I really love the idea and convenience of digital downloads. I love the convenience of paying for something online and downloading immediately (cable ftw). I also love the fact that I can play without the discs -- something that I've become accustomed to between mmorpgs and Stardock (Gal Civ series). Unfortunately there are some downsides that I came across this weekend. I had points to spend on HitPoints.com from my Fileplanet subscription so I spent them on Warlords IV. The version that was downloaded was 1.01. I saw on Gamespot that there was a 1.05 patch. Unfortunately the company, Trymedia, that is responsible for the secure distribution of the game doesn't have this patch available. So now I'm stuck at 1.01, unable to update the game. So that's one caveat to watch for - some digital purchases have restrictions in that you can only use patches released by the company you purchased the game from. It's the same for expansions in that if you purchased the original as a digital download you may have to buy the expansion the same way (digital purchase from the same company). So if you're local retailer has the expansion on sale, you may not be able to buy it and upgrade your digital purchase. Now keep in mind, this does vary between sites that offer digital purchases and between games. So before you buy, do some research -- read the site's faq, the game information, etc. For example, when I was looking into Warlords IV, I visited HitPoints (where I got it originally), Trymedia, and Ubisoft. All three ultimately point back to Trymedia as the digital distributor. So even if I had bought the game from the Ubisoft site, I wouldn't be able to update to the latest patch because Trymedia didn't have the patch available. Now in contrast, looking at Civ IV: BtS, I would be able to buy this from Direct2Drive and upgrade my retail copy. Civilization IV: Beyond the Sword requires the original game, and is compatible with both the boxed retail and digital versions. Then there's the activation keys and how they "secure" the game. This also seems to vary by store. HitPoint's FAQ basically states that I get two keys and then I lose access to the game. If I reformat my drive, I lose the first key and use the second key. Buy a new PC, that's a new key. So if I frequently updated PCs, there may come a point where I wouldn't be able to play the game because my activation keys would be used up. In contrast, the Ubisoft site was more friendly in that they state to contact their customer service dept if that would happen. One company who I think gets it right (outside of mmorpgs) is Stardock. There are no restrictions like that. If I use Stardock's "Stardock Central", once I'm logged in it shows me the games I've registered (regardless if it was purchased digitally or retail) and makes them available to me. So for example, my copy of Galactic Civilizations I which was 4 years ago and 3 computers (and many more OS installs due to hard drive upgrades, etc) is still available, no discs required, no more having to dig around for serial numbers. I can download and install at any time. So in closing, digital downloads are great but make sure to research the stores and how they're offering the game before making the investment. Make sure you understand what you're buying and what your rights as a customer are.