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PixlTalk Episode 68: Digital Chocolate

You will pry my game cases out of my cold, dead hands. Physical media for life!

Various technical difficulties, internet ghosts, and Rob operating at 40% capacity can’t stop the Tri-Force crew from making their appointed podcast rounds. This week, we are joined by a very special guest—John Gholson from! He joins the rest of the crew for a veritable smorgasbord of sumptuous geekery. We also answer your questions, talk about what we’ve been playing, get into some movie discussion, and throw some comic book love your way.

Rob kicks off the main topic of the show as we chat about all things digital. How does digital distribution affect game collectors and archivers? What happens to your digital purchases when their format is no longer supported? We also look at the benefits of going digital, especially when it comes to older games getting new releases and indie developers getting their games seen and played.

Rob was running on fumes, but through the magic of technology and "special" medicine we brought him back. He sounds like he’s operating at 67% capacity! And if you didn’t hear a lot of Patrick this week it’s only because he was playing Diablo 3 the whole time. Probably. Oh, and if you want to enjoy more entertaining anecdotes from John, follow him on Twitter @gholson. He left you this special gift, sketched during the podcast:


Featured Music:

Daft Punk-The Grid

Within Temptation-Shot in the Dark



Rob Ottone Staff Alumnus

05/24/2012 at 06:35 PM

Still tired.


05/25/2012 at 05:01 PM

That's the first time I've heard from John Gholson and I thought he was a great guest, I hope he can make it back sometime and be a guest on more episodes. Thanks for answering my question too John! Battleship tanking doesn't surprise anybody probably, but it just begs the question, "Why did they do it?" What's next, Connect Four The Movie with a teen vampire twist? Battleship the board game doesn't even have characters, story, or a universe. There's no context at all in that sense. It's just a grid, some ships, probability, and trying to sink another person's ship. I hear a lot of people say that Hollywood is out of ideas, and Rob was commenting on that perception in a previous episode on how Hollywood likes to follow whatever is popular. With all that said about "Hollywood's creativity being gone" or "Hollywood just following trends" I was completely confused when Battleship showed up. Reason being is because it doesn't necessarily follow any trends from a business perspective, and it's not very interesting creatively. So both creatively and business-wise this movie seems fucking dumb from it's inception. The ever-reliable Wikipedia says that the budget for the movie was just over 200 million dollars. Why did they make this?

Good discussion on digital downloads too. I don't have a problem with digital stuff as long as A) We have the infrastructure and tech to make it as fast, cheap, and convenient as possible. And B) As Julian mentioned, somebody needs to find a solution for archivists.

Having everything digital, in clouds, or whatever, and the benefits of having tech solutions like that (there are certainly many benefits, if the entire solution works well) don't outweigh the negative of making archiving impossible. If they can find a solution for still allowing collectors and archivists to do what they do, it should all be fine. Ideally I wish you could always have the options to buy physical media. Digital content should ditch the rigid pricing structure and price things lower to account for all the money they're not spending on printing discs and what not. But there should always be an option to buy physical media. I would absolutely pay extra money if I could buy a collectors edition of a future Halo or Half Life game in a tin case and everything with all the fan-fare and fixins.

I just want the choices. If I want a collectors edition in a tin case of Halo I should be able to get it like I've always done. If I don't care about the extra stuff and I just want the raw game in a digital form, I should be able to do that too. I'm the consumer, give me what I want. I have demand, you should make supply. I will pay money for what I want, and if you have what I want I will give you money, it's simple lol! Well it's not that simple at all, but I wish it was. I agree with Rob I think the next console gen will dip its toes in each pool (digital/physical) and they will wait to see which one ends up being preferred in the end by consumers.

Ever since the Halo series started releasing tin-case collectors editions I've bought every single one I can get my hands on and I've eaten up every little piece of fiction they have. If "the future" prevents me from getting my tin case, extra artwork, fiction, and fan fare, I'm going to bust a nut. I will go back in time and kill John Connor if that happens. Or is it the other way around? Do I need to stop Skynet? Who knows. Something would have to die, that's for fucking sure.

Jesse Miller Staff Writer

05/25/2012 at 05:14 PM

You know, when it comes to physical content I have a feeling that it's going to go the way of music.  It will be mostly digital, but there will always be old fogies like me who still like collecting and playing it on good ole' vinyl.  

So, when digital started taking over and CDs started to disappear, vinyl sales and production began to expand.  Special editions and limited runs were made available only in this form - and a lot of new vinyl releases come with digital copies so we can take advantage of both.  Sure the vinyl costs more, but I get my value out of it.

It's not a perfect analogy, but I'm guessing that we'll start seeing more crazy collectible editions of games and less normal editions as digital becomes the norm.  It'll be a niche for the collector and the old fogie alike.


05/25/2012 at 06:08 PM

I understand what you mean Jesse, and I'd be happy with that I guess. I would certainly pay the extra money to get physical stuff and collector's items for games that are really special to me like a Halo for example. If the standard edition box and disc got replaced and the new "standard edition" of games became the raw digital form I wouldn't mind. As long as I could easily and conveniently still buy a physical special copy of the game like we can today. They could cut costs and make their games a little cheaper by making the digital one the standard edition, and they could still satisfy the people who will pay the extra money for physical stuff like you and me would do.

The cheaper costs of putting the digital standard edition out there would help the companies save money, hopefully allow them to get away from the rigid $60 price standard, and I think that kind of low cost and convenience would be able to get games to a lot of people and make people open their wallets more often.

People go nuts for STEAM sales, and the convenience of STEAM, why wouldn't they do the same for consoles? The whole digital side could possibly work pretty well, but if they also allow us to buy the special editions and pay extra for the physical copies that would be the best. That's a pretty okay future I guess, it's much better than just being "all-digital" or "all-physical". Finding middle ground and balance would work for me.

Esteban Cuevas Staff Alumnus

05/25/2012 at 07:16 PM

I pretty much share Michael117's opinion about not minding digital content but wanting the option. The analogy Jesse used is also appropriate. Having said that, I will say that almost all my media is digital now because I don't have the space or the money for physical media, not to mention that there are no vinyl or comic book stores, or indie game stories. That sucks too because I would love to have a bookshelf, DVD rack, and record player.

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