Are you buying family games this Christmas? We are. We bought a few favorites for the kids, but actually took them back in favor of the eVersions. This was a choice my wife made. That really surprised me. Let me just say in our family, she is not the gadget freak the rest of us are. My Kids and I play games on all of our devices (we have many, one of the perks being in the gadget/game/app development business). She has always resisted using them…until now. To set the scene, about two weeks ago the kids introduced her to Angry Birds on the iPad. She was instantly hooked. Then this last weekend the  Electronic Arts sale was announced and I grabbed many of the titles for 99 cents that were usually $6.99 – 9.99. One of the games happened to be the same as a boxed game she had bought, Piktureka, as a Christmas present . After playing as a family and enjoying the sounds, unique and enjoyable playtime, she bagged up the boxed version and took it back to the store.

I asked her why,  and she said that it just  made sense. The iPad version reduces clutter, is more fun to play, you can’t lose pieces,  and she really likes the sound effects. And to top it all off this is coming from the least techy person in our house. So there you have it. What games are you buying this Christmas. We are also enjoying Clue Spy, Yatzee, and the kids really like Life, although Life for me feels a bit claustrophobic on the iPad.

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5 Comments
  1. My first completely digital purchase was Fallout 3 via Steam. I had just built a new gaming PC and wanted to give it a test-run on something that would push it a little. I didn’t have access to a game store that would carry the kind of thing I was looking for, and the convenience and immediacy of Steam was just too hard to resist. Since then, I’ve purchased most of my PC titles via Steam – one of the exceptions being StarCraft 2 because I wanted the collector’s edition, another because Steam didn’t have the game available because it was a few years old. And yet, I’m still not entirely comfortable with digital-only purchases.

    Digital content delivery is really taking off, making it supremely easy to get what you’re after without leaving the comfort of your home. But there are a few problems that need to be addressed before it will be something I have no qualms with.

    Let’s for a moment imagine that I am without an internet connection, and my computer crashes completely, forcing me to reformat and re-install everything. Any and all games that I’ve purchased on Steam are completely inaccessible to me because I can’t re-download them. I’ve essentially lost whatever money I’ve spent on these titles and have nothing to show for it. Even once I do have an internet connection, I’ve got to spend hours downloading and re-installing everything. Steam does takes care of this almost entirely in the background, but my games are still inaccessible until it’s completed the job.

    Digital content is all the rage right now, so getting the extra-special edition of a game digitally is no problem most of the time. But what if I want that physical tchotchke that I can only get with the boxed product? There’s currently no solution that I’m aware of that will sell me the game digitally, and then ship me the physical extras that come with it.

    Finally, what about availability? Some games are available only on one digital service, some are not available digitally at all. Why should I be forced to have accounts with every service under the sun just so I can have access to the games I want to play? Steam does a pretty good job of this, but not everything is available on any one service.

    I know it’s a little hypocritical to raise these concerns, and yet still go ahead and purchase stuff digitally. Convenience trumps a lot problems when you’re in the moment, deciding what to do. But I think that a truly industry-owning service will recognize the shortcoming of digital content, and have an answer for each of them.

  2. “…there is something special about engaging in the real physical world” says Bob, whom we’ve barely met face to face like twice… 😉

  3. I think there is something more tactile, & engaging with physical board games. Sitting around a table playing Scrabble, Boggle or Life with the family leads to discussions, side conversations. When you play these same games on a device you are heads down and although you are playing together it feels more like separate play.

    I do like the convenience of the digital versions, however there is something special about engaging in the real physical world that for me is not duplicated on devices and consoles.

  4. Ryan

    I feel the same way. My wife loves board games, but we have 3 boys under 6. Every single kids card or board game we buy gets torn apart and spread throughout our house. If I’m able to buy the iversion or xbox version, I will.

    However for certain games, the form factor is important. The tactile aspect of being able to feel the cards and place them on a playing surface is lost. I for one hope for the iCoffeeTable to come soon.

    I feel that Microsoft really fumbled the ball here. Theyve had the surface out for years but have found no real penetration other than casino bars and best buy kiosks.

    If I had a interactive table surface that recognized iOS and android devices and multi touch, game night at the greens would never be the same and I think society might rediscover what it is to look their opponent in the eyes.

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