Forums - Gaming Discussion - Last generation for physical copies? Capcom: Game sales are 80% digital, and rising

Something I forgot to mention yesterday is that for console gamers, the majority of them still prefer physical media. According to a report from Nielsen from two years ago, two-thirds of console players prefer physical over digital. That's the most recent figure I could find, and it may have dipped a bit since then, but it does suggest that Capcom's PS4 AAA releases have a much, much lower digital percentage than 80%, a rate that, as mentioned, almost certainly includes PC and digital-only releases.

I think most console gamers are at least cognizant of the fact that digital on consoles have serious drawbacks that far outweigh their benefits, and that, conversely, physical has numerous benefits that far outweigh the drawbacks. Actually owning our games still means a lot to a lot of people. And as long as there's still significant demand for physical, we will continue to see physical releases for console games. Also, no other sector of the entertainment industry has phased out physical media. No other sector has been impacted by digital more than music, with album sales (most of which are, incidentally, still physical) having declined over 90% from their late 90s/early 00s peak as most music buyers got most of their music through digital singles (and now, increasingly, streaming radio apps; free broadcast radio is still popular, too), yet the recording industry hasn't stopped printing CDs, and vinyl records have even made a comeback. If they haven't forced an all-digital market, I don't see Sony, Microsoft, and Nintendo doing so.

But if any of the Big Three ever do abandon physical media, they won't ever get a dime from me ever again. I'll still have over four decades worth of games to play to keep my busy for the rest of my life.

vivster said:

For the environment.

I don't agree with this argument because the math doesn't back it up.

First of all, the plastic waste argument falls apart quickly upon scrutiny. The amount of plastic waste that comes from physical games is vastly overstated. As of Dec. 31, 2019, there were 1.18 billion PS4 games sold globally. Now, obviously not all of those are physical copies, but let's assume that about 80% of them are, meaning about 945 million discs. A standard-size optical disc is about 13.57 cubic centimeters, so if you melted all those discs down and made a cube out of them, it would be only about 12.8 billion cubic centimeters, which sounds like a lot until you realize that that's a cube only about 23.4 meters per edge. That could fit into my small-ish back yard, and would only be a tiny section of the typical landfill. And the game cases (original dimensions, meaning not melted down, since they are storage boxes) occupy only about 23.67 times the volume, meaning a roughly cubic shaped stack of 945 million PS4 game cases would be about 67 meters per edge. So, even if every PS4 owner threw out all of their physical copies, case and all, the amount of garbage would be far, far from ruinous (in the U.S. alone, all the garbage tossed in one year amounts to a cube 805 meters tall, which is over 1700 times the volume of a 67-meter cube), and I'd submit that only a tiny percentage of those games actually will be discarded. Even if 10% of all physical PS4 games get tossed into the garbage over the next decade, it would barely register compared to how much trash we produce in general (only 0.005% of the U.S.'s annual garbage output, if I did my math right). Also, game discs and cases can be recycled, so it's not like they have to end up in a landfill if someone wants to throw them out. The amount of discs and game cases I've discarded over the past 20 years amounts to zero.

As for CO2 emissions from the manufacture and transport of discs, I would imagine that's a very tiny portion of our total CO2 emissions. The entire video game industry in the U.S. represents only around 0.2% of the total economy, and that's including PC and mobile. Video games clearly make up a very small portion of the total amount of freight shipped around the world, as well as the amount of goods manufactured (incidentally, over 700M music CDs have been sold in the U.S. since 2013, almost certainly as many or more than the number of physical game discs sold in the same span). And those emissions can be mostly if not entirely eliminated through phasing out fossil fuels for electricity generation and transportation.

Going digital will not make any meaningful positive impact on the environment. Buying a home solar power system or an electric car would do vastly more (though it would be a lot more expensive). Walking or biking places when possible, or eating at home instead of buying outside food, or simply cutting off the lights when you're not using them would probably be more effective as individual actions. But major structural overhauls of our energy economy is what's really needed, not token gestures like phasing out physical console games, which would be a net negative for console owners given the current state of IP law and the pros & cons of digital and physical media as they exists on consoles.



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I don't have a preference to digital vs disc on PlayStation, on the Switch I would rather have the games digitally at least the multiplayer games. While I don't have a preference which format I buy them, since I rarely buy games at launch I will pick it up months later wherever its cheapest. The concern of course is if all games are digital, you can only wait until the games go on sale on PSN, Xbox etc as opposed to waiting for them to go on sale at multiple stores as well as PSN Xbox, Switch online.



I certainly hope it’s not the last generation of physical, at least in Australia, our internet infrastructure is from the ‘50s and by the time the PS6 and the 4th Xbox comes out it will still be in the ‘50s because that’s how incompetent our politicians are, also thanks dearRupert Murdoch thé American!



Hardly the last generation

Physical albums still selling and their downward trend started 20 years ago

Physicals game sales will decrease but will end this gen just fine unless 9th gen somewhat last over 10 years

The late days of 10th gen is probably the moment when we will watch the biggest ""death"" of physical market, but big AAA games will still selling forever because of fandoms and collectors



vivster said:
xl-klaudkil said:

Why? Huge amount of game collectors out there ,why spoil there fun?

Less options is never a good thing.

For the environment.

It's also a bit ironic to pull the "more options" card when talking about consoles, the epitome of artificially reduced options.

It's a bit ironic to talk about the environment when game consoles, tvs, servers, broadband internet soak up power continuously. Leave it all always on, in standby mode, to get automatic patches. Plus all those extra external hdds to store those digital games!
https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-07-02/Global-e-waste-surges-to-record-high-recycling-rate-remains-low--RLRlccFAMo/index.html

Without the plastic game cases the environment would be saved!

Anyway, I've never thrown a game or movie in the trash. That's not what collectors do.



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FarleyMcFirefly said:
vivster said:

For the environment.

It's also a bit ironic to pull the "more options" card when talking about consoles, the epitome of artificially reduced options.

Which is why there are multiple console options.
It would suck to only have one console option, just like it would suck to only have one format option for games.

Sure as long as there is a demand it will exist in some amount,but i guess the future demand will get miniscule as time goes on.

Same as how people consume movies and series.



ZS said:
I certainly hope it’s not the last generation of physical, at least in Australia, our internet infrastructure is from the ‘50s and by the time the PS6 and the 4th Xbox comes out it will still be in the ‘50s because that’s how incompetent our politicians are, also thanks dearRupert Murdoch thé American!

VDSL is a modern technology that was established in 2001... And updated in 2006 with VDSL2. - Granted it's delivered over half a century old copper, but still, lots of additional infrastructure updates to the copper network was fundamentally required for VDSL to be viable in Australia.

We have super vectoring that can provide additional throughput on top of our current NBN network, whether NBN Co bothers is another matter entirely though..



--::{PC Gaming Master Race}::--

FarleyMcFirefly said:
vivster said:

For the environment.

It's also a bit ironic to pull the "more options" card when talking about consoles, the epitome of artificially reduced options.

Which is why there are multiple console options.
It would suck to only have one console option, just like it would suck to only have one format option for games.

Multiple consoles aren't options. Or tell me how do I play *insert any 3rd party game* on my Switch. They're all their own ecosystem with artificially limited choice within, both in hardware and software. "Just for collectors" is a petty weak argument to keep physical games. If consoles had actual options you could just pull your digital games from the console if you really need anything on your shelf. But of course they wouldn't do that because they hate options. Removing physical discs would be absolutely par for the course, but it would still be one of the best things they could ever do. Reducing waste and putting an end to terrible optical media that every other industry already ditched.



If you demand respect or gratitude for your volunteer work, you're doing volunteering wrong.

no box no buy from me



SvennoJ said:
vivster said:

For the environment.

It's also a bit ironic to pull the "more options" card when talking about consoles, the epitome of artificially reduced options.

It's a bit ironic to talk about the environment when game consoles, tvs, servers, broadband internet soak up power continuously. Leave it all always on, in standby mode, to get automatic patches. Plus all those extra external hdds to store those digital games!
https://news.cgtn.com/news/2020-07-02/Global-e-waste-surges-to-record-high-recycling-rate-remains-low--RLRlccFAMo/index.html

Without the plastic game cases the environment would be saved!

Anyway, I've never thrown a game or movie in the trash. That's not what collectors do.

This is something that pisses me off. Why can't TVs be properly switched off anymore? They used to actually have a power button on them, so you could either turn them off or put them on standby. Haven't seen a TV with a power button for awhile now though. It's either standby or unplugged. Why?



Bet Shiken that COD would outsell Battlefield in 2018. http://gamrconnect.vgchartz.com/post.php?id=8749702