Any game that you purchase from Steam is digital; they exist entirely on your PC or on servers. But because they’re digital, doesn’t mean that they have to remain JUST digital. Steam Game Covers is a site dedicated to the creation and hosting of templates people can use to make their own physical cases for Steam games. Much like we’ve been doing for those games we purchase second-hand that don’t come with covers, after you back up your game on a disc, print out a cover, put it in a CD jewel case or DVD case or what have you, and viola: now you have a physical Steam collection on your shelf or desk or box or attic.
Site head Mark Del Rio talks to Kotaku’s Nathan Grayson about how the site came to be:
“I come from an age of physical backups. When Steam first came out I never thought it would succeed. But those Summer Sales sure did prove me wrong, and because of that my Steam library has grown to over 500 and counting. Sure, you can also make backups to portable hard drives, but having a custom printed disc with full case art is just fantastic. For a lot of people like me, there’s a joy in having a game sitting on a nearby shelf as a reminder that says, ‘Yeah, I own that game!’ Hey, if console gamers can proudly display their game collections on a shelf then why can’t we PC gamers do the same?”
I agree; there’s something special about have a tangible, physical mementos of your favorite games—reminders of days and years gone by that we can touch or put on display. Even in the world of digital distribution (which I’m on the fence about since in most cases you only own a LICENSE to the item rather than actually OWNING it), Del Rio thinks that it’s fine to have the best of both worlds with one replacing the other:
“I think services like iTunes, and Steam have changed our perceptions of what music/movie/game collections can be. What people don’t realize is that one day these services will go out. What will we have left then? On the flip side to that argument, physical media can get damaged or lost and will one day deteriorate. As far as which is better physical or digital, I say, ‘to each his own.’ I love my physical collection. I also love those Steam sales. This way I get to own the best of both worlds. My PC collection looks complete and I don’t have to wait hours on end for a game to download if I want to play it again in the future.”