As we enter the age of mainstream digital distribution for video games, via not just Steam but devices like the iPhone, DSi and PSP Go I believe we’ll be entering a new era of buyer’s remorse.
I was reminded last night that a regrettable purchase through a gaming download service can’t be traded in. If I buy a bad disc-based game, I can trade it in or even give it to a friend who might enjoy it more. But, last night, I downloaded a WiiWare game that I thought I was going to have to review. I hated the game, but I had no way to compensate for my bad purchase.
I was stuck.
You can’t return a digitally downloaded game you don’t like. You can’t re-gift it. You can’t trade it in or pawn it off. Those options, rightly or wrongly, are ones I’ve been accustomed to with disc-based games. For digital games? Buyer beware.
One caveat: if WiiWare offered demos of the games on the service, as Xbox Live Arcade does, I might not have run into this problem.