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Digital VS Retail: FIGHT!

Remember a time when you'd camp out in front of your local gaming store because a new game or console was about to come out? I do, but that stopped a long time ago. Mostly because my local gaming store began hiring people who knew nothing about video games or what was going on inside the store.

I've been noticing this decline in retail businesses for quite a few years now. It first started with the movie retail business. With spectacular services like Netflix and Redbox, many places have closed their doors. Hollywood Video, West Coast Video, and Blockbuster Videos have changed their business strategy. In my area, some of them have closed and the new Blockbuster Rental Kiosks (ala Redbox) have taken their place. Nobody wants to deal with the hassle of late fees, extremely limited special edition copies, and other hassles. People just want to sit and watch movies together. Netflix has a userbase of approxiamately 20 million subscribers. That's a lot of people, a lot of people the retail industry wish they currently had. It was pretty much a no brainer to me to begin seeing so many retail movie businesses close down. With Netflix, there's no late fees, hefty amounts of Blu-ray copies, instant streaming, getting your order in one business day or less, and low costs, why go to a retail store? Netflix has outperformed so well that there's suppose to be a new digital downloading service that will launch movies alongside their theatrical release. Since so many people have their own personal home theatres, why not? Digital downloading is appearing to be the way of the future, and it's appeasing many people.

The question is, will there ever be a Netflix to gaming that'll begin putting every retail business to shame? The answer is, yes. In fact, there are already many of them. To name of a few, you have Valve's Steam service, Gamefly (which is overpriced in my opinion), Gametap, and the newly released OnLive digital gaming console. A service like Steam is a fantastic service. For Valve's games on Steam, you get automatic DLC and updates. You can buy the special edition of games on Steam just as you would if you were to go to a store. Except, all this is done digitally and rather quickly. If PC gaming isn't your kind of thing, then you have the other 3 services to choose from. Many gaming companies have been saying that digital downloading gaming consoles will be the way of the future, and in all honesty, I think they're right. I think that day is coming and it's coming rather soon. Many gaming retail stores have shut down, to name one was Gamecrazy, which was contracted with Hollywood Video. I knew Gamecrazy was going to be dying out when they started the "You have to pre-order in order to buy this game" rule. It's obvious they began having a shortened library of games to choose from, so they started a ridiculous rule. I haven't had the time to check out the OnLive service, but from what I've been hearing it's a really great console with a lot of potential. It's just most gamers of today are so afraid to not have a disc in their hand. I don't really know why, but that's just how some of them are. I believe it's because of some misconception they have about digital downloading. Some seem to think there's performance issues with digital downloading, I can't really see that argument, but some make it. With digital downloading, you get faster boot ups, fewer loads, and just overall better organization. You don't have to constantly look where you put your disc or check if it has any scratches.

Another reason I jumped shipped from the retail gaming business was simply because their pre-order bonus specials were mediocre, at best. No one cares about getting a strategy guide, I want more. Where do I get more, you ask? From websites like Amazon or Play. Amazon is a fantastic website where you can get awesome special edition copies, pre-order bonuses at probably a lower price. Amazon is one of the only places you can buy a game at a lower price rather than paying 60 dollars for a game that's been out for over a year. There's not one person who doesn't like Amazon's sales specials, how can you not? They're great. I can't even remember the last time I stepped into a Gamestop. If I were to guess, I'd say 7 months ago. From what I remember when I was there, there was almost no traffic inside the store. Virtually empty. I noticed the decline in the amount of customers at Gamestop stores a while ago. I think Gamestop is noticing this too, considering all of their stores in my area are spamming game character cardboard cut-outs and posters all over the main entrance of the store to attract more customers. I remember a time when Gamestop wasn't really doing that. So much has changed since the uprising of digital downloading. Services like Wii Ware, Playstation Network, and Xbox Live Arcade on the current home consoles are also proving that. Downloadable games are now winning awards, getting media attention, and causing people to look at gaming in a new light.

You're probably asking yourself, "well what do you think is happening with the future of gaming?" My answer is, I think going digital is the way it's going to be, whether people like it or not. Personally, I love digital, and I do hope this is the future of movies and gaming business.

PS: Gamestop just recently bought a digital downloading company, so it's obvious they are noticing the change too.
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About Crazybone126one of us since 2:26 PM on 04.20.2011

What's up Destructoid viewers! My name's Lamar! Some folks call me LJ, and you completely have the ability to call me that as well. I won't hold anything against you. I'm 18. I started gaming when I was 3 years old, and thanks to a life without drugs and alcohol, I can completely remember playing video games that came out in 1996. Most of it was shovelware nonsense, but I did own the classics as well. Throughout my very short life, I've owned an NES, SNES, Sega Genesis, Sega Saturn (Daytona USA ftw), Playstation 1, Playstation 2, Xbox, Gamecube, Gameboy, Playstation 3, PC, and a Nintendo Wii. Despite my younger age, I'm just as old school as the gamers in their 20s and 30s. So if you were to discuss games from many many years ago, I'd completely be aware of what you're talking about. I got into gaming simply by watching my older brothers play, and my mother use to play games in her heyday as well, and I guess I just followed suit.

Since I've been involved with so many gaming consoles throughout my life, I don't really have a favorite. I will label some games that I did enjoy a helluva lot though. When I was younger, I really enjoyed Super Mario World. Lots of people may disagree with this, but I personally believe Super Mario World to be the best Mario game. To me, Super Mario World was what Ocarina of Time was to the Zelda franchise. Another game I really enjoyed was Sonic the Hedgehog 3, and I will admit, I'm a little excited for Sonic Generations. Sonic's not what he use to be, and I really think Generations may bring him back to standards. I really enjoyed Final Fight, sorry Haggar, but Guy was my favorite. He was just so young, agile, and more attractive than you, and quicker! Oh, here's another game. Knights of the Round. To this very day, I still wish Capcom would remake that game. It was just so lovely. During it's time, it had the most advanced level up system I've ever seen. Killer Instinct is on that "Remake" list too. I loved all of the Donkey Kong Country games, because well, it was Rare back in their prime. You know, back before Microsoft bought them out and completely ruined them. Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles IV: Turtles in Time! I can't even tell you how many hours I logged into that game playing with my cousin. The HD remake of Turtles in Time they made about two years ago, I give two thumbs down. It just wasn't the same. Mostly because the awesome music was absent. Goldeneye, nuff said. There's so many more games I thoroughly enjoyed as a kid. Nowadays, I enjoy many games, but they don't give off the same effect as they once did. I try to stray away from the oversaturated and generic first person shooter genre, but I do occasionally put some time into Call of Duty. I've always been an action and adventure and platforming fan, so games like The Legend of Zelda, Kingdom Hearts, Uncharted, Super Mario Galaxy, and even the Lord of the Rings games are very welcome in my gaming consoles. Now since I'm rereading that previous sentence, I guess I'm a fan of Action RPGs. I just love leveling up and actually feeling like I've accomplished something. I'm also a Monster Hunter fan.

What do I miss about gaming? I miss the HUGE boxes PC games use to come in. I miss gaming manuals. I think I may be the only gamer out there that still reads their gaming manual before playing the game for the first time. Back in old gaming manuals you wouldn't just get the controls of the game in there, you got character bios, item bios, and even some tips on how to defeat an enemy. Nowadays, you have to fork over 20 bucks for a goddamn strategy guide to get that kind of information. I miss my old Doom floppy disc. It was awesome because it was red, and red is my favorite color. I also miss my Diablo floppy disc. Just thinking back on it, floppy discs were so useless. You could save only like one Microsoft Word file on them and that was it. That's another story though. I miss arcades. Every time I went to the mall, I would make sure I was loaded up on some quarters to play some arcade games. I always avoided the House of the Dead aisle because I use to be scared of that game. I miss when developers actually cared about developing a nice and engaging single-player campaign. Now online is the main focus of almost all games, and you can thank the "MLG Pr0 L33t" players for that. What I also miss about gaming is when people didn't care about what console someone else was playing on. If you owned a Sega Genesis and your friend owned a SNES, while your other friend was jamming out on the PC, there was no scrutiny and pointless arguments going on between you. Now, there's just a strong divide between people who own different consoles. Who cares if someone owns a Wii and not a PS3 or Xbox 360 (or the other way around), if that's the console that makes that person happy, then let them be happy with it. People focus far too much on system power equaling quality. Thank Sony for that mindset. This whole hardcore VS casual thing needs to die out. A plethora of rated M games doesn't make you any more hardcore than someone with a plethora of rated T and E games. I could easily get my mother to play a Grand Theft Auto game and have her enjoy it. Does that mean she's a hardcore gamer? Absolutely not. And if I get her to play Nintendogs, does that make her a casual gamer? No. But what if I get her to play Nintendogs for countless hours of the day with her coming back to it numerous times because she just HAS to play it because she enjoys it a lot? Does that make her hardcore now? Can't answer that one, can you? That's why we need to do away with the labels and just play games to have fun and not to earn bragging rights. Basically, death to fanboys!

This is probably the longest bio on Destructoid in like the history of ever, but I just thought this'd be a brilliant way for you guys to see who I am, what I like, and maybe you guys can even relate to me a little bit and dive deep into my subconcious.
PSN ID:ThaPr1meK1ng
Steam ID:ThaPr1meK1ng
Mii code:0350-2088-6184-7387


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