Physical Media in the Digital Era

In this age of Steam, Nintendo eShop, Xbox Game Store, Playstation Store, and countless other online vendors for your gaming needs, there is still a place in this gamers soul for physical media. Whether it’s a Switch cartridge or a Collector’s Edition with figure and steelbook, there is just something oh so satisfying about strumming along a neatly laid out shelf of games.

Yes I know, there are many titles which just don’t make it to a physical release or get a very limited run. I have seen a couple of online vendors who make custom cases for some of these titles but they can be rather pricey and quality can be sketchy at times.

Physical media can also make quite the footprint in your residence, but we’ll talk about optimizing storage for your collections in a future post. Games now are released in much smaller cases than their cartridge ancestors and the packaging is much more robust, some titles still have a cardboard sleeve today but a sleeve and no more. Cases today are rather aesthetically pleasing and robust. Some couriers can be rather harsh!

I do however miss the days of ‘Big Box’ PC releases and keep a small amount in my personal collection. The sheer size of those guys puts one hell of a dent in your shelf space. (I’m looking at you Blizzard) Those World of Warcraft Special Editions are just too difficult to pass up. Speaking of Special Editions, they can go from one extreme rather brutally to another.

The most recent pickup for me was the Assassin’s Creed: Valhalla Collector’s Edition (Ubisoft Exclusive) This behemoth of a box included the ‘Ultimate Pack’ for the game, a little Odin figurine which you’ll see below, a rather epic statue of Eivor atop her Drakkar, soundtrack on disk I might add! Not just a download link…

The box for this Edition was huge! At the time of writing this, we’re still in the middle of a pandemic and online shopping is rife. Couriers and postmen alike are bound to be pulling some serious maneuvers out there to meet the demand.

Another guilty pleasure of mine, steelbooks. Some of you will say they’re pointless and some of you might agree with me, these guys look awesome on the shelf! However, one Collector’s Edition did trigger me slightly at launch. Mirrors Edge: Catalyst, this collector’s edition included a sizeable 14″ Faith Connors statue, some concept art and of course the coveted steelbook. However, one item was curiously left out… The game! There is probably some reason why the game was not included but I’m on a tangent here currently and will probably look into this later.

Why? Why EA, why not include the actual game in your collector’s edition? I did manage to pick it up for £15 brand new and the game itself was not expensive, so all is not lost. It’s just rather odd to not have the game included…

For quite a few years, I was hooked on Steam and GoG for my PC gaming needs like so many out there now. Physical edition of games in my house were few apart from a couple of select special editions and the bulk of my retro games are in cold storage. Owning a Switch, PS4, Xbox One and several handhelds now, the urge to collect is back! However, compared to some of the epic collections on Instagram #gamecollection mine still has ways to go. It’s great to see so many enthusiasts out there who still have the desire for physical media in this diskless age of gaming.

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