One of my well documented favorite games ever, Resident Evil 4, recently went on sale on the PSN/360 online store, and just when I thought there was NO WAY Capcom could possibly squeeze another buck out of me for a game I’ve already bought THREE times over, I sit staring at a “purchase confirmed” screen ready to hunt blue plates and earn my twelve achievements. “What are you buyin’?” asks the Merchant. My answer doesn’t come so easily. . .
The real question here isn’t WHAT I’m buying, but rather, WHY would a non-wealthy person spend so much hard-earned cash on the same gaming experience again and again? There hasn’t been any new content added to the package since the 2005 PS2 version, and the urge to collect a cool game box can only add to the rationale when such a thing exists. While I certainly don’t intend to pay to re-download EVERY game that I own a physical copy of, certain titles have a strong enough lure to entice my re-buy and ensure my future digital enjoyment if the price is right, but how much is too much? What is it that justifies the download of a classic you already own?
30 cents is just about the right price for Yoshi’s NES puzzler.
It all comes down to dollars and cents: $10 to $20 for an “old” game seems to be an acceptable norm if you’re giving an HD face-lift and adding online options to a classic like Final Fight or Castlevania: SotN, but beyond graphical and network enhancements, I think the real meat of the psychology behind that final click of the “purchase” button comes down to the accessibility of being able to experience an old favorite on a new console. RE4 happened to be on sale the weekend I decided to download (and re-buy) it, so $10 sounded like an acceptable price for my future disc-less enjoyment of a game I’ll most certainly go back to. With the recent announcement of the Playstation 4’s lack of backward compatibility with PS3 blu-ray discs, opting for the digital copy of a new release is sounding more and more like the way to go.
While the mature me downloads my games, the collector in me cringes at the thought of paying for anything less than stunning box art. Perhaps if companies started offering gamers who purchase a retail copy of their game the option to download the digital version at a discounted price, then maybe people like me could have our cake and eat it too. That said, I just got a message for my pre-ordered copy of Metal Gear Solid: The Legacy Collection, and needless to say, I will NOT be trading in any old titles towards this purchase. #BoxesAreForever –T.C.
Not pictured: The PS4 owner’s incompatible shelf of PS3 games.