PC Gaming is quickly becoming digital-only, as Fallout 4 reminds us

3 min read

Fallout 4 isn't all on the disc on PC

There’s an idea that physical media will always be a part of the way we consume games, and I’m often inclined to agree. having the convenience of a physical disc to pop in and install over a massive download is, and probably always will be, a choice that consumers will demand. Except when the demands are ignored, which has been happening on Pc for quite sometime now.

It’s still surprising, but PC gaming has steered towards a digital only future for months now. A stark reminder of that was when Metal Gear Solid V launched on PC via both Steam and physical media, with the latter simply containing a Steam Installer to initiate a download. There was no physical copy of Metal Gear Solid V to be purchased – a move that elicited little shock among those who have been gaming exclusively on PC for years now.

It’s a common thing, but Fallout 4 is subverting it in someway. When the game launches on PC next month, most of it will be on the disc for installation. So you’re not going to be expected to download well over 30GB just to start playing, but that doesn’t mean you won’t be downloading nothing. As Director Pete Hines said on Twitter, parts of the game are still up in the cloud waiting for installation.

That’s still a far better deal for those of us who are internet handicapped, but still not a complete solution. Worse yet is that it’s becoming the exception rather than the rule, as more and more games release with installers burnt onto discs instead of game files themselves. Activation via systems such as Steam are required in this age to curb piracy, but at what point does it become easier to not ship physical media at all?

Read  DOOM Nintendo Switch review–A fully featured package with big visual compromises

While Microsoft and Sony aren’t ready to start imposing the same on consoles, it seems that future is set for PC gaming. And its true dawn doesn’t seem far away either.

Last Updated: October 20, 2015

Alessandro Barbosa

You can all call me Sandy until I figure out how to edit this thing, which is probably never. Sandy not good enough? Call me xXx_J0k3R_360degreeN0Sc0pe_xXx. Also, Geoff’s a bastard.

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    Two years ago this was the future of the Xbone. #dealwithit

    If everything’s going that way, and with games just getting larger & larger, they’ll need to find ways to give people more options when downloading their content. I only need the “E” of “EFIGS”, I don’t need 4k/ super high res texture packs, so why must I download them? Basic install vs custom install – so many different pieces of software use that method, why can’t games?

    • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

      because reason? I don’t know, with games growing in size as much as they have, I’ve switched most of them to my PS4, simply because buying a game on PC has data cost implications for me, to give you an example, when I bought GTAV it had a day one patch of 5GB, so it literally cost me the R800 for the game and an additional R399 for the 5GB Cellc data bundle, with going the playstation route I only pay for the game and can trade it later for a discount on another, hell, even TW3 cost me close to R1000 on PC…

      • Grand Admiral Chief

        Uncapped DSL FTW

        • Viking Of Science

          It is a truth known to many, that to game on PC, you’d
          better have ADSL. That’s just the way it is. #DealWithIt

        • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

          I wish! I stay way out in PTA East, so far that Telkom has decided to no longer lay lines in the area because of cable theft and there is “some” LTE coverage in the area which, by the time they’ve taken my kidney, liver and left toenail, I’ll be able to afford…

          • Have you tried a Wisp? I have a 10/3mb wifi line with 9ms to mweb bf servers constantly and 220ms to wow-eu servers. I actually would reccomend wifi over dsl any day of the week really.

            Edit: FuP of 1TB if anyone is interested in knowing.

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            I’ll definitely have a look into it!

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      • Nikola

        damn dude it really sucks you can’t get DSL and that is the problem in gaming now days they want you to download everything. I have a uncapped DSL from Telkom 4mb works like crap so I had to get extra LTE for my online gaming…

        • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

          Oh the lag when that connection drops from LTE to HSDPA…

          • Nikola

            Luckily I can’t complain about my Telkom LTE-A it really works well when gaming no lag whatsoever. However my data usage seems to disaper a bit too quickly this month very shady! Like wasted 2GB yesterday never even played online or anything my router was just on and PS4 was on…

          • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

            Aish… ok, that is quite hectic!

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Data cost + time cost. I’m in the fortunate position of having uncapped, but it still takes time. Like with W3 & Galaxy fucking out I had to redownload 33gb worth of game, which took a few days because I still had to do other stuff online.

        • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

          Yep! That’s the thing, you can have a monstrous connection, if your client bugs out you’re screwed!

        • Mossel

          “other stuff” 😉

          • Alien Emperor Trevor

            Porn doesn’t stream itself! Er… *cough*

          • Commander JJ of the Normandy


      • I know the pain, although I just haven’t been around to getting DSL connected, as we speak spent about R80ish rand on those R3 for 50mb just to download the new GTA V DLC -_-

    • Grand Admiral Chief

      Good point, only install what you want, like in the old days, only install the language applicable, and a choice for high res vs low res etc

      • Greylingad[CNFRMD]

        Oh, the Witcher 3 had that, come to think of it…

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        • Ghost In The Rift

          Dammit missed my down vote opportunity, one day though.

  • DragonSpirit009

    Ugh the whole going digital thing for me is sometimes a pain. You have to have this and that just to install that. Or you don’t have enough space to update that. I don’t know I’m just not the most positive person about it.

  • Ghost In The Rift

    Sucks for me cause i gots no nets, physical copies are my way of life, and keeps me away from the temptation of torrents and saving 800 bucks, or blow it on Buffalo wings 😛

  • My poor low level internet 🙁

  • Rock789

    I still do and will always (even if it disappears going forward) prefer physical over digital. And it’s not just about download speeds, file sizes, etc. – that can be overcome, or at least alleviated (I mean I have a 10mb Telkom line and it works fine – got the “Hearts of Stone” W3 expansion, which was 4.5Gb, in less than 80min… Whilst downloading the Until Dawn patch… Whilst watching YouTube while I waited).

    It’s more about convenience and actually having something to call mine… And, if my console decides to die, I can simply use my disk to install the game on the new console I get (plug and play… even if I don’t download the patch)… Whereas if your Steam account dies, you have to go through quite a process to prove ownership of said account… And therefore the games on that account. Till that’s completed, you’re gameless (unless you installed everything you owned)…. 🙁

    I know digital is in the process of taking over… But I will always be of the physical disk age. And that will always be my go-to option for gaming.

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      How does one’s Steam account die? Does not compute. ;P

  • string_slinger

    Since we’re discussing a Bethesda game, it needs to be noted that on PS3 Skyrim required a sizeable and downloaded patch to become playable. PS3 was NOT a buy and play experience for me. So, disc or not, for Fallout 4 the chances are it was never going to be ‘playable’ from the discs…;) Bethesda launch bugs are a tried and trusted tradition, peeps!

    It’s still gonna be epic. I still pre-ordered it. But I’m still going to wait a week or 2 before playing it…

  • We need eSATA Cartridges, plug in and BAM game on, NES technology of 1980s.

  • HisDivineOrder

    Where have you been? Most PC gaming has gone digital for YEARS, not months. YEARS. Most PC gamers don’t even build PC’s with disc drives.

  • Commander JJ of the Normandy

    It definitely is inconvenient, but in the recent years internet in SA has really gotten a lot better. (at least in the WC it has). I buy mostly on Steam because it’s convenient and it tends to be cheap most of the time.
    Downloading a 20GB game may take a night or two, but it’s not like I feel the need to have to play the game RIGHT NOW. If going all digital is the future of pc gaming then it’s fine. That’s where we’re heading, and I’m okay with it.

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