The crash of 83 was largely brought about by the overabundance of low quality games and hardware rapidly eroding consumer confidence. If the consumer increasingly chooses digital over physical, then you won't see the critical reason for the failure 35 years ago. In fact, the industry today seems almost immune to the primary causes of the 1983 crash since storefronts - especially Steam, but also the consoles - are littered with low quality crap. The gold can still shine through, however. Though, perhaps you could consider the Fallout 76 disaster to be a rough equivalent to the Atari 2600 Pac Man port fiasco. The consumer loses confidence when even trusted and popular names release horribly awful products.
And, much as I despise it, an all-digital era is coming. PC gaming is practically all digital already, and with Microsoft about to offer a disc-less option, I think there is a real chance they choose to go all digital for the XBox gen 4. It'll be only a matter of time until Sony (PS6?) and Nintendo (Switch successor) follow. The latter two perhaps only staying physical longer because of their strong positions in Japan.
There's just too much pure profit for the devs and the console makers in the digital landscape for them not to be pushing hard for it. Especially since first sale doctrine goes out the window.
Fallout 76 is a great example of how in a digital landscape this would never of happen. There is no reason to pre-order a game unless you felt inclined to support a developer regardless of how the final product turns out. If your not sure about the quality of the game or you've somehow been living under a rock and got caught off guard by Fallout 76 potential for having issues at launch. You can get same day review and impression from streamers, media outlets & every other online source dishing out ton of information before or on the same day of release. Fallout 76 disaster is entirely on ill informed consumers that choose to support Bethesda without doing there due diligence. Any whining about wanting a refund for having pre-ordered or bought the game at launch should just live with the consequences of their poor decisions.
Except for those that pre-order the massive collectors edition that was clear false advertising and Bethesda response of $5 in game currency is a slap to the face. I don't think this kind of situation will ever be allowed to happen again, consumers have learned their lesson and can send the message to big corporation like we did for micro transaction with Battlefront 2, NBA 2k18, Destiny 2 & Shadow of War.
Now all they have to do is fix the game and somehow still provide more content to keep their skrinking player base, happy.
Tommy Jean, CPA, CGA