The physical is not everything. Here are three good reasons to play everything dematerialized.
Rather physical or dematerialized? The debate has been animating players for a few years now, and does not seem ready to subside. For its part, the industry seems to be betting more and more on all-digital, at a time when cloud gaming and subscription video game platforms are developing more and more. Rather than piling up dozens of plastic boxes – which are neither practical nor eco-friendly – in your living room, we explain to you why dematerialized technology is the future of the video game market. For those who are not yet ready to take the plunge, also find three good reasons to bet (still a little) on physical video games.
A video game takes up space. Especially since gamers are rarely satisfied with one or two titles. Over the years, boxes that pile up can quickly become a major problem that the transition to dematerialized solves with a snap of your fingers. No need to invest in a library to display games that will eventually gather dust. By opting for downloading, it is possible to store several hundred (thousands?) of titles on a single machine, whether console or PC. Provided you have enough storage memory, it’s a real convenience on a daily basis: no need to search for hours for a lost game, you already have everything at hand.
Especially since who says dematerialized also says online stores. No more uncertain stocks and schedules of physical stores, virtual stores allow access to a game immediately, anywhere (provided you have an Internet connection of course) and anytime. A real daily advantage, which allows you to enrich your day-1 library, without having to move from home or fear a shortage of stock.
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Just walk around any online store to see it: the majority of games from independent studios would not survive in physical format. Sold for a few euros, sometimes even free, these titles obviously don’t claim to be AAA games, but are a real gold mine for gamers tired of indigestible blockbusters who bet everything on their graphics and their length.
By opting for dematerialized, it is thus possible to support independent developers, who would not have the means to invest in a physical format. It is enough to quote Rusty Lake, HopFrog, No Games or Lucas Pope (the list is long), to realize how much the video game industry would lose out.
The ecological impact
It has long been estimated that the environmental burden of a dematerialized game on a server exceeds that of a physical disc. This was no doubt true at the time, as reported in a 2014 article by the magazine consoblog, but today, this is far from being the case. This can be explained by several factors, and in particular the commitment of modern data centers which are now aiming for carbon neutrality to limit their ecological impact (the result is not perfect, but it is a good start). Especially since on AAA games, the physical format no longer spares heavy updates, which must also be stored on servers.
Especially since if the physical format also takes up space on the server, the manufacture of a game remains very polluting: the vast majority of boxes are plastic, and the pressing of the cakes is far from displaying carbon neutrality. . In 2019, the FIFA 20 game alone was responsible for 595 tonnes of CO2, enough to supply 68 homes for a year, reported a study by Slot Online Canada. Today, a physical game would release 0.39 kg of CO2, not counting its transport from the factory to the point of sale. For comparison, a dematerialized game would emit only 0.017 kg.
By choosing to download a game rather than buying it in store, players could reduce their gaming carbon footprint by 95.6%. Difficult to do better as an argument.