Your Move: The Pitfalls Of Transitioning From Physical Games To Digital Downloads

Aug 8, 2019

Back in 2013, Capcom released a remake of their fantastic 1989 game, DuckTales. The game was greeted with positive reviews when it was released, with reviewers praising the faithful recreation of the show and balanced gameplay.

But after today, if you haven’t bought the game, you’re out of luck.

You see, after today, August 8th, Capcom’s license with Disney for use of the DuckTales characters expires, and Capcom will no longer be able to sell the game. This wouldn’t be such a problem with some other games, but outside of a very limited run of collector’s editions, Capcom only sold this one as a downloadable title. So, once DuckTales is removed from those online marketplaces, your chances of being able to play it fall to just about zero.

This is only a small problem right now. Very few games have been delisted. Even sites like GOG.com are dedicated to selling old and forgotten titles, making sure they stay accessible. But that’s only for PC--systems like the Wii have already begun shutting down their online networks, making it so nobody can discover WiiWare titles again without resorting to piracy.

I try to buy all my games on a physical format, discs or cartridges, to avoid this. And it works, for the most part-- I can still play every game I owned 20 years ago. But even now, some games are incomplete on the disc, requiring a big download, and that disc might be useless some day in the future, too. Preserving these games is going to be a huge task, and may require the cooperation of the game publishers, who have little incentive to help.

Digital downloads are certainly convenient-- I can have dozens of games at my fingertips without changing out discs, But that’s maybe at the expense of sharing these games with our children.

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