Like it, love it, or hate it, digital gaming aids are here. In fact, they've been here for a very long time. For those of you who swear you haven't ever used one, check to see if Army Builder is on your computer, or if you've posted an army list or paint scheme to your favorite forum...
...or read gaming blogs.
The current state of media, as well as our hobby, darn near dictates that you either are using, or will be in the near future, some form of digital gaming content with this hobby of ours. This time 'round, we're going to look at what is currently available to us, the benefits and criticisms both, and try to dial in just how useful digital content really is.
Let me begin by saying that digital content, be it a codex, game play aid, or even just ebooks are a God-send for me, a necessity even. I have a fairly severe allergy to dust, and the reality is that you cannot dust paper products sufficiently enough to deal with my allergy. I've sold a personal book collection/library that numbered over 1250 novels, and have re-taught myself (and am still in the process of re-teaching myself) how to draw, illustrate and paint on my iPad.
All that being said, I already own an iPad so the digital publications that GW has put out are available to me. I realize that Android users aren't feeling the love right now, and honestly there is no word on when that platform might get any attention. However, the supposed "neglect" of the Android platform is not what I'm going to be addressing here as one reality of the situation is that the iOS platform is easier to develop for because of its enforced consistency and widespread use. The other reality is that the only GW digital products offered are those on the iOS platform, so that's all I can truly speak to anyway.
Digital White Dwarf
My first foray into digital products was the Digital White Dwarf, and I hadn't subscribed to WD in a couple years. The price for a 14 month subscription, though, through Apple's Newsstand put each issue at a price of barely over 4 dollars each. I couldn't pass it up! Now, White Dwarf has disappointed in the past, but I was willing to take a chance for the price and opportunity.
The improvements, or not, of WD aside, the benefits of a digital magazine are huge. The ability to enlarge images, have 360 degree views, hotlinks to the website and the simple ability to carry every issue with me for reference is great.
I currently own every digital 40K codex there has been released so far, Necrons, Space Marines, Dark Angels, Daemons, Chaos Space Marines and finally Tau. I can honestly say that for those who have said that they are just ebooks, why can't they release them for any e-reader, have no idea what GW has done with these digital Codexes. They are so much more than just ebooks, they are an app all to themselves. They too have the ability to see much larger, and high-res versions of images, 360 degree views, hotlinks to the website...but they have a few features that are intrinsic to their usefulness that the digital White Dwarf doesn't. Tapping on a rule, or piece of wargear pulls up a pop up that actually describes the rules and stats, without having to flip back and forth.
On each army entry there are a series of lettered bubbles, each referencing either imagery, rules, army listing, or summary for that particular unit. These two features combined with the ease of use and navigation of the codex in general make comprehension and learning the army in question extremely easy and enjoyable! Now the price on the digital Codexes are no different than the paper ones. Some folks have issue with this, however for the amount of programming that goes into them, and the functionality, I'm fine with the cost. Oh, and did I mention that they get automatically updated with FAQ, Errata and I've got both the Storm Talon AND Storm Raven in my Marines Codex...do you?
Psychic Powers App
This one...this one I don't own. I've read that you can program in what psyker you have, what powers you have, and actually have the app work with you turn by turn during your game. Sorry, this is a bit on the weak side, but I'd love to hear from anyone who has some hands-on experience with the app and let folks know in the comments what you think!
I'm sure you also noticed that I keep EVERY codex's FAQ in my iBooks as well...the ability to just keep it all on me for reference on one single device is just too good a feature to not take advantage of.
There that've it, and here you are folks. Have at it and let me know where you stand with the current state of the digital world invading our hobby!