Now that the power cut is officially over and out of the way (man it feels longer than 6 days!), I can start to talk about the Monkey Island remake, along with Steam and Battle.net. I decided to expand the post because Steam is the method I used to download the game and right now, I’m fully starting to appriciate Steam for what it is; a good way of getting games without the storage overhead! I mean, it’s nice having a CD, but when you’re on the move, it’s not practical to carry a game with you, is it? I applaud Valve for releasing Steam in the first place. Granted, it may have initially started off a bit rocky (most new things did), but it’s starting to really become a great way of getting games, or storing some of the games you already have! For instance, if you add your Half Life or Gunman Chronicles key to Steam, it gives you Half life and lots of goodies… this was a pleasant surprise for me, as I unfortunately lost access to my original Steam account, so it’s on their system, but I’ve no way of accessing it! Either way though, because of the advent of faster broadband, the retail landscape has been changed – you can now download a DVD worth of content in a matter of hours, rather than weeks! Additionally, digital downloads reduce the cost of a product, seeing as the distribution and manufacturing charges have been wiped off; those for the box, manuals, the game media itself and transport costs. Altogether, this does make for a cheaper game.
Another aspect to digital downloads is that the download is just data, meaning you can’t break it! I’ve lost one or two CDs and ended up just buying a replacement, as it seemed to be too much hassle to return it to the developer (the media cost almost as much as the game would have – plus I was in Ireland the devs pointed to the UK which wasn’t that cheap to post to!). At least with this method, people can keep their media safe and also carry it around with them – all that’s needed is internet access. That certainly means less baggage for me anyway, seeing as my laptop weighs a ton! There are a couple of downsides though, at least for me… firstly, although I may physically have a particular game that’s for sale on Steam, I may not necessarily be able to add it. This presents a problem as I have to purchase an entirely new copy of the game for it to be on Steam. For a game like the X-Com collection, this was less of an issue, as I could offset most of the cost by saying that I needed UFO to complete the collection. Granted, it’s just one game, but it does make the overall cost feel a bit less. I also have my eye on the id software collection too, as the value of the games I don’t have are nearly the value of the pack itself.
Decisions like that are a lot easier to make. Of course, one thing I do plan to do is compare the prices of games on Steam over what they are retail. If they’re cheaper or the same price on Steam, I’ll get it there instead. I can’t fully move away from non-digital downloads though as It’s not very practical for me. That said however, if devs like Blizzard are also hopping onto the DD bandwagon, I’ll be happy. The new Battle.net has impressed me so far, and I’ve only just signed up! They now offer the ability to download a digital copy of their games, which is cool. My copy of Diablo 2: LOD seems to be a bit screwy atm, so this is a welcome method of downloading a copy of the media that should work! I think my WarCraft III expansion suffered a similar fate as well. One thing I am concerned about though is the fact I selected US English for StarCraft by mistake. Now, don’t get me wrong, I can understand US English fine, but I’m concerned about the technical issues more to be honest. I guess this just means I have to download a different patch now. Either way, I do appriciate the facility to download my Blizzard games. I’ve also just downloaded a system checker for StarCraft II, so I can opt into the beta, or at least try anyway. Either way, after much grief (the checker told me it couldn’t upload my system info), it uploaded it anyway. Now I’m not sure if it’s because the app is screwy, but I figure it uploaded the data the first time, or perhaps it did it after I moved my PC into my router’s DMZ… either way I don’t think I’ll ever know. But it’s done now, so I can rest easy. That said though, while Googling some ports for the app, I saw someone mention that 400GB is needed to participate in the Beta testing program.
Tags: Battle.net, Beta Testing, Blizzard, Casual Gaming, Diablo, games development, Games Industry, Games Stuff, Monkey Island, PC, StarCraft Series, Steam, Warcraft, X-Com