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

Ka-pi96 said:

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?

Can you imagine having to get up and walk to the tv to turn it on? The horror.

TVs have updates nowadays as well ugh. My 4K HDR tv has patched itself at least 5 times since I bought it, without asking. At least TVs use very little power in standby mode. In Rest Mode, your PS4 reportedly uses about 10W of power with the default settings. When it's powered off, it uses about 0.3W instead. Still 0.3W when turned off. Rest mode uses 87.6 Kilowatts a year just for the convenience to have your digital games patched automatically. (And it will of course use more when downloading and patching)



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When you have to install the game anyway (as with playstation and xbox) I see no point with physical versions of the game (note that I live in a country without download caps on internet and I have a 250/250 connection).

But when you can play directly off the cartrige/disc I prefer physical games.



Interesting topic.
But I doubt this gen will be the last one for physical media,
although that opinion might be a bit biased because I'm 100% physical,
dont plan to change that anytime soon and if a game doesnt get a physical (in the strict sense) release, then I wont buy it.

Last edited by GamingRabbit - on 13 July 2020

Current Gaming Systems

    Handheld   Home Console
Nintendo   Switch   Discontinued
Sony   Discontinued   PlayStation 4
Microsoft   None   XBox One

Bought TLOU2 digital because the delivery options weren't going to get it to me at launch, and I can't justify leaving the house for a video game in the middle of a pandemic. Now it looks like I'm about to do the same with Ghost of Tsushima and... i'm not too bothered by this growing trends as I thought I'd be. I've been reselling games less over the years, and I pretty much never lend them to friends any more so I can see myself doing this more in the future.



4 ≈ One

Shadow1980 said:

How much of that 80% includes PC and digital-only releases?

EDIT: To elaborate upon that, we never seem to get real details about these sorts of things. PC game sales are over 90% digital. Lots of re-releases of older games (including many Capcom games re-released over the past couple of years) are digital-only, with no physical option. What's the split for the PS4 versions of Monster Hunter World, Resident Evil 2 Remake, DMC5, and other $60 AAA console releases with physical copies as options for purchase? Details matter. Saying "80% of our game sales are digital" doesn't tell the whole story

Yeah, I would be much more interested to see what the split is for titles that are released physically on the same day as the digital release. I think these numbers aren't publicized because it is in the best interest of publishers if gamers don't actually own their media. 



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Spindel said:
When you have to install the game anyway (as with playstation and xbox) I see no point with physical versions of the game (note that I live in a country without download caps on internet and I have a 250/250 connection).

But when you can play directly off the cartrige/disc I prefer physical games.

I agree. Two of the best things about physical games (cool manuals and most or the entirety of the game on the physical media) are all but extinct now. That just leaves the used games market and sharing with your friends as the two big positives left. With Switch, I get most of my games physically. After all, most of the game is on the cartridge. Plus Switch storage is nowhere near as cheap per GB as other consoles because it only accepts microSD cards.

With PS4, the vast majority of my games are digital. That means both games I buy outright, and the Instant Library games. My 1 TB internal HDD and 2 TB external HDD suffice for files. I've still got a lot of space left. If it gets close to getting full, I'll delete games that I don't really play.

Something that I have failed to mention before that others have is internet connection speeds. Those probably won't be enough to have physical media still thrive, but they are a concern. Plenty of people and countries have internet too slow to make game downloads convenient and quick. 



Lifetime Sales Predictions 

PS4: 130 mil (was 100 million) Xbox One: 55 mil (was 50 mil) Switch: 110 million (was 73, then 96 million)

3DS: 75.5 mil (was 73, then 77 million)

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Long time front page news lurker. Tried to register once and fell through the cracks, then forgot. Saw this topic and wanted to chime in.

I've seen so many of these topics and although I haven't read everything, many of the same points are made. I often start by saying companies only have so much say in the direction the market goes. Without our money they have nothing, so as long as we keep buying physical then it's not going anywhere. If they try to force the issue like the XBO launch, well, we see how that went.

There's a lot of reasons I prefer physical. They're cheaper, hold value, look better on a shelf than a stack of HDD's, and there's also a part that just doesn't trust companies to do the right thing. With discs I hold the power to play when I want, where I want. Digital assumes that you're always online so if a server goes down or an ISP decides to get greedy then you kinda have one point of failure to losing access to your library. Don't get me wrong digital has its place. Last gen it was better than getting no game at all in the case of indies which wouldn't be worth publishing. But now in this gen I have at least 5 sites similar to Limited Run Games giving me SO many smaller games in retail packaging. My PS3 collection hit maybe 250 and PS4 is nearing 300 if it hasn't grown beyond that already. That doesn't include the relatively small amount of digital games I've either bought or gotten for free. And those are only 2 of my many platforms. I've been playing since I could hold a controller and hardly sold any of it.

One of the things that bugs me is when companies try to inflate the numbers of physical v. digital. It's not exactly fair to lump DLC or subscription sales, things that cannot be physical, into the totals because it's not a even comparison. A sale is a sale so the companies aren't wrong to share the data, but if you buy the disc and follow that up with an expansion pack or two, suddenly it's one physical purchase and 2 digital which skews the results.

Additionally I don't think the market or the infrastructure are ready. Digital will remain an option but not become a replacement. If we were forced to give up discs/carts/flash cards I'd probably get off the train at that time. The price of digital would have to come down a lot considering they're cutting out disc/case/manual/middleman. Plus you could lose access to them at any time through no fault of your own. Like someone else said I have a substantial number of classics to fall back on and replaying them would satisfy me for years.



Digital games are a Prisoner's Dilemma situation.  Publishers and the big 3 make more money from digital sales.  That motivates them all to push for more digital sales and even create this narrative that "digital is inevitable".  On the other hand, who are they taking these sales away from?  The publishers get more money, but who is losing?  The retailers.

If digital sales get pushed too much though then the publishers, the console makers and the retailers will all be worse off.  If retailers can't make enough money on software, then they will demand to make money on the hardware.  That will drive up hardware costs.  The biggest thing that makes consoles attractive is that the hardware is cheap (i.e. no one makes a profit off of it).  But if retailers can't make money on software then they will demand to make money on hardware.  Console prices will then skyrocket and everyone is worse off.

It's a Prisoner's Dilemma.



DPsx7 said:

One of the things that bugs me is when companies try to inflate the numbers of physical v. digital. It's not exactly fair to lump DLC or subscription sales, things that cannot be physical, into the totals because it's not a even comparison. A sale is a sale so the companies aren't wrong to share the data, but if you buy the disc and follow that up with an expansion pack or two, suddenly it's one physical purchase and 2 digital which skews the results.

Agreed! It is pretty annoying when they say x% of game sales are digital, ignoring the fact that a lot of those sales couldn't possibly have been physical. Would be nice to know the % of sales for the actual game only on a specific platform (so that PC digital sales aren't included). I think it's pretty much a dead cert that few if any games would be anywhere near 80% digital then.



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DPsx7 said:

There's a lot of reasons I prefer physical. They're cheaper, hold value, look better on a shelf than a stack of HDD's, and there's also a part that just doesn't trust companies to do the right thing. With discs I hold the power to play when I want, where I want. Digital assumes that you're always online so if a server goes down or an ISP decides to get greedy then you kinda have one point of failure to losing access to your library. Don't get me wrong digital has its place. Last gen it was better than getting no game at all in the case of indies which wouldn't be worth publishing. But now in this gen I have at least 5 sites similar to Limited Run Games giving me SO many smaller games in retail packaging. My PS3 collection hit maybe 250 and PS4 is nearing 300 if it hasn't grown beyond that already. That doesn't include the relatively small amount of digital games I've either bought or gotten for free. And those are only 2 of my many platforms. I've been playing since I could hold a controller and hardly sold any of it.

The biggest problem with this reasoning are that there are some games that are so broken upon release that you basically can’t play them without the 50 GB day one patch. So you might be screwed even if you have thhe physical game.