Digtal game downloads, are they better than physical discs?

I was very recently faced off with a choice of either saving some cash and buying a game off of the PlayStation Network Sony Entertainment Network , or getting the physical disk for the game, since here in Egypt, PlayStation 3 games are grotesquely overpriced, the best prices I have personally found are those in this website (Which offers great service, and the one co-owner I have met of this whole investment was very friendly, and a gamer himself), although a look at the prices there, Battlefield: Bad Company 2 costs a whopping $42, while in Gamestop, it only costs $20 (though new games cost normally $3 to $5 more) but I wouldn’t personally blame the guy, you have taxes added, shipping costs, and the guy has to have some sort of commission from the sales, else he would just be a delivery man. Anyway, with this rather long and boring introduction said, I’ll get back to the point I started.

So I decided on buying Infamous 2 from the PSN, for $50-$55 (I can’t really remember how much), and all the “retailers” in Egypt were selling it for 420 EGP (which is roughly $70, not taking in consideration the website I had mentioned before, didn’t know of it yet, also not taking in consideration Virgin Megastores, which, and I am typing this still in disbelief, are selling Skyrim for 600 EGP, which is exactly $100, the price for the special edition! And the edition they’re selling is the standard one!), anyway, I bought a couple of PSN cards from Amazon (back when they sold digital ones), recharged my PSN wallet, and went on to purchase Infamous 2 (which was great by the way!), after the purchase was completed, and I tried convincing myself to get excited about having purchased a new game (you know, that initial excitement when you go out of the game store, with your new game in hand, I was trying to emulate that… Didn’t work), and I was greeted with a behemoth of a download file, a 15GB file, which was probably the biggest file I had to download in my life, but I thought my internet connection was fast enough, and it actually could have been worse! Well, let’s just say I tried several times to kick myself in the nuts afterwards.

Since here in Egypt, having a 1Mbit down-link connection is considered among many a premium, a 2Mbit connection would be out of this world! And that’s what I have at home, sadly, that meant a maximum of 240KB/s download rate, now imagine this “lightning fast” internet connection, downloading a 15000000000 KBs file… Took me almost 24 hours! And that’s not the best part! Here’s what happened next, after the download was finished, and I was again excited to play the sequel to one of my favorite games, I remembered that there would be the install time, which seemed to take awfully longer than it should have, so, optimistic as I am, I restarted my console, tried installing the file again, nothing, contacted Sony’s twitter account, and the guy who replied told me that I should re-download the file… Yeah, apparently people outside of Egypt don’t know how frustrating it is downloading a file that big, but then again, the dude helped, and for this I thank him.

So there I was, 24 hours in and no Cole Macgrath, I started the download again, another day went by, and the game was finally downloaded, installed in almost an entire hour, but worked fine that time.

Now onto another story, I purchased Half Life 2: Episode 1 off of Steam a few months ago, but didn’t install it, went to Philadelphia a month ago, tried installing it on the 30Mbit down-link connection I was using, and the game downloaded in 15 minutes I think, 20 minutes later I had downloaded both x64 and x86 variations of Windows 8’s Consumer Preview (Why both? I was happy with the download speed!)

So, in a nutshell, should you consider purchasing full retail games digitally? Well, if you’re living in the US, hell no! Nothing matches the feeling of owning a physical object that you have paid for, and almost always digital versions of games are priced at the same price tag of their physical counterparts, except for the PlayStation Vita, but Sony made up for that with making ridiculously expensive proprietary memory cards! (Don’t you just love Sony?) If you’re anywhere else in the world, say for example, the United Kingdom, I would actually urge you to consider it, simply because the British consumer gets ripped off on prices, if you’re British, you should definitely consider making a US PSN account and buy games off of it, you’ll save, A LOT! And lastly, if you’re, like me, from Egypt, or anywhere else where an internet connection of 256Kbit is still existent, then by all means go for the physical version, the few dollars you’ll save aren’t that much in the face of the frustration you’ll be facing.

Let me know what you folks think of this issue in the comments section below.