Anti-Valentine reviews PC games and writes about the video game industry.
“Do You Ever Buy a Game More Than Once?”
In the gaming community, the topic of buying video games more than once comes up both online and offline. The question that people ask me is always more or less the same: “Do you ever buy a game more than once?”
I answer that question by saying: “Yes, I have—on at least one occasion.”
If I own a retail copy of a game, I’m still tempted to get a digital copy because they often come with bundled extras—including DLC for the base game.
Why I Own Multiple Copies of the Same Game
Lately, I've been running into situations where I end up buying a game more than once. Collectors or hoarders are definitely the types to do this in every form. Personally, I've bought retail, boxed, or digital editions of games (although less often nowadays, seeing as it often costs more, is inferior in some way, or I don't particularly like going to shopping malls to get them as I used to).
Collectors or hoarders are definitely the types to buy games more than once, in every form—retail and digital.
Collecting, Hoarding, and DLC
I'm the type of gamer who would rather hoard stuff than drop it or sell it. For example, in S.T.A.L.K.E.R., I have plenty of guns, and I end up stocking up instead of selling them. The only time I would even sell one is when I already have one in my collection. Then it costs money to restore them enough to sell them, and at that point, I'd rather own the mint condition one that the broken one, so then I need to repair both, so I can keep one and sell the other.
It's an achievement hunting thing. For example, in S.T.A.L.K.E.R., I have a mint condition assault rifle . . . but I'll never use it because my submachine gun does more damage and is superior in virtually every way imaginable.
If I own a retail copy of a game, I'm still tempted to get a digital copy, because they often come with bundled extras—including DLC for the base game. They'll also last longer than a physical copy (even if the file you download gets deleted or something, you can still re-download it from the website). Other pros include possible digital-exclusive features (especially through Steam), the likeliness that they are compatible with your PC (especially if it's an older game), and that there is no DRM (unlike in the boxed copy).
DRM and Steam/GOG
If I own the game on Steam, I’ll still buy it on GOG if I like it and the price is right. Because there’s no DRM on GOG, any additional content that doesn’t come with the Steam version will be available. Also, the GOG copy is a legitimate copy and not just a license for the game (like on Steam), which can be revoked at any time for any reason.
If I own the game on GOG, I’m less likely to get a Steam edition of the game—unless it sports other features that the GOG copy lacks. This is the case with Ghost Recon, which has the expansions on Steam, but not on GOG.com. I own a copy on both platforms.
11 Reasons to Buy a Game More Than Once
There are different camps when it comes to this. Some argue that it's not worth having a game you already own when you could just buy another game that you don't already have instead. They argue that in the end, it's a waste of money.
But there are situations where it might be necessary or at least convenient. Let's look at some of the reasons why people buy games more than once:
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1. The Disc Broke
I’ve had physical copies of games end up broken because the disc got scratched to hell and gone, or was broken. So, in that case, I would obviously want another one.
2. It’s Good to Have a Backup Copy
Especially if the disc version you have breaks, right? In general, it's more convenient to download a game and install it without having to search for it in your closet or cupboard—where it sits for eleven months out of a year—gathering dust. And no discs means no disc changing with bigger games.
3. Nothing Is Better Than a Box
If I were to come across a boxed copy of something like, say, System Shock 2, I would buy it, depending on the price, even though I already have it on both GOG and Steam. You can display box copies on shelves or in display cabinets. You can’t do that with digital copies, unless you were to, say, make a box and a CD with the print out graphic. Even then, it wouldn’t quite be the same, no matter how good it looks.
4. You Want to Protect Your Boxed Copy
Handling a box and a disc increases the chance of wear and breaking, so if you have a digital copy, the only thing that can go wrong is the usual data file corruption and bullshit that happens on your hard drive.
5. One Version Might Be Superior
I already owned Duke Nukem 3D: Atomic Edition on GOG.com, but then Devolver announced that they would release Duke Nukem 3D: Megaton Edition on Steam. This comes with not only a DosBox based copy of Duke 3D but also a high-resolution version complete with the source port—and you get the three officials expansion packs, too. GOG doesn’t have these extras, and it doesn’t look like they ever will, so I grabbed it when it was on sale.
6. Playing With Friends Is Better, Right?
Another thing that makes a Steam copy superior to a GOG copy, even for now with Galaxy, is multiplayer. There’s just much better support for it. Once GOG can fix their client and ensure cross-platform compatibility with Steam, then okay, go ahead and buy it on GOG. Otherwise, you’d better like singleplayer.
You’d have to play it through Steam because a lot of the servers hosted elsewhere would be long gone, especially if it’s an old game.
Original disc-based versions more than likely will not be very compatible with newer operating systems and hardware, and if you’ve recently bought an old game, you can probably rest assured in knowing that you will never need to take it back to the store if it doesn’t work—because they won’t take it back in any case. Digital versions sold on Steam and especially on GOG are much more likely to work, and GOG offers a 30-day guarantee because they’re that confident it will.
8. DRM Free
Many games nowadays have DRM, and not everybody out there approves of it. So let’s say you have a physical copy of Red Alert 3, which has SecuROM DRM, and this bothers you. But guess what? The Steam version of Red Alert 3 doesn’t have SecuROM DRM. That's right, my friend. You can buy it on Steam to avoid the pain in the neck that is installing SecuROM—as it can mess up your optical drives and goodness knows what else.
Sometimes you buy games that you already own inadvertently. They might be bundled with something else that you really want, and buying the bundle is either the only real way to get a hold of it, or it works out to be the cheapest or at least the most cost-effective option. The good news is you can always trade your game (whether it be physical or digital) with somebody else for something you don’t have.
10 . Nothing Else Is Worthwhile
Sometimes there’s just nothing else worthwhile. Even if I have a game, I’m tempted to go ahead and buy another copy just for the sake of it. I like adding to my collection, and buying a Steam or GOG copy of a game is probably just as ridiculous as buying every single edition of a retail game—which is what publishers want you to do.
11. Buying to Gift or Trade
Even if I own the game on GOG already, I might be tempted to buy it again so I can gift or trade it with someone I know. It depends. If the price is low enough, I’ll consider it.
So, Should You Buy Another Copy of a Game?
I have a mental checklist of sorts that I go through when it comes to buying games, especially if I'm to buy them more than once.
Do I have a retail copy of the game?
- If yes, and it does work: Is it as good as a digital version of the game? If yes, then I'll probably just buy it anyway because I like to have a digital backup copy of a game. CDs and DVDs only last so long—and the same could be argued about licenses on Steam, but GOG copies that are DRM free are forever.
- If yes, and it doesn't work: Buy it, because there's a chance the digital copy might work. If it doesn't, get your money back as long as it's still under guarantee. This is less likely to work with retail because most stores won't take back games if the packaging has been opened, while Steam has a 14-day guarantee (or 2 hours playtime), GOG.com has a 30-day guarantee and Origin has a week guarantee.
- If no: Do I like the look of it or how it plays (from playing a demo or watching a YouTube gameplay video of it)? What is the price? If it's cheap, I'll buy it and trade with someone who does want it.
Do I have the game on Steam?
- If yes, and it does work: Is the GOG version any better? If yes, buy it.
- If yes, but it doesn't work: With a GOG copy, there is a better chance of compatibility and higher performance results.
- If no: Buy it.
- If no, but it's available on GOG: Buy it.
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