The viability of video streaming to me hasn’t been proven because too many of them trying to emulate cable/satellite providers rather than do what works on the internet. It doesn’t help that a lot of them are studios who want all the money and don’t really know how to set up a streaming service as well as they think. I sure don’t know the ins and outs of it. Comics do the same thing, with digital libraries available and every other medium seems to be making their own effort as well
For some reason video game companies are also trying to get into the steaming…sorry…game but is that really the most beneficial to the gamers out there? I’m not talking about simply downloading them. I mean using their servers over the internet to play the game. Do you really own the game or are you just paying to use it until the service breaks down? Game Theorist Austin has his own YouTube channel where he does video game reviews and commentary and tackles the issue of gaming subscription services, both their advantages and their disadvantages. [NOTE: OCCASIONAL SWEARING] I have my own thoughts as well.
In an article for The Clutter Reports I made a defense of physical media, the article focused on holding on to records versus converting everything to MP3. The reasoning I gave there is that current storage devices are easier to destroy, namely the SD card. All digital options for video games also take up a lot of hard drive or SD card space, depending on how you store it so I understand wanting to just stream everything. Like Austin said in the video, a lot of games are just the starter to download everything else, while others are just looking to be unlocked for at least most of the content due to DRM. But what happens when it disappears? I’ve seen videos talking about games that can’t be played anymore because the servers are kaput. I can’t even use Steam anymore on my Vista computer, although I still have an older Steam I’m hoping I can use to download games already in my Steam library either because I had money coming in back then or it was offered free for whatever reason. Plus you need Steam to play the Portal games, part of the aforementioned DRM issue.
I ran into something similar when WOWIO, a website for downloading books and comics, went down. Everything I had there, including stuff I paid for (the prices were cheap but allegedly so was the guy behind it–think Pat Lee and Dreamwave–which is why it closed), was now gone. I have a few comics, some art books, and some books I wanted to read. All gone. As one other video I saw on the topic noted, this could happen to online-only video games and as another noted in some cases already have. (Those are both long videos. You may want to save them for later if you’re busy, especially the first one.)
However, online distribution does have a couple of advantages. As Austin noted it is a good way for smaller game creators to get their work out there. A couple of my former Reviewers Unknown colleagues did just that. It’s the same thing that led to the start of YouTube (although it’s fallen away from that) or various comic hosting sites for those mediums. The internet can find you new audiences. And if the server stays up long enough you won’t lose your games if something happens to your house. However, I think the benefits of actually owning the game, especially early games, and other media means you shouldn’t replace your old physical media libraries. Online is nice but it’s also nice to have something you don’t need to be online for and know nobody can erase from you (as mentioned in the videos linked to in the last paragraph). Both formats can work together in harmony for your entertainment.