Sunday, 14 April 2013

BLOG -- Physical Media vs. Digital Media

So, this is an old topic, and I'm sure that many have already had debates or discussions about the pros and cons for both sides. But I've been thinking about them more these days, especially since my physical collection has been kinda overflowing for a few months / years now. Here's an old pic of my room. Surprisingly, it still looks the same (just with different titles displayed).

An old pic of my room, displaying part of my collection (that's overflowing).

Physical Media
-Ownership can change hands: after buying something and realizing that you don't like it, you can possibly sell it or give it away to somebody else.

-Can be lent out: this is the pretty much the same thing as the first point.

-Expression of interest: this is a little cheesy (well, maybe not), but having a physical copy of something allows you to display it, outwardly expressing your interest. And if you're displaying some limited edition version like this crazy version of Resident Evil 6, it also expresses your degree of interest in it. (FYI, I would never buy something that expensive just to express my fandom).

-Space issues: the more you own, the less space you'll have to own anything else. At that point, you'll either end up moving to a larger space, or you'll end up selling / giving stuff that you can give up (but wish that you didn't have to).

-Wears and tears: well, this is sorta a given. Everything breaks down eventually.

Digital Media
-Removal of space issues: this is fairly straightforward. Owning digital copies of 10 different video games means 10 video games that don't need to be put up on a shelf.

-Fairly portable: I'm thinking more about e-books for this point, but it can probably be applied for almost all media. I mean, I don't think I would ever bring a PS3 over to anybody's place, so digital PS3 games won't be portable for me.

-Harder to steal: if the device is stolen, you can often re-download whatever you bought. Though if your account is hacked... well...

-Ownership is stuck to you: whatever you buy is stuck to your account; you can't sell your media, even if you don't like it.

-Device/Server-specific-dependent: to read an e-book, you'll need to use an e-book reader; to play Steam games, you'll need to be logged onto their site. Now, most physical media already requires a device / console, but not all. And if the device breaks down (like, your computer), you'll have to replace it and re-download the media all over again. For digital media that requires you to be logged onto a site, if that site is ever taken down, your ownership of that specific media will probably be gone.


So, in the whole physical media vs. digital media debate, I see benefits and cons for both sides, though I personally still lean more towards owning physical media instead of digital. The main reason for that is the ability of changing ownership. If it ever came a time where I was super broke and had to sell my media collection to get by, I could. I wouldn't be able to do that with a digital media collection. 

To me, I also find that with physical media -- I'm thinking specifically with video games here -- it is easier to raise awareness, since it is easier to lend out / sell at a cheaper price. Video games tend to be expensive for a blind buy. If it's a blind digital buy, it could also be risky. I've bought some digital games that I now regret, and can't do anything about it.

I can also see the pros with owning digital copies, especially with manga and long-running anime / TV shows. I mean, I totally want to support One Piece since it's one of my favourite anime series. But I don't want to physically own 60+ manga volumes or who knows how many DVDs (it's over 200 episodes long). I would probably have no room for anything else if I did.

So... in conclusion... I tend to prefer owning physical media because they still retain some value. I also like to display / express my fandom. But for media that would take up too much space, going digital is then my preference.

Thanks for reading! If I missed any points or anything, feel free to comment. Have a great week! :)

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