“Phoenix Wright: Ace Attorney 5 - Dual Destinies” is set to hit the Nintendo 3DS later this year. Fans have been clamoring for another entry in the courtroom detective game series for some time (its prequel came out in 2008, and one that’s been made since then hasn’t seen American shores). However, some fans are upset. Why? “Dual Destinies” will be distributed only through Nintendo’s eShop download-service, and a physical copy of the game will not see the light of day. Some fans have gone so far as to begin online petitions to urge Capcom (the game series’ publisher) to produce such a copy.
We live in a world where certain aspects of technology are considered “advanced” one day and “obsolete” the next. Video gaming is no exception. PC gaming platforms, such as Steam and Origin, continue to gain ground with its consumer base. Every major console nowadays has not only the capability of connecting to the internet, but also the ability to download full games and store them on internal hard drives. So, which is better: digital copies of games or hard copies?
Digital copies offer a number of immediate strengths over physical one. They're notably cheaper to produce, and one doesn’t need to worry about damage to cartridge or disc. You can just boot up your system of choice, select from the menu, and off you go. Many companies also have services such as the Wii U’s Virtual Console, which offer digitized versions of retro games, allowing newer generations of fans to experience games they otherwise couldn’t have.
Physical copies aren’t without their charms, either. Many gamers say that there’s a certain aesthetic in being able to hold the game in your hand and display it along with the rest of your collection. You don’t need to worry about running out of space on your console’s hard drive, and you can lend it out to your friends when you’re done with it. Physical copies are also usually exempt from Digital Restrictions Management, which sometimes prohibits the player from playing the game unless it’s connected to the internet, something that contributed heavily to the public’s initial mistrust of the Xbox One.
Ultimately, it comes down to personal preference. It’s up to you to decide how you buy and play what games. It’s the same as downloading a song off iTunes versus hooking up your parents’ old record player. Use whichever suits your interests best, and support game companies so that they may continue making the games you love to play.