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Tech Talk Tuesday: Digital Divide
Updated: Tuesday, December 17 2013, 12:22 PM MST
By Lonnie Valencia
Having choices is what gives consumers like ourselves power. The power to push companies to make better televisions, farmers to fatten up turkeys, and force fast food restaurants to provide a dollar menu. The one choice I want to talk about today is your digital choice- whether to have a physical copy or a digital copy of music, videos, games, etc. I like to call it the "digital divide." Everyone that I’ve talked to seems to have strong feelings on both sides of the fence--gamers especially.
To start off, I have to admit I’m all about digital distribution for almost everything. I’m at the point that I consider any DVD, Blu-Ray, and CD as unnecessary clutter. I use to have stacks and stacks of DVD movies. I use to pride myself on my collection, and I’d show it off with a wall rack display. Now, I see it as another thing I need to dust and keep clean. Once I started downloading movies from iTunes and bought an Apple TV, I’ve yet to grab a movie off that rack to watch. I’ve even re-bought some of the movies that are on my rack, on iTunes, as now they are remastered to 1080p and more convenient to watch digitally. To me, knock on wood, my house could burn down and I’d still have every single song, TV show, and movie floating above in my cloud ready to download when I get back on my feet. To me buying a digital copy is like always having a backup that doesn’t take up physical room.
Every time I make that point, some smart-butt comes back with some catastrophic apocalyptic disaster that takes out all the server farms that hold my account with iTunes. They would ask, “Then what would you do?" First of all, if something like that happened the last thing on my mind would be if my copy of Iron Man 3 made it or not. It’s funny that I have to plan for the end of the world, but a more plausible example, like a house fire, is taken as an unplausible scenario. You’re telling me instead of running for your life you are going to run over and grab every single DVD and CD album off the shelf?
I’m not here to change your mind. To each their own. I just want everyone to understand that as consumers we have the power to push companies to provide services that we want, and there are just as many people that want digital as there are that want discs. I get the feeling that the disc people are collectively putting their fingers in their ears to drown out the rest of us out of sheer fear of change.
Now let's fast forward to the consoles and the new frontier of this topic. Right now, Microsoft and Sony are giving us the option to buy games on discs or digitally download but the ownership value isn't the same for both . Sure, I have a choice in formats but it’s tilted toward discs more then digital. Why? The prices are the same. I know that should sound like both sides are equal but it's not and here’s why.... Discs are given extra value for resale. If I buy a disc, I’m given an option to trade it in or sell it to a friend and recoup some of the money I’ve spent on the game. So on that $60 game, I can easily make back $20 or more making the purchase a wise decision. I can’t do that with a digital download. I know that if I buy a game digitally I’m stuck with it for the life of the console and I have to eat the full price. All they have to do is give us the $20 discount for the digital download. I would even settle for a $10 even $8 savings just to justify that I’m giving up the right to trade the game. Better yet, give it to me at the same price but also give me the next two or three DLCs that come along and call it the, “Digital advantage.” The way things are now, game makers can’t justify that packaging and shipping their product all over the country is costing the same as the download of the digital copy. It should be cheaper digitally and we know it... so stop punishing the few that want it digitally and do it right.
That does it for this Tuesday’s tech talk. Let me know if you agree, disagree, or don’t care in the comment section below. As always we would love your feedback/suggestions for this or our next edition, so feel free to send your comments to our resident Tech Guy Lonnie Valencia.