Why You Don’t Own Your Own Video Games Any More

Ownership is dead.

Microsoft, Sony & Google

It's fair to say that the video game industry is going through an especially tectonic shift right now, with the very nature of gaming and how we as players engage with the medium changing significantly.

Over the last 15-or-so years, the mere concept of video game ownership has been crowbarred open into something far more complex, multi-faceted, and controversial.

Owning a game is no longer as simple as having the cartridge or disc in your possession, and while claims that physical media is dead are somewhat overblown in 2020 - where large portions of the world still don't have fast, bandwidth-rich Internet to support digital downloads - we're certainly making a slow-crawl there.

This speaks to the fact that ownership as a concept isn't merely changing - it's dwindling. What you think belongs to you in a tangible sense really doesn't, not even if you're clutching the game disc safely in your hands right now.

But before we get into the particulars, we need to first consider what that pesky word, "ownership," even really means...

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Stay at home dad who spends as much time teaching his kids the merits of Martin Scorsese as possible (against the missus' wishes). General video game, TV and film nut. Occasional sports fan. Full time loon.