It seems that the digital market’s impact on physical game sales has increased dramatically over the past year. According to information gathered in an article published on TheStreet, many sellers of physical games saw a major drop in sales going into this quarter. This drop is apparently steep enough that, according to TheStreet, at least one analyst is now saying that “it’s the beginning of the end for packaged video games”.
The basic message being reported by TheStreet’s article is that video gaming is moving towards a 100% digital future at a fairly steady pace. They quote analyst Michael Olson as saying, “We’re seeing more games being sold digitally, as 25% of the games are sold as full-game download. Full game downloads are increasing by 5% to 10% per year.” The article also includes that Olson believes the trend is being encouraged by simple convenience, and helped further along by improving internet speeds and better storage capacity in current consoles.
It would be nice to say that this digital-only future will be limited to PCs, but the line of thought presented here is pretty solid. We consumers tend to favor that which is the most convenient for us, just as game publishers tend to favor that which will bring them the most return for the games they produce. Make no mistake, an all digital future is exactly what game publishers want. Doing away with the need to produce and ship product to stores will increase their gains quite a bit, not to mention cutting out a very unwanted middleman. With all these forces at work, it does indeed seem very likely that physical game buyers will find themselves having change with the time sooner rather than later.
There may be some small hope in the form of special editions though. There are already plenty of gamers out there willing to part with some extra cash in return for physical rewards and goodies, so it’s not too hard to imagine that even more people would be willing to pay a bit extra if it means they’ll to continue to grow their physical game collections. It would be very surprising indeed if publishers became unwilling to take advantage of such a market. Still, the idea of someday having to pay more for the privilege of owning a physical copy isn’t really all that attractive. Hopefully it won’t come to that.
What do you think? Would you welcome an all digital future, or would you rather continue to physically buy your games at a store just like always? Would you pay more for a physical copy if that was the only way to get it?
Source: Why the Video Game Industry as We All Know It Could Be About to Go Extinct – The Street.com