Digital Distribution of Video Games is Unfair


While traditional definition of product implies physical presence, single-player games distributed digitally are basically the same as those distributed on physical media. Problem is that they are not treated in the same manner even though you are paying the same price or sometimes even a greater price.

Digitally distributed games are being sold for one-time payments and usually do not include customer service, management. Moreover, any later maintenance done on game, excluding new content and features (DLC) is due to product being broken or incomplete in the first place. Downloadable content is sold as separate product and we can not attribute it to maintenance.

What we are buying is essentially a right to play a game for undefined time period. By undefined time period, I assume that platform on which game is being distributed can shutdown in future. If you die, you should not include your Steam account in your will because sharing your steam password to anyone is against their terms of service.

Furthermore, physical copy of game can be gifted, sold or traded even after you opened a box. Digitally distributed copies, once activated on your account can not be traded or sold to anyone. There have already been instances where games were rendered unplayable due to shutdown of servers and DRM protection (Darkspore).

I am not fully against digital distribution but I just feel it is unjust to consumers. In comparison, Spotify is also form of digital distribution but it is being treated as service unlike Google Play music.
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