I'm Ready To Trade The Scratches On My Discs For The Accessibility Of The Cloud

I grew up, like many, blowing cartridges and spending hours reading through game manuals. Then came the boxy jewel cases and CDs. The more I loved a game, the more scratches and nicks the back of a game would suffer.

I'd show these off like happy scars on my knees gained from letting loose on a playground — the natural outcome of having fun. The games eventually become unplayable, but I didn't care. I liked the games so much that I destroyed them. If that's not love, well, I don't know what is.

The jewel cases then became slim DVD boxes and the manuals gradually thinned and eventually even the CDs themselves became a thing of history. Nowadays, more and more, my games reside entirely within the memory banks of a console, a handheld, or a computer.

But this isn't about how I miss the good old days when I longingly held a new game in my hand, breathless at the idea of what was encoded within. This isn't about how I miss the anchor to nostalgia that physicality provides.

I actually like the way so much of gaming is moving into the cloud.

Don't get me wrong, I have many reasons to like physically owning a game. I can lend them. I can sell them. Usually, they're not as expensive as digital games — have you seen the prices on old games on the Xbox marketplace? Cripes. They're ridiculous. And it's nice to not have to need an internet connection to do every little thing.

But overall? The benefits of the cloud outweigh the drawbacks for me.

But this isn't about how I miss the good old days when I longingly held a new game in my hand, breathless at the idea of what was encoded within. This isn't about how I miss the anchor to nostalgia that physicality provides.

Everything feels more convenient with the cloud. I can buy the games from my home, without having to go anywhere. I don't have to worry about space, which tends to be sparse for me. And even if it wasn't, if you've played games as long as I have, then you've accrued a sizable collection. Turns out, there's such a thing as too many games! With the cloud, I don't have to worry about weight — that's huge for someone who travels and moves around a lot like I do.

I never have to worry about a game not working — there's no CD to scratch or cartridge to muck up. If something becomes corrupted, welp, I can just redownload the game and hey — my save files are online, too! Great.

This might sound like a sad case of pragmatism and practicality winning over sentimentality. Not quite, though. The biggest reason I look forward to a gaming future that has no physical media is actually a romantic one.

To remove the cartridge, to get rid of the disc is like erasing the physical proof that something exists as a game. It helps remove the acknowledgement that the worlds I lose myself in have very acute boundaries, and denies the idea that, say, the Mushroom Kingdom can be reduced to something as ordinary as a disc. That's not the future I want to live in. My ideal, super sci-fi future has the most minimal physical interface possible.

The worlds games allow me to frequent are vast and fantastical. I don't want to say they're contained within a CD, or hell, even a console. I want to say I dive right into my games one day.

Photo: Wavebreakmedia ltd/Shutterstock


    Good for you. I'm not. I like owning my games, not renting them.

      Pffft. Steam isn't going anywhere.

        ^This. The Cloud is such a BS term. Hotmail was the cloud before the cloud was the cloud ;)
        But seriously, Ive switched over to solely buying games over Steam for my pc. Shop bought games, no thanks. too expensive and fragile. When I can do the same for the consoles? Count me in.

          Hope you're always happy with Steam's terms of service then, because if they make a change you don't agree with then say bye bye to all the games you paid for, best hope you're never banned either, justified or not, happened to my mate, no matter how many hoops he went through they wouldn't believe he was who he said he was, half a grand down the drain there.

          Personally I like the option of both, and buy physical copies of games whenever the prices are reasonably comparable, but am happy to nab digital 'licenses' for cheap. The attitude that 'I've never had a problem so I never will' is ill founded and naive, a good hour's research is probably worth it to understand that the cloud is a more convenient but more vulnerable platform.

            1. Im not a troll and I dont play multiplayer
            2. I dont hack my games.
            3. I read all my terms and conditions very, very clearly, Im guessing you didn't with Steam.
            4. If they did make a change I didn't agree with, it'd have to be one mother****er of a huge change.
            5. If Steam ever shuts down, they supply you with the unlocks for your games to be played offline. Simple. Plus, you still own the keys. I keep ALL my keys in my email folders, 3 different accounts, somewhere very safe, in an encrypted email. Do you?

            To jump on the net and slam someone for being of a different mindset, to not want to clutter their house when they can quite simply reside their games on a harddrive, rather than having boxes laying everywhere, is arrogant and foolish and somewhat egotistical. Incidentally I haven't ever had a problem with steam, I've had tons at the shops. I can play Steam games offline (unless theyre Ubi games, oh well, the TERMS AND CONDITIONS warned me of that in advance). It wouldn't matter if I had a disc behind my cupboard door, the situation would still be the same.

            But if my disc got scratched, I'm screwed. If my hdd gets erased or crashes, I just redownload all my games. If Steam ever goes bust? I individually redownload all the games I can from the companies that are still around and use the keys I have.

            It's logic.

    I dont care..

    what I care about is having options, I dont like the Idea of having cloud as the ONLY option to play

    aslo your disks shouldn't be scracted if your look after them..which REALLY isnt hard to do

      i have adhd been playing forever i havent deystryed a single disk

    You should look up this Steam thing sometime

      Yeah though it must be said that steam isn't really cloud gamin either. Which might be more of a point that the writer wants to move towards digital. But cloud doesn't have any download for the user at all

    You're ignoring the greatest draw back that the future of cloud gaming represents. Very soon we will no longer be buying games at all, everything will be a service. "Sign up for blah blah blah now and receive access to over 100 games..." "Buy 2 of our new release titles and unlock extra storage space for your premium blah blah account.." And lets not forget the big one. "Blah blah could service retains the right to end support for this title after giving 30 days notice.."

      Still prefer it as a product than a service. Mostly because they can easily discontinue a service... not so much a product.
      To echo GreenLego: i also prefer the ones where they give you the key, the physical media, with of course a way to download the game. I have the option to stow the media away when its no longer relevant. But i can use it to install the game without the need to download large installation files.

    I don't have a very big monthly download quota. 100GB shared between four active internet users in my house. Some of the big games on Steam currently take 15GB or so to download. It'd be very limiting for me.
    I also have limited hard drive space. Yes, I could buy another external or a thumb drive for my 360, but faced with the choice of buying a physical copy or buying accessories I'd rather cut out the middle man and buy the physical copy.
    Conversely I have a lot of space on my shelves to store physical game discs.
    Some valid points brought up, but cloud gaming isn't my preference. If we can have cloud gaming and physical copies in tandem with each other, great! Either way I want to stick with physical copies.

      I was in the same boat, then I moved to Internode. Hello un-metred Steam downloads., hello full hard drive.

    I like the bit where my save games are synced across the devices. So i dont have to play a game three times on three different platforms or when i reinstall the OS and missed the bit where i had to port the savegames.
    How nice would it be if my FF7 savegames were synced to the cloud (HAHA!) and i can just carry on the game i played years ago.
    Or play FFT (possibly the most extensively ported game of all time?) across the DS....then... when i start to run out of battery - go to the PSP.... then the iPad....iPhone.... and hopefully by then id be home to play it on the PS3 hahahaha.

      I'm pretty sure they will charge you 60 dollars for each platform you load it up on.

    For me it is about security. Security in the sense that the cloud service company may not be here tomorrow. There is no guarantee that Microsoft, Sony, Nintendo, Valve or Apple will be operational tomorrow. Their share price could crash down to nothing and be bankrupt overnight. That possibility is extremely remote, but it could happen.

    I had experience with Steam whereby they revoked all legitimate keys bought from Thailand. No warning, no reason, just one day they decided to revoke the keys. After a huge outcry from the community, they reversed their decision, but I couldn't play TF2 for a while until this was resolved. I also had an issue where Steam issued a forced patch for TF2 which corrupted the graphics driver for my particular video card. They recognised the problem but did not issue a patch for months, by then, I didn't want to play TF2 anyway.

    What happens if your internet service provider suffers problems? You may not be able to play your games without online authentication.

    I will always prefer physical copies for the above reasons. What they should do is give owners of physical copies download codes for online copies. Sort of like 'triple play' bluray/dvd/download for retail purchased movies. Then I can be playing on the cloud version, but at the same time have the security of a physical copy as a fail safe if something goes wrong with the cloud version.

      shit will go rong with cloud games when theres no competition from retail they will charge however much they want and revoke acess after 30days

      Pretty much, I just can't understand why, or how people can be so comfortable in their 'knowledge' valve will be around forever. Things go bad, companies fold, shit happens, no business is exempt from this. With physical media the only thing that you have to worry about is your own carelessness.

    I like the idea of browsing the shelves, having a look at the backs, the physical experience of debating the pros and cons of two games, when I can only buy one.
    Granted I haven't moved much of my life online yet so it's probably just "this is what I know so this is what I like", but I like seeing a shelf full of games and the process of deciding what to play, then grabbing it and playing it. I like Steam and I like the PSN, so I know it's there and it works; I guess it's just something I'll have to get used to, since the need to get used to it is pretty much inevitable.

      Theres less friction to buying games online though! You dont need to wear pants and leave the house for one. Haha. And i have better luck trying to find my login ID compared to finding a piece of plastic in my jungle of a room.

      GreenLego: but understand that the Thailand issue was the result of an old world model. Where you have differnt regions for game distribution. If they go FULLY DD - then there should be no reason as to differentiate between regions (tax issues aside?). I wouldnt even consider steam as a full DD platform since they still use regional pricing models etc.

    I don't dislike digital distribution, but for now i'll keep buying physical copies. I love adding a new game or movie to my shelf. I would also (and you can think this is stupid) love to pass something onto my kids one day. In 20 years they'll be saying "yeah, I still have my dads old XBOX 360 collection. It's really primitive technology, it actually still uses discs!".

    Apart from Diablo 3 I couldn't tell you the last time I brought a physical copy of a game.

    So apart from the actual debate over the merits of physical vs digital that we're all having down here... did anyone else not understand at all what the hell was being said in this... thing? I'm pretty sure she said that she was telling us why she prefers digital over physical, but I'm also pretty sure she actually didn't give any real reason at all. And the "reason" presented doesn't actually make sense.

    I did go back and try read through it another couple of times, but I still have no idea what the fuck I just read :/

    I loved my old discs so much that they're non-scratched and I can still play them to this day.
    Without having to worry about my download quota or if I have enough hard drive space.
    Look after your game discs, dammit. It's not that difficult.

    I do like cloud saving very much but I fear a move to full-digital when we'll never having any physical evidence of the things we love.


      If you love a game, then you don't use it as a coaster for your morning coffee.

    BluRay is still the cheapest way to transfer 50GB of data - $1 to print! Radio, Cinema, Theater, Books, Magazines, Discs ain't going anywhere.

    To look after a disc, never touch the shiny side and always put it back in it's case. Digital data never degrades - only the medium, if you don't have respect for your own, or othe peoples property.

    I do not trust the cloud, because I do not trust those whom can oversee everything I put on it. In a world still filled with business tyrants, they'll use it to their advantage. Until then, I prefer keeping my content as close to me as I possibly can.

    The cloud is bad mkayy. Security being the number one risk, then all of the above...

    I can plug in my NES and play every NES game ever released over its entire lifespan. Tonight. 2 decades+ in the future. and probably 2 more from now. Excellent.

    There are games released within the last 5 years that I can't do that with because the publishers decided that the 'game as service' model was most profitable for them, until it wasn't anymore and they shut down servers/support.

    That's what's ultimately wrong here.

    The cloud all sounds great but what about the bloke in the news just this week that had all his stuff that was stored in the cloud hijacked and deleted and all the devices that he used with the cloud wiped also ie iPad MacBook and iPhone... The whole lot got hijacked and wiped and is now gone... Yep as in cant get it back ever gone... Would not be so fantastic if you lost your 1000's of dollars worth of games in the cloud.. As for steam no thanks... Not ever allowing a company decide to ban me from products I have purchased at their own whim due to constant updates of the terms and conditions... Any point they can change a term and you either accept it or booom

    Xbox Games on Demand are an absolute ripoff.

    Example: I saw once that Chronicles of Riddick was $120 on the marketplace. You could order it online for $20. Even if you wanted to pay that unbelievably ripoff price you can't sell/lend it.

    Unless somehow cost is reasonable with often sales, cloud games on the console won't take off.

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