As the Internet has gone through numerous stages of evolution, we are now presented with various ways of interacting and obtaining multimedia content. Supposedly these ways are to help properly facilitate the distribution of content and regulate the rights to view it based on copyright legislation, and age restrictions in different regions. The primary way of doing this is with the concept of digital downloads, which is claimed to simplify and create ease in our lives. Users can search, purchase, and then instantaneously have access to their content with a direct download link. There is a debate as to whether or not this is the best way to obtain and play video games. The tradition since the beginning of gaming has been to use some type of physical disc, cartridge, or form of memory card. It was sort of an unseen foundation that exemplifies the culture of video games, which had an ability to rally groups of people together. However digital downloads has started to change all that. Valve was the first company to implement digital downloads when they released their best selling collection The Orange Box. Valve Corporation is the founding father and proud pioneer of Steam, a digital distribution system and communication platform that allows game developers to have a quick and easy way of distributing their games. It is the only service that currently spans across Windows, Mac OS X, and Linux. Essentially Steam allows you to purchase a game from a retailer, or online, and then register the license code with an online account so it can be recovered later on if a disc was misplaced or damaged. Using this system not only acts as backup for your favourite games, but it also allows game publishers to deliver updates frequently and with ease. For the most part you will find that the games are priced cheaper, because of no shipping fees and taxes. Although there are some vital points to be aware of before diving in head first.
- Most games that are digitally downloaded require an active Internet connection. This is to check that the person who purchased the game is actually playing it, and not someone else.
- Purchased games can only be associated to one person per account, and cannot be sold, traded, or shared. This is to enforce copyright and it’s the Publishers way of making sure that they do not lose sales from unauthorized copying or reselling of games.
- Digitally downloaded games are not around forever. If a company no longer wishes to support a game, or goes out of business, then the game ceases to exist.
- You don’t actually own the game. Digital downloading is providing you with a license to interact and use the game content, not own it. That leaves discretion to the publisher to decide the life cycle. You are paying just to play, nothing else.
Don’t let these points discourage you. As much as 80% of the PC market favours digital downloads, it doesn’t mean you have to purchase all your games electronically. A lot of game publishers still offer physical copies that can be purchased and delivered to your door. If you have specific games that hold higher precedence than others, then make sure to purchase a physical copy. Places like GameStop or Amazon are the best resources for finding physical copies of games. If you already own a digital version with a license code, then that warrants the ability to copy an existing game disc for back up. Under the Digital Millennium Copyright Act there is a fair use policy, which states that you can make a fair use of a copyrighted work without the permission of the copyright owner under certain circumstances. These certain circumstances are determined by the purpose, portion, and marked value of the copyrighted works. So if you think digital downloading suites your needs and you are ready to embrace it whole-heartedly, hop on over to store.steampowered.com and give it a spin with some of the free to play games.