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I Hope Developers Follow Remedy's Example and the Gaming Industry Abolishes Disc Culture

I Hope Developers Follow Remedy's Example and the Gaming Industry Abolishes Disc Culture

Recently, Remedy — the genius minds behind Control and the Alan Wake franchise — released an FAQ following the PlayStation Showcase 2023 and the official announcement for Alan Wake 2. In it, there was some news that some might find disheartening, some may find to be a deal-breaker, and others will either not care or be glad: Alan Wake 2 is not releasing in a disc version.

Now, there has been and continues to be a war between those who prefer digital-only libraries and those who believe that if you don't own a physical disc, you don't own your product. While partly proven by various companies over time, with games being removed from your library impromptu, especially when bought from other key sellers, this hasn't stopped the ongoing discussion from growing.

I'm part of the former team — disc releases are nothing to PC players, and as a PC-only type of gal, I see barely any reason to demand a physical release; my computer doesn't even have a disc drive! And although I've always tried to avoid becoming a loyalist to either side in gaming wars, I'm glad that the disc version of Alan Wake 2 was omitted, and I even hope other companies follow suit.

Alan Wake 2 Alan Wake Gameplay Reveal Trailer

To better understand why, let's talk about the reasons Remedy decided to skip out. In their FAQ, they speak about three main reasons why: most players now use digital versions, additional downloads for disc versions, and price changes. All of these fix an issue that, at one point or another, the gaming community has argued about, though I'd specifically like to point out the two biggest ones — additional downloads and price changes.

One of Remedy's arguments against disc versions is because of the notorious day-one patch trend. Straight from their FAQs, they describe this as the following:

Finally, we did not want to ship a disc product and have it require a download for the game — we do not think this would make for a great experience either.

Alan Wake Writing Alan Wake 2 Gameplay Reveal

An argument that many have made over recent years: what is the point of disc versions if you're still going to have to download a multi-gig update just to play your game? This essentially breaks the entire point of having a disc, aside from your domain over the product you own and capabilities to resell or trade for others. But this isn't the biggest selling point for me — the reason I want companies to follow Remedy's example is because of the pricing.

Over recent months, we've seen games starting to become egregiously expensive; there has been a recent price hike over this new console generation featuring games costing $69.99 on release. Gaming was already at an all-time high with the original $59.99, and when accounting for countries that don't get favourable regional pricing, it's become borderline impossible to join in on new AAA trends. Especially when most of the time, you're getting a product that is unoptimised, buggy, or plainly unplayable.

Remedy claims that refusing to release a disc version allows them to keep original prices and gives them an edge over competitors — $59.99 on consoles and $49.99 on PC is a blessing for many of us that have suffered at the hand of $69.99 games. If discs have to suffer for gaming to become slightly more accessible once again, I can get behind it.

Alan Wake FBI Agent Gameplay Reveal Trailer Alan Wake 2

Finally, there is one more argument that not even Remedy made — discs aren’t environmentally friendly. From the case to the disc itself, many of the components aren’t particularly healthy for the environment and cannot be recycled with ease. As presented by West Coast Computer Recycler in an article called The Environmental Impact of CD-ROMs, discs aren’t easily recyclable (though possible with a costly and rare technology), meaning they end up in landfills or incinerated, releasing toxic dioxins.

In this day and age, owning anything is questionable at best. From a patch that could (potentially) revoke your ownership to servers being brought down, a disc is no longer a surefire way to ensure that you own your own product. It’s pricey, it requires an extra download, it’s becoming a niche, and it further breaks our already-dying environment. What more arguments could you need to go digital-only?

Artura Dawn

Artura Dawn

Staff Writer

Writes in her sleep, can you tell?

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