Ownership vs. Access: Which is More Important?

To-date, I spend much less money on ebooks than print, and over the past 10 years have spent far less on MP3s than I used to on albums, cassettes, and CDs.

While I love the idea of digital comics, comiXology has only managed to extract $20-$30 out of me over the past 18+ months, while my shelves of graphic novels have continued to grow, if more slowly than in the past. Angry Birds was fun, and I lost an entire week of sleep and productivity to three rounds of Game Dev Story, but generally speaking, I prefer hard goods, perhaps best evidenced by the ridiculous number of Skylanders figures we’ve bought over the past two months!

When it comes to ownership vs. access, I usually come down on the side of ownership. When I like what I like, I want full, unfettered, physical access to it at any time, and tend to view the debate through that prism.

And yet, recently, there has been a notable exception…

In less than a week, I’ve already spent more money on PoxNora—the “free-to-play” virtual card game I raved about earlier this week—than I have on ebooks all year long. If you include all of my Steam purchases (effectively the Kindle of computer gaming) over the past six months, it’s more than I’ve spent on ebooks ever! While an “access” model for computer games makes perfect sense to me, the appeal of virtual cards kind of took me by surprise, as all the way up until the moment I clicked “confirm” on my first purchase, I was adamant that I wasn’t going to spend any money on a “free” game.

When I reloaded my account three more times I realized I was hooked!

When it comes to the ownership vs. access debate, I’d argue it’s less the philosophical issue most make it out to be, and much more of a practical one.

PS: I wish Sony offered print versions of PoxNora cards because I’d totally buy some of them!

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