Many people have nostalgia for old video games, myself included. As many people played games on consoles’ back then or have lost their original retail disks, game publishers have realised that they can make money by selling their back catalogue on digital marketplaces like Steam for example.
But of cause there are other options for getting hold of old video games, both legal and illegal. This is where the key topic of this article comes into play as older PC games originally came on CD/DVDs, there is also a market on websites like eBay and Amazon of people selling second hand copies. This raises whether it is better to purchase a older game on Steam or a second hand physical disk.
Advantages of Physical Second Hand PC Games
Second hand games are often cheaper than digital downloads As almost no one wants old physical copies of PC games, they can often be had much cheaper than their digital download alternative. for example, I recently brought an excellent condition used copy of Fable: The Lost Chapters on eBay for £1.95, the same game would have cost £6.99 on Steam.
No way for your game to be revoked When you sign up for pretty much any digital distribution service, you agree to terms of service that allow the platform to revoke any of the games you have “bought” at any time. This risk is not only theoretical as people have found themselves suddenly banned from platforms like Steam which led to them losing access to their entire game library, for at least some time.
Simpler to install on more systems With Steam, you have to install the software on the target computer, which in turn requires you log in to the service. Almost every physical used game does not require any extra software which makes is far more convenient when installing on multiple computers.
Disadvantages of Physical Second Hand PC Games
Often having to use a “crack” due to non-working DRM Many older PC games had some pretty awful DRM schemes that relied on features of previous windows versions that are no longer supported by modern versions of Windows. This means that often you have to download a “No-CD” crack in order to even play your older games.
You have to store and keep track of the physical game disk If you remember the old images of people having entire walls of their living room, just filled with shelves full of videos games than you will probably won't want to think about how you would even store that many game disks nowadays.