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Business Analysis Sales-Age EA, Sony and Take-Two now sell more console games digitally than boxed

IbizaPocholo

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EA said on Thursday that 52% of its Xbox One and PS4 software unit sales over the past 12 months were digital, up from 49% reported in May.

Sony also said in May that 51% of its game sales during the 12 months to March 2020 were digital, up from 37% in the year before.

And during the 12 months to March 2020, 55% of Take-Two’s console software sales were also digital, according to Niko Partners senior analyst Daniel Ahmad.

“It’s worth noting that we entered the current console generation (2013) with digital downloads accounting for around 5-10% of unit sales,” he said on Thursday. “Now we’re entering next gen with 50%+ as standard.”

In some European regions, digital has been the predominate means of sale for a year, according to GamesIndustry.biz.
 

MastaKiiLA

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Jun 11, 2020
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It's only a matter of time. How many people buy CDs, books, or BR movies nowadays? The number of people buying physical media will continue to shrink, until they're insignificant. PC gaming paved the way for this. Those who buy physical in order to resell aren't going to be the target audience going forward. You only hurt the game makers' bottom lines.
 

ZywyPL

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Nov 27, 2018
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PC gaming paved the way for this.

Actually it was Macbook Air that paved the way, for which it was hated so much for it back in the day, but as time moved on and on it proved that physical discs are indeed not needed at all, and soon the expensive as hell Bluray PC drives came in, and that's when PC went full abroad on digital distribution, not just for games, but apps, ,drivers, OS, everything. But yeah, the convenience digital distribution gives is unparalleled, so no wonder it's taking over.
 

Soodanim

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Feb 24, 2012
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Maybe games will follow the same pattern as music.

First comes the rise of digital, then the subscriptions (already here). Then a new/old physical niche takes hold. Maybe in that timeline we get manuals back. So many kids are deprived of them.
 
Jul 6, 2015
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Physical is the main thing making me buy consoles. If I had to go digital I sure as hell wouldn't do it on console lol, I'd imagine a lot of other people would switch to PC too if physical went away. Its cheaper, there's more options to buy from, and you can make your games run better.
 
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Kerotan

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So revenue is still likely on the physical side but I'm delighted so many publishers are passing this milestone. Hopefully digital can hit 75% this coming gen.
 

Roman Empire

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It's only a matter of time. How many people buy CDs, books, or BR movies nowadays? The number of people buying physical media will continue to shrink, until they're insignificant. PC gaming paved the way for this. Those who buy physical in order to resell aren't going to be the target audience going forward. You only hurt the game makers' bottom lines.
I love books. The only thing I can't go full on digital. But still, that's just my personal taste because I've grown up with books and that would be hard to change.
 

The_Mike

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Nice to see console people catch up.

I also think the closing of gamestop in most of Europe has something to say.
 

Birdo

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Jun 12, 2019
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The last Game store in my town shut down last week, after twelve years of serice *Removes hat*.

We now have ZERO stores that sell physical games. Ten years ago there were four.

Retail is dead. The digital future is now, old men.
 

Boss Mog

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Dec 12, 2013
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How many of those digital sales are years old games on sale on psn and xbl for under 10 bucks though. If you take new releases physical vs digital, i seriously doubt that digital is anywhere near 50%.
 
Jan 16, 2020
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Physical is the main thing making me buy consoles. If I had to go digital I sure as hell wouldn't do it on console lol, I'd imagine a lot of other people would switch to PC too if physical went away. Its cheaper, there's more options to buy from, and you can make your games run better.

Huh?
 
Dec 10, 2018
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They got no games, worth buying and unless all the hypermarkets, stores allow microtransactions to be sold in their shops (physically lol); ... yeah seriously what EA games? are we talking here.

myfaceistired.jpeg2000
 

@gkTH

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I switched to digital only since 2nd year of PS4 caused by no where to buy physical BD game at the time in my country.
Surely, PS5 digital edition is my preference. :messenger_smiling_hearts:
 

sublimit

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How convenient to make assessments during a pandemic in order to make it seem as if digital is winning over physical.

Edit:These results are from before March? Hmm i remember reading different results from back then,but maybe they were from other companies. I wonder if they intentionally spin the way they assess their sales info in order to make digital sales look more favorable.
 
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Rhazer Fusion

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I’m assuming(hoping) the pandemic is contributing to this a little bit though. If or more likely when everything goes full digital, it will be the beginning of the end and most gamers don’t know it or just don’t care. I’ll enjoy physical for as long as I can because of the obvious advantages and much better pricing.
 
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Alx

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I love books. The only thing I can't go full on digital. But still, that's just my personal taste because I've grown up with books and that would be hard to change.

Yeah I'm not sure books are being completely replaced by ebooks. It's probable fewer people are buying books at all (since they can now watch movies and TV shows on the go, or browse social networks, instead of reading a book). But most of those who still like to read will still buy paper books.
I do own an e-reader, but keep reading regular books when it's for entertainment.
 

yurqqa

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After physical became just a key to download digital game and there are even no nice manuals coming with games, I lost all the interest in it.

So now it's just a way for people to buy the game cheaper (resealing it afterwards) and it's for platform holder to decide to give this option still or not. Basically selling physical for them is like selling with a discount (because 2-3 people will play the same disc), but right from the game launch.

Retailers are also closing, so they are getting less important for platform holders too.

I don't care for cheap piece of plastic in a box anymore. I'd say - let it die. Just buy full price digital or on a sale, but later. Sounds fair.
 

Zekra Dezivad

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You guys are a bit egoistic when comes to actually discussing pro and cons. You forget that there are people who have honest difficulty to download games. ISP caps are a thing, download speeds are still a severe issue in a lot of countries, and there are people that need those discounts and lower prices that you can also find on the physical market.
Don't be assholes in pretending "physical needs to go". Why "need"? Choice is the best thing a makert can give to its consumers, we should defend our privilege to have a choice.
Actually I'm a 50% digital and 50% physical for collecting reasons, but I also buy a lot physical when I see I can save some hard earned bucks. I don't like the idea of have no choice at all.
 

MrKnocks

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May 11, 2020
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You guys are a bit egoistic when comes to actually discussing pro and cons. You forget that there are people who have honest difficulty to download games. ISP caps are a thing, download speeds are still a severe issue in a lot of countries, and there are people that need those discounts and lower prices that you can also find on the physical market.
Don't be assholes in pretending "physical needs to go". Why "need"? Choice is the best thing a makert can give to its consumers, we should defend our privilege to have a choice.
Actually I'm a 50% digital and 50% physical for collecting reasons, but I also buy a lot physical when I see I can save some hard earned bucks. I don't like the idea of have no choice at all.

This guys gets it
 

Roman Empire

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Yeah I'm not sure books are being completely replaced by ebooks. It's probable fewer people are buying books at all (since they can now watch movies and TV shows on the go, or browse social networks, instead of reading a book). But most of those who still like to read will still buy paper books.
I do own an e-reader, but keep reading regular books when it's for entertainment.
Yes, entertainment, in general, got way more diffused and books go to the bottom/low-end of the spectrum since they demand more engagement from the reader than another medium may ask. I can understand why books are falling behind more and more when they look so unappealing if you don't actively engage with it. It's much easier and less demanding opening Netflix and choosing a series/movie to watch than going to a bookstore and looking for books to read. Hell, even e-books and audiobooks seem to be a way to promote reading as a habit.
 
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Freeman

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I'm going with the disc one, as long as we are a significant portion there is no need to not have it as an option.

That said, I wouldn't be surprised if by PS6 it's all digital unfortunately.
 
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GustavoLT

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Only digital full price game that I bought this generation was TLoU2... and I regret it! shame on me!
 

sn0man

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Maybe games will follow the same pattern as music.

First comes the rise of digital, then the subscriptions (already here). Then a new/old physical niche takes hold. Maybe in that timeline we get manuals back. So many kids are deprived of them.

I think the physical niche has already started up for video games. In fact, I think video games being so late to the digital party, we may have a long slow taper that we just don't see for those other media. I bet the curve for music is bimodal where we just have a taper.

Physical is the main thing making me buy consoles. If I had to go digital I sure as hell wouldn't do it on console lol, I'd imagine a lot of other people would switch to PC too if physical went away. Its cheaper, there's more options to buy from, and you can make your games run better.

You said it. Physical games, and couch local are the two differentiators for a console for me. PC could just end up supporting more split-screen options and console would find it difficult to justify themselves.

I don't even think a switch to PC is what would take place. Just an investment in existing PCs. I know I'm going to wait and see what the actual PS5 seems like when it comes out and either get one of those or buy a new video card for my PC (depends on whether the console stays offline capable, or goes MS style).
 

laser_printer

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I'm sure COVID 100% played a part in this. I bought 3 retail AAA games this year and if it weren't for the fact that physical games are harder to order right now I would get it.
 
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I get why EA says they don't necessarily want to bring the prices up to $70. They are already getting a bigger margin per game due to digital sales.
 

truth411

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My problem with digital is seeing PSN games like $39.99 but in store it’s like $19.99. Once things go completely digital, it’s like we gotta wait for a big sale. I’m not a big fan of digital only, I prefer both actually.
Same here, also for Backward Compatibility.
 
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Jul 2, 2020
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Even though digital is not really for me I'm not surprised. It's more convenient to buy digital media. The current situation of the world probably drove sales up as well.
 

Vawn

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it was going that direction anyway, but I imagine COVID has sped this process up.
 

Soodanim

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I think the physical niche has already started up for video games. In fact, I think video games being so late to the digital party, we may have a long slow taper that we just don't see for those other media. I bet the curve for music is bimodal where we just have a taper.
I think you may be right, especially because of the immense size of games compared to other media and worldwide internet speeds not being ideal.
 

Nymphae

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Those who buy physical in order to resell aren't going to be the target audience going forward. You only hurt the game makers' bottom lines.

Those poor corporations. I hope everyone enjoys never being able to buy dirt cheap content again, because they're too lazy to peel themselves off the couch to put in a disc and they don't have room in their bughives for shelves for a moderate amount of physical content.
 

Nymphae

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After physical became just a key to download digital game and there are even no nice manuals coming with games, I lost all the interest in it.

Still nice to be able to go into EB or a flea market and buy games for next to nothing.
 

NickFire

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I'm impressed that disc is still that high. I figured an 80/20 split must be close by now.
 

scalman

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who thinks that physical discs will survive for long anyway. and who need those boxes anyway, where to keep them, collect dust on them and such. next step just to stream everything without needing to download. why waste time for downloading.
 
Apr 8, 2020
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Physical is the main thing making me buy consoles. If I had to go digital I sure as hell wouldn't do it on console lol, I'd imagine a lot of other people would switch to PC too if physical went away. Its cheaper, there's more options to buy from, and you can make your games run better.
I would never switch to a pc.
 
Jul 6, 2015
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this bad, NO RESELL VALUE......people, use your head.
Don't expect people that buy digital on console to use their heads lol. They probably spend double on their games than people that go physical or people that are digital on PC.

I remember a couple years ago I picked some random games and looked at how much it would cost if I bought them physical vs digital on PC vs digital on console. Digital on console costs WAY more than any other method of buying games.
 

DaleinCalgary

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It has to be a special game that I would buy digital for me to go this way as I prefer hard copies. But as a bonus Sony for some reason never charges me tax.
 

EruditeHobo

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I haven't bought a physical copy of a new game since Alien Isolation... not regretting it so far.

I wish they would list revenue instead of unit sales. Unit sales can be swayed by crazy sales they put older games on.

The exact opposite of this issue is in the movie industry, which reports in money and so many people want the info in number of tickets sold... my whole point is, why not both? More data is always preferable, I'd think.

"Product X achieves Y unit sales which equals Z revenue", I don't know why this isn't the standard for all entertainment industry reporting; there is probably a a good reason of which I am simply unaware.
 

Holammer

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How convenient to make assessments during a pandemic in order to make it seem as if digital is winning over physical.

Edit:These results are from before March? Hmm i remember reading different results from back then,but maybe they were from other companies. I wonder if they intentionally spin the way they assess their sales info in order to make digital sales look more favorable.

Digital sales increased yearly and was close to 50% last year. This was a process that happened naturally even before Covid became a factor and it already happened in the PC space with digital is the norm since forever now.

It's a bitter pill to swallow for the [insert wojak face] collectors that want a plastic box with a shiny disc to put in the shelf, but the average consumer prefers the convenience of owning it digitally.
 

sublimit

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Digital sales increased yearly and was close to 50% last year. This was a process that happened naturally even before Covid became a factor and it already happened in the PC space with digital is the norm since forever now.

It's a bitter pill to swallow for the [insert wojak face] collectors that want a plastic box with a shiny disc to put in the shelf, but the average consumer prefers the convenience of owning it digitally.
I can give you plenty of reasons why your "convenience" will end up biting your ass but to each his own.
 
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