There are many services that have come out lately where you can purchase games digitally. Instead of buying the box from the store and bringing it home to install it, you can buy the game online and download it to your system. These services will update the game for you and deal with the licensing of it on various computers and installations as opposed to using security codes. While there are some advantages to this, there are also some downsides to buying digital games.
The first is that you are giving up considerable control. You don’t have the CDs or the box to your games. These are being managed digitally. This means that there is a chance that you can lose control over the games that you own. At times some could be pulled for contract reasons. Other times you can get locked out of the games that you own because of server issues going down or conflicts with internal DRM.
You can’t take these games and sell them to others or trade them in for store credit like you can with games that you physically buy. You lose this extra benefit that you get when buying games the traditional way.
If a friend wants to play your game, you can’t loan it to him or her so they can enjoy it to. The digital side of the games takes away the social aspect where you can trade and loan out the games that you own.
At times you also have some limitations on how many computers you can install the game to. This means that you might get licenses to install it on five computers. Once these are gone, you can be out of luck if you want to play the game on the sixth machine. Over time this means that you might lose the ability to play the games that you already own.