Still going for physical game cartridges?

At the time the new3DS was released outside of Japan, we saw some outrage in America: they only got the XL version, nice and big, but without the changeable faceplates. Now as for me, you couldn’t drag me back to that little thing, even if it means missing the cool plates, but I’m happy for the fans that Nintendo seems to have made up for that, releasing one special edition after another, both in XL and in the standard format These special editions, like the Happy Home Designer special edition that was released last Friday, comes with a pre-installed digital copy of the game.

Eshop, nintendo, download games, Sd card, game cartridge

Now it’s been some time since I wrote an article on whether or not to download your games, and asked your opinion. Most of you leaned toward buying the physical game, and I remembered this when I read today’s article on Technewsworld:

GameStop has signaled resistance to the trend of bundling game consoles with digital downloads rather than physical copies of games.
The company ships more than half of all PlayStation 4 and Xbox One software.
GameStop worked with its partners to sell the physical version of Madden 16in its PlayStation 4 and Xbox One bundles, Chief Operating Officer Tony Bartel told investors during GameStop’s Q2 earnings call last month. If a game is offered as part of a promotion, GameStop expects to “see more of these physical offers than digital pack-ins” for upcoming games, he said.

GameStop making noises that it wants to offer more physical copies, I doubt though that they will be able to hold back the storm. Plus, like the same article states, it’s in Gamestops interest to sell physical games, because why would you go into the store otherwise?

Did you hear that you can now even buy digital Nintendo games on If you connect your Amazon account to your Nintendo ID you can go ahead and buy the digital code like you would buy any book or game! A nice feature if you have a 3DS from another region. I must say that when I had the trouble with the New3DS transfer back in August, I wondered silently if going digital had been a smart move on my part. Still, I download most of my Vita games too, simply because it’s so much easier, and some games just can’t be found in the stores.

Looking back over the last year, do you find that you are leaning more towards digital downloads? Or are you still into physical game cartridges?


  1. Never digital, always physical copies. I shrug off change lol.. But seriously, as a collector of many stripes, not least of all Nintendo merchandise – and also as a practical matter in that I’m a re-seller on eBay also – I don’t like this whole digital push. Sure, it’s convenient, but I like my tangibles. I keep many of my treasures games (still have my N64 and GC hardware, too), but when I know I won’t play again, I can easily resell it – and usually recoup most of my money! This won’t do.. I like the option to do either.

  2. I used to be very against digital games, but ever since I got a Vita I’ve changed my tune. You just cannot beat some of those sales. This month I got 9 games for 30 euros, all because of the sales. I can’t do that with physical copies. And it’s so convenient to have multiple games on my Vita card instead of lounging around all those cartridges. Not to mention a few months ago me and my mother were thinking of moving to a different house, and this was much smaller house. So small I didn’t know where I could put all my stuff. It made me realize I have too much stuff that will be a bother if I ever have the need to live somewhere small but it’s stuff I use and don’t want to give up, so I have to find a solution and cut out something. Now, I love decorating a shelf with my physical copies and all, but I like to play the games more and I have to consider that space is also a limited resource. So yeah, I’ve done a 180º now and do approve of digital games. I still get some physical copies though, for my PS3.

    Plus, making physical copies is very expensive for small companies. Digital is the reason we have so many wonderful indie games. And while I know what’s like to feel cheated out of a physical copy when other regions get them (hello Rune Factory 4 and SMT4), I’d still rather have them as digital than not at all. I think it’s part of why the Vita has been getting so many Japanese games brought over, because most Vita gamers just get the digital copies since the physical copies that do exist are hard to find. So there’s not as much outrage any more over the digital only games in there.

    I do wish there would be more limited physical copies run (like there was for Ar Nosuge +) so the people that really want them can get them, even if at higher price.

    1. So the fact that you had to move house made you reconsider! A good enough reason, and I guess everyone will have to make the same decision in the future. It will be digital all the way!

      Looking for them in the stores, I hardly see any Vita games at all! Hunting online will probably get me som physical copies, but overall, for the Vita it’s digital all the way. The only thing that annoying there is the cost of the bigger SD card for the Vita, which is still hugely expensive. The Vita very much needs the support of the Indy developers, so I think it will stay digital on the Vita more and more. By the way, I didn’t even know that there had been limited physical copies of Ar NoSurge +!

  3. I prefer a physical copy of a game but I find digital games are more practical to companies and players alike. It’s cheaper for the companies to make and us gamers save on space and get better deals. I find this works best for smaller sized games and older games. If the game is a big one that’s just been released then I would much prefer a physical copy in exchange for that huge price tag.

    1. Yeah, it hardly seems fair that digital copies are just as expensive. I do wish Nintendo would change the way games are connected to your account and your device too.

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  5. Most of the games I buy these days are digital as I have little storage space and seldom replay a title after beating it. Brick and mortar stores will naturally resist digital downloads, but there isn’t much they can do. The big three can sell games online and electronic stores will always be willing to sell the consoles. From what I hear few people will shed tears if Gamestop went bust as they have done some crooked stuff in the past.

  6. I definitely prefer physical games, and if a game is released both physically and digitally, I will always go for the physical version—all the more so if they are similarly priced. The thrill of hunting for physical copies of games and carefully arranging them in selves is just priceless! It’s so great to go through them every once in a while, just to get that collector pride and sense of achievement.
    I only consent to download games if they are not available physically, and grudgingly at that—although I have to admit that the rapidity of the process is quite pleasant, especially since I usually import my physical games and have to wait for them! And no tax or shipping fees involved either, which is quite neat… 🙂

    1. I think I’m more the impatient sort, I really like not having to go out to buy my game, but having it waiting for me at midnight on release day. Of course, buying American games has given this a boost, as it hasn’t even been that long that ships games to the Netherlands. In the past I didn’t even have much of a choice, digital was the only way to get the game quick!

  7. I have bought more digital copies over the last two years or so. Saying that I’ve also bought a number of physical game releases too. I’m quite happy to purchase games via either medium but I do tend to purchase games digitally if they’re more suitable to playing in quick bursts like Captain Toad.

    1. Yes, playing in short bursts is a good reason to buy digital too. When I’m traveling by train I like to have all my games at my fingertips, it wouldn’t do to switch games all the time!

  8. I stated a digital download of animal crossing new leaf on July 8,2015. I played it everyday. Had my house completely paid off. the town was perfect for the citizens On September 19th my DS wouldn’t load any of my games. Nintendo suggested I send it in. Got it back and all my digital download games were erased. I was lucky my son let me live in his animal crossing town until my 3ds was fixed and I got the physical animal crossing new leaf. I will never play my most favorite game on digital download. Starting over is doable but very hard because all the things have to be done all over again. It’s ok I will get my town back to where it was. It will just take a little more time.

  9. That’s truly awful, Linda! :'( Good for you that you’re willing to bring the town back to its former glory after losing all that progress – and having the stamina! I would be absolutely gutted if I lost such a favorite game that way. (And angry.) I take Nintendo didn’t have any reasonable explanation for the erasing? They could’ve comp’d you something! :-/

  10. I am a retro gamer. Part of the experience in gaming is the box, booklet, and game cart. To me it is all a part of the game. I want to feel the hard copy in my hand. The digital download, yeah you do get to play the game, but so much is missing. In the old days there were those games where you got so much in the package, map, artwork book, jewelry, etc. I so much want a home console that returns to those old days with a game cart. I would be all over it.
    The digital download runs into a wall, memory limitation issues. You have a problem with the size of the game and the fact that you are running out of room. Whether it is console or portable, it is very annoying. If the storage medium is proprietary,(cough, Vita, cough), it is even more irritating, and with some people not tolerated. And that might be hard to understand. With a hard copy you need shelf space. You put a bunch a games on one little card, it can be stored away in the case for the console. I think the since of value is what makes the difference.

    1. The fact that Nintendo uses a strange system of tying the digital games in with the device is a strange one, and the way Vita’s storage is way overpriced is outrageous.
      I agree about the days when we had so much content in the physical game box, I have my Ni no Kuni DS game from Japan with an awesome book op spells that was part of it…such a good feeling to have that all together.
      Still, I’m afraid that digital is the way to go. Even now some stores don’t even sell physical games anymore. Asda for instance in the UK will no longer stock Nintendo games!

      1. I know the industry is trying to wean us from physical media, that also includes films. And I am sure that they are looking for that generation of gamers that will find it acceptable and common. And at some point they will find that generation. The tragic part is the impact to people’s lives, the game stores that build their business around the physical media and those who manufacture it. The millions that are spent on the resale of the “tangible” is something that the industry is wanting to eliminate, I am sure. There is presently that gradual shift in that direction and at one point everything will slide very fast into digital. I could see this being easily accepted by someone in a college situation. You have limited space in a dorm room and it would be nothing but toting your console around in your pocket. Old gamers, like me, that have been around since the beginning, are not so easily convinced. Our expectations developed during those early days where the physical tangible hard copy and sometimes its extras meant something and was very much appreciated. When that time arrives that the first digital only consoles begin hitting the in store shelves, I will probably stick with my passion of portable gaming. Somehow I can accept the digital download easier on a portable.

  11. I love my physical copies. It’s comforting to know they are always there on the shelf. I know digital distribution is the way of the future and that certainly has the potential to makes things more convenient for the consumer and more profitable for the developer. There are hurdles in the way however. To expect the all-digital future to be embraced there needs to be a serious change to storage options. Most of the people clinging to physical media (myself included) need to have all of their games available in one place, and current hard drive sizes in most devices are not up to that task. Internet speeds and availability need to be worked out. Even if you don’t play online, if you are going to download all of your games you need access to good internet as well as no data caps. Network stability definitely has to improve. I don’t know what’s going on with Nintendo or Microsoft, but Sony’s network is down all to often for an all digital system. It’s fine when I can pop a disc in and play offline, but if all of my games are downloaded and need to be authenticated, the network needs to be there.

    1. So Sony needs to authenticated every time you play? I didn’t know, in the 3DS it’s no issue. You just need Internet to download it, and then you’re good to go.
      Strong and stable internet is a good point, a friend of mine lived in a low populated area and her Internet was slow. She never downloaded.

      1. Well, not necessarily and certainly not for every game. There are isolated cases out there where specific games can’t be played without internet, even if it’s an offline game. I have had instances where a digital game needed to “check in” periodically to make sure my account could still play it. New games usually need to be activated at least once by the account that purchased it before a different account on the same machine can access it.

        Really I was speaking more about the future. In an all-digital future I would be incredibly surprised if more and more games didn’t rely on stable internet just to verify that you have a right to play that game, even if there are no online components. I know the original plan for the Xbox One was to require online to work at all and after the negative backlash from the consumer base that requirement was changed to like, once a day or once a week. I’m sure it’s mostly about piracy prevention, but for these things to be more widespread as physical media becomes a thing of the past, that system has to be better and more available.

        1. Although I’m more often then not downloading the games now, I do find that future worrisome. It’s not like I have internet everywhere I go! Being in a small European country means that you go across borders fairly quickly, and mobile internet doesn’t work then. So if a handheld had the same workings, I would not be glad at all!

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