Yes, collecting videogames is becoming a big pain in the ass. Sooner or later, within the next 10 or 15 years or so, it will perish.Unfortunately, that's what I see happening right now. If you just like to collect merchandise, figurines, statues and all those things that don't really include a physical copy of the game they come from, then the future is bright to you as a collector. You also need to have lots of money to spend on those because there are many "OMG SUPER UBBER RARE LIMITED RESSELLER EDITION WITH JUST 2 UNITS WORLDWIDE THAT ARE SOLD OUT IN 10 SECONDS". If you like to collect digital games and all the stuff that fits that denomination, the world is at your service now. But if you're like me and you just like to own physical copies of games, then I don't see a bright future ahead.
What is a collector anyway? If you search the internet, you'll find a ton of definitions and theories behind the meaning of that word. If you ask me what a collector is, my most direct response would be: a collector is a selfish, materialist person who likes to own lots of stuff related to a family of items. That's basically what a collector is and that's what I am. I can obviously come up with a more poetic or scientific definition to justify this kind of behavior but, in the end, those are just different and more complex ways of saying the same thing. Since the word "collector" involves all sorts of people with different purposes and objectives, from the guys that turn around garbage bins to the intellectual multimillionaire elite who collect paintings and wine, you can't go around spreading my definition of a collector because some people will get butt hurt. This doesn't make a collector a fool or an idiot, of course. It just makes him human. Anyway, there are collectors of all sorts. If something exists, no matter what it is, someone is out there collecting it.
Being materialist means digital, intangible contents that replace a physical item are a big Nope. I hate DLC, I hate F2P, I hate DMR, I hate all that crap. Because that's what it is: crap. DLC was supposed to be something good, something that extends the gameplay of a game a while after being released, pretty much like the good old expansion packs. But no. Thanks to the big companies, it sucks. You have to pay for stuff that's already available even before the game comes out, and most of it sucks. Most of these DLC are fully planned and prepared during the development stage. You basically buy an incomplete game when it comes out and you'll have to pay more for some of the missing bits. F2P is a great concept! People get the game for free and only pay to unlock things faster if they wish. This would be great if most games could be played normally instead of making you deal with all kinds of sh!t that ruin the gameplay experience, such as being unable to further play the game unless you waste your real life money on the items you need to progress or, alternatively, waste countless hours of your lifetime doing the most annoying things ever just to get them. Since I'm about to trash Nintendo again, here's an example: Pokémon Shuffle. Addicting game, fun to play... but then they make you wait at least half an hour just to have a single heart you need to play a single time, and you can't have more than 5 hearts at once unless you use a crystal. You can either win a crystal by doing some things such as beating a Mega Evolution or buy it for 0.99 cents. Seriously, who supports this?
Then there's also another extremely annoying thing... the updates. Updates that take ages to download and install all the time. Updates that make you wait up to half an hour (if not more) just to play the damn game! Sometimes half an hour is all I got to get a little taste of the game I've just bought but nooooo, instead of instantly playing the game I have to sit there, depressed, looking at loading bar getting stuck on the last 1% for a longer time than it took to fill the previous 99%. Well done.
And here I am writing all this gibberish just because I recently heard that Nintendo announced it will start producing games for mobile phones, tablets and similar devices. It's a fact that portable gaming on these devices is extremely popular in Japan. I don't have a crystal ball to guess the future, otherwise I wouldn't be missing some of the preorders that I'd really like to get before they become sold out, but this kind of attitude coming from a company that dominates the handheld consoles' market seems like an attempt to shoot its own foot. In fact, these news just came out very shortly after Nintendo released the New 3DS models, which don't really add anything relevant to the previous 3DS consoles available. But, oh, wait, "we're working on a new console", they said. I won't even comment on this one. I hope it does better than the WiiU.
Now, if you consider Nintendo is leaving their fans very upset with the extremely limited availability of its most recent releases such as the WiiU GC controller adapter, most of the Amiibo figurines, console editions, plates, preorder items and all of those things, these announcements just seem to add horribly wrong. Now we have a solid gold Mario available exclusively on Walmart in the US. This is how Nintendo gives the middle finger to the rest of the Amiibo collectors around the World, and fools like me will continue to support these companies.
The digital era is not just about negative things. It actually has more pros than cons. No more rare or exclusive games produced in limited numbers, no more wasted resources in producing millions of discs, cheaper games... Sometimes the disc alone is far more worth it than the game recorded inside... So many good things about the digital market! Unless they release digital games with physical Amiibo or Skylanders. Those are awesome to own but horrible to collect. On the other hand, the digital market totally ruins the fun of collecting physical games and it will certainly value retro games and physical copies a lot. Many awesome games will never make it to my collection because they are digital only and I still wasn't able to adapt to the idea of paying for something that you can't "own", unless it's ultra cheap (but I guess that's what happens most of the times, according to Steam). Considering how well I see steam cards and similar stuff selling in regular videogames' stores, I'm pretty sure this will not ruin the business for most of them, as much as they know how to adapt.
The amazing success of physical goods and collector's editions seems to be a contradiction in the recent tendencies of the digital markets. What kind of strategy comes from companies whose physical games, limited editions and toys sell out like hot cakes but decide to release digital games? The answer is quite simple: it's all about the money.
General gamers just want to play a game for the cheapest price they can get. If that means not owning a physical version, that's not a problem at all. Collectors are a minority in the general videogaming market and companies are not making videogames for charity purposes. Companies just want profit. One day they make collectors happy and the following day they make them sad. One day they make most gamers happy and the next day they make them sad. It doesn't matter to them. All their strategies have a single goal in mind: profit. Their decisions are only based on how much money they can get from something at a certain moment. The consumer's satisfaction is a consequence and an objective at the same time, because there's no profit without that (at least, not legally...). That's basically how the current world works. There's no routine.