Good Evening people of the internet.
On a little bit of a morbid note, I got to thinking about my beloved games collection and what exactly would happen to it when I eventually kick the bucket and go for that really long gaming session in the sky.
You see, according to my Steam profile, I own exactly 185 games and the majority are only in digital format (no boxed copy). In reality, I actually own more than that because there are some games that I only own a physical copy of. Although I paid for these games with my hard earned cash (as all good PC Gamers do), I have to ask myself a question: do I legally ‘own’ a copy of those digital games? Also, if Steam went down tomorrow, would I still be able to access and play those games? Could I bequeath those games to my heir(s) in my Will if I so desired? Would anyone even want them?
I think these are very valid questions and deserve some thought. For centuries, people have passed down their prize possessions to loved ones – items like books, trinkets, jewelry, and furniture – and more recently, items like stamp, record, and comic book collections. If items like these can be passed down, then why not games? A big part of the problem is that games are stored on fragile plastic disks, and those tend to decay a lot faster than a solid oak table. Another problem is that the way we store games tends to change rather rapidly, as does the hardware required to run the software. Also, games tend to become obsolete rather quickly and don’t hold their value well; there is always something new on the horizon. But real classics, like Half Life – will anyone care if you own a legit copy in its original box in 100 years time? If the people of that age are able to boot the game up, will they find it as enjoyable as we once did?
I guess that is the difference between physical media like books and digital media like games: books are tangible and don’t require machines to enjoy them, just our eyes and brains. They have a sort of timeless quality. Games, on the other hand, they strike me as more transient and fleeting: we enjoy them for a time, move on, and then something new comes along to replace it. That will never happen to a genuine copy of Shakespeare’s First Folio.
In the end, though, you really can’t take it with you. So, instead of worrying about what will happen to your games after you die, my advice is this: play and enjoy your games today, because you never know when your last gaming session will be.