emulators out there that have allowed CD/DVD based consoles to live on after the physical systems themselves have die, like PCSX2 which has allowed me to continue to enjoy my PS2 library, but with digital we need access to their servers and without the keys we can never get in.

Nintendo does allow you to transfer your Wii games over to the WiiU and Sony has made mention that they do have some plans with their Streaming service to allow users to play their old digital games. BUT, what will happen next gen? Will I be able to transfer my Wii and WiiU games to the Wii3? Will Sony continue to offer and support Digital PS, PS2 and PS3 games on the PS5? It?s not a 100% grantee, hosting the content cost money so the odds are not good for everything make it over and in the business world money is everything, they don?t really care if you can continue playing your old copy of Jak and Daxter, in fact it makes more sense to them to re-release classic games in remake editions (e.g. HD Remake and ?Definitive Edition?.)

PC gaming has not faced this problem, STEAM has been going strong for years I?ve been using them since 2005 and the first games I bought there still play on my system today and Valve has come out and told their user based on how they plan to run things. I feel safe buying digital PC games because I know that 30 years from now I will still have access to them and ?should? still be able to play them. Console games on the other hand is a big ?.. IF any of the big 3 really want to make a push for digital they need to come out and re-insure people that their games will ALWAYS be there, they will ALWAYS have access to them and they will ALWAYS have a way to play them. Until then I think I will stick to having a physical disc.
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