Before the internet, kids would be up in a frenzy over the latest video game. On new game launches, people would spend time falling in line at a store to get the chance at being the first ones to play the latest title. They would excitedly drive back home, so they could remove the plastic wrap from the box and plug the game cartridge into the console. Manuals were still common back then, but they have all but disappeared in today’s gaming landscape.
Nowadays, you still have the option to get that shiny new game in a box, but you also have the option to purchase it digitally. Just like retrieving your Office 365 from OneDrive backup, a digital version of a game is something that you just download straight to your storage device. But it begs the question: What does the future look like for physical media?
The Rise of Digital
The main markets for video games are North America, Europe, and Japan. Over the past several years, the industry has gone global. You now have consoles being officially released in more countries than ever. As such, game publishers have to work hard to get a worldwide release run smoothly. There are logistical challenges attached to that of course since they are catering to more places now. But generally, they have been good at handling these events. The worst thing that could happen is you could be asked to wait a few days after launch for your copy.
If you do not want to miss out on the hype of the day 1 release, you can opt to purchase the game digitally. Internet speeds are fast these days, so you don’t have to spend much time waiting to complete the download. But if you think your service is slow, publishers also allow you to download the game in advance and have it activated on the launch date itself. A lot of people have a mentality where they are eager to share that they are getting on with the times. These are some factors why there is an increase in sales of digital copies compared to previous years.
Physical Media Fans Holding the Fort
There are still many fans out there who prefer a product they can hold in their hands. The biggest titles still enjoy huge sales numbers for physical copies. One thing that entices people to get the physical version is the existence of the collector’s editions. These are packages that offer bonus stuff like figurines and art books in addition to the copy of the game itself. Having these limited items is a great incentive, but they could get pricey.
The Future of Physical Media
The onslaught of digital games cannot be held back. It is the way of the future because it gives gamers a great deal of convenience and timeliness. But that does not mean that physical media will disappear. At worst, it will become a niche and it may even develop more into offering the stuff you normally find on special or collector’s editions and having them in the standard ones as well. Publishers will work hard to make sure people notice their products on the shelves, so expect more creativity in the game boxes too.
While the signs point out to digital as the way of the future, it can co-exist with physical media. There will be no shortage people out there who will prefer the latter, and the game makers know better than to shun them. So if you are the collector type, do not worry. You still should be able to enjoy getting your game in your hands even far into the future.