8 Pros and Cons: Steam vs. Purchasing CD/DVD Hard Copy of Games (2020)
- January 29, 2020
- Posted by: Craig Chamberlin
- Category: Uncategorized
Here they are, 8 Pros and Cons: Steam vs. Purchasing CD/DVD Hard Copy of Games in 2020. I have been blowing away enemies since they were little 8-bit dots on my super high-resolution rear-projection monitor. Even though I couldn’t tell whether the aliens had tentacles or dreadlocks, it made no difference. Clearly the issue was they were shooting white dots at me, and they hurt. In either case, gaming has become an advanced plethora of complex servers and hardcore hardware-driven visuals and story.
The state of gaming doesn’t really perturb me in any particular way, but service providers such as Steam offer up a completely different way of managing those growing libraries of games from old to new. For those of you considering becoming a steam gamer, you should first take a look at some of the pros and cons of managing your library with an account-based licensing system. There are some distinct advantages to moving to this kind of system, but there are also some hidden factors you might not have anticipated along the way.
Steam Pros and Cons # 1: No More “Play” Disk Nightmares
The Pros Of “Play” Disk Nightmares
For many games (older games especially) the installation and play disks quickly became worth their weight in gold. Most of us gamers used to stick our games in the boxes on the shelf, but since the advent of anti-piracy practices, we were no longer able to do that. We needed to keep the disk on hand, quite often on our desks, to put the disk in that was required to run the game.
This is no longer necessary with online gaming services such as Steam. Since the licensing is authenticated through the users Steam login, games can be played completely disk free. Many can relate to the frustration of opening an old gaming box only to find all of the disks are still in it except the original “play disk”
The Cons Of Play Disk Nightmares
Well, this one should be relatively obvious. If your authentication is handled through the online Steam service, then if you are in a position where you don’t have internet access, then you don’t have gaming access. Although this con traditionally has kept many people from joining services such as Steam, they are becoming far less of a concern than they used too.
Wi-Fi “hot spots” are springing up everywhere free of charge, and finding a hotspot is often more convenient these days than carrying a case of gaming disks with you wherever you go. For those of you who say “Just get a No-CD Patch!”, they likely haven’t played games with many patches that destroy your No-CD version every time you download one. It’s a preference, but I find that far more irritating than the Steam option.
Steam Pros and Cons # 2: Gaming and Installation Mobility
The Pros Of Gaming And Installation Mobility
Have a buddy with the super-duper-honkin-ultra-PC that dims the neighbors lights every time he turns it on? Most of us don’t have that luxury, but since he purchased that 43 terabytes ultra-RAID array, he’s not running short on disk space. So, log into your steam account on his computer and install it without the need of bringing over your own disks.
Sure he can’t play it without logging into your account, but you’ll have full access to your library of games right at your fingertips. This is extremely convenient the larger your library gets – when you shift to a newer operating system or even have multiple computers, installing your library of games on a new system becomes extremely convenient.
The Cons Of Gaming And Installation Mobility
Bandwidth. That’s right, even games such as Half-Life 2 and Borderlands are still running up to 7 gigabytes of information to install them. Installations also will not be getting any smaller any time soon. Even with a decent internet account, you’re looking a couple of hours of download per game.
Only one steam account can have access at a time, so your licensing doesn’t qualify others to use your software without having access to the license. Don’t be thinking you can multiplayer this with only one installation. We could get away with that back in the day, but those days are long gone… unless you know some kind of pirate (YARGGGH!)
Steam Pros and Cons # 3: Downloading Hot Titles, Exploding Servers
The Pros Of Downloading Hot Titles, Exploding Servers
As soon as those titles hit the digital shelves, you’ll have complete access to download them. Purchasing a game without ever needing to leave the house is nice, not to mention it saves in the disaster of running from store to store (which has happened to me quite often for the really hot titles). I take very little interest in pre-ordering things and prefer to have the convenience of doing my shopping right from home.
The Cons Of Downloading Hot Titles, Exploding Servers
Well, if you’re one of the millions of steam users, you probably already know all internet-based download systems can quickly come to a tragic and screeching halt. The more popular the game, the longer it will likely take to download the puppy. It’s the nature of the online beast. For those who salivate at the opportunity to play it as soon as possible, such a wait might not only be improbable but a deal-breaker.
Steam Pros and Cons # 4: The Social Overlay, Friends Stalking, VoIP Chatting and More
The Pros Of The Social Overlay, Friends Stalking, VoIP Chatting & More
Probably the strongest of all the features built into the Steam network is the social overlay. When you are in the middle of playing the game you can press Shift + Tab and bring up a complete social overlay of the game you are playing. In this window, you can carry on chats with friends (or enable a VoIP chat with a friend), set up gaming events with your buddies or even preview the current status of all of your achievements on a current game.
This overlay is transparent to the screen so that you can still see the game running in the background. After you have set up your VoIP, you can go back into the game and continue to chat with your friend while playing whatever game you’re playing. To make matters better, you can even set up the chat to notify you in the bottom right-hand corner when one of your friends responds to you. No more alt-tabbing or setting up separate VoIP servers.
It’s all integrated right into the Steam package. Lastly, as if this weren’t enough, you can continue to stalk your friends (just like all X-Box 360 gamers such as my self enjoy doing) to see what achievements they have gained on games and what content they have experienced that you haven’t.
The Cons Of The Social Overlay, Friends Stalking, VoIP Chatting & More
This overlay does work with most every game (even after-market games that weren’t purchased by Steam that you installed with your CD-Rom. Achievements only exist for most big titled games that the developers went through the trouble to set up. Sometimes being stalked isn’t as fun as it sounds.
Steam Pros and Cons # 5: Getting the Latest News for Your Gaming Titles
The Pros Of Getting The Latest News For Your Gaming Titles
On each title organized in your Gaming Library, a news feed is given providing the latest news related to possible updates, expansions, sequels, and patches. This allows users to make sure they are getting the most of their experience with each title they have purchased from the Steam community. Sure there are other methods to keep track of the history of your games, but none quite as convenient as this
The Cons Of Getting The Latest Lews For Your Gaming Titles
It only works for titles that have been purchased from Steam. Titles added to the Steam library aftermarket will display little to no information in the description box. These Off-steam titles will also not allow you to get Achievements
Steam Pros and Cons # 6: Killer Steam Exclusive Bargains and Deals
The Pros Of Killer Steam Exclusive Bargains & Deals
The advantage of having so much pull when it comes to being a software distributor giant is that they can provide ridiculous deals from time to time. In fact, every Wednesday Steam offers a deal called “Midweek Madness” for a limited time that can get Steam users from 50% – 75% some of the hottest titles in the steam market. It was at this level I was able to get Borderlands ($40.00 at the time) for $20.00. 50% off.
For older and smaller titles, these deals get even more insane. I was able to get Trine for $5.00 ($20.00 at the time). 75% off. Nowhere else can deals this good be found. Find a killer deal? You can even send a game as a gift to a friend at a discounted rate.
The Cons Of Killer Steam Exclusive Bargains & Deals
The hot title deals are very limited in their timeframe, and one might be depressed to find they missed it. Other than that, their specials rival just about any competitor out there in value.
Steam Pros and Cons # 7: Taking Advantages of Steam Quantity Pricing
The Pros Of Taking Advantage Of Steam Quantity Pricing
Are you a multi-player gamer? Most of us are. Unfortunately, most Steam users don’t take advantage of the steal of a deal for multiplayer games when purchasing multiple licenses. For many four player-centric multi-player games, Steam gives the user the option to “Buy 3 get 1 copy Free”
You and all your buddies throw in your funds together and you save 25% right off the bat for four copies. This gets even better though, if the game is in the middle of a Midweek madness deal, quite often the discounted price can be combined with the Four Pack. This means you may get 25% off each of your first three titles, then get the fourth one free!
The Cons Of Taking Advantage Of Steam Quantity Pricing
Getting your buddies to go along with the idea and front you the funds. That’s right, the purchase is made on one credit card and you gift the three copies to your other three friends steam accounts. Now if you don’t have cool friends, you might be running a collections agency before you know it. I’d suggest charging them late fees.
Steam Pros and Cons # 8: No More Mods, No More Hacking, No More Happiness
The Pros Of No More Mods, No More Hacking, No More Happiness
None that I can see. So it cannot be tampered with or hacked, steam uses a proprietary data encoding and file management system so that games cannot be modified to ignore licensing requests. The results? Mods that many people enjoy such as 3rd party code modification suites and graphics mods are rendered useless for the Steam versions of the game. That’s right, if you were looking forward to the nudity mod for Dragon Age or The Sims, you’ll have to purchase the hard copy.
The Cons Of No More Mods, No More Hacking, No More Happiness
As stated above, there’s no real way to mod or hack your games anymore. Once upon a time, this was huge for hardcore gamers who wanted to add a completely different dynamic to the game. In fact, many games today still have custom 3rd party mods that allow players to add benefits and levels onto their games. If you’re not one of these people, it will not bother you.
The benefits of the Steam environment seem to come out to gaming preference. If you are a gamer who prefers to play the games as they are made, and have little to no interest in custom mods or hacks, Steam will provide an excellent method for communicating with other gaming friends, saving money on hot titles and getting the most out of your gaming experience with Achievements. If you are one of those hardcore gamers who like having the flexibility of custom modding, then you’re still stuck with the same old hard copy system.