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Analysis European gamers wary of digital-only games consoles.

IbizaPocholo

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60% of European gamers surveyed in a recent study say they're unlikely to buy a games console that does not play physical discs.

The data comes from the latest research conducted by ISFE and Ipsos MORI's GameTrack survey, on behalf of GamesIndustry.biz. The data covers UK, France, Germany, Spain and Italy.

Gamers have been increasingly downloading major releases over buying them in boxes. In June, digital games data tracker GSD revealed to us that (during Q1 this year) some markets are now more than 50% digital for AAA releases such as Assassin's Creed, Battlefield, Star Wars, Call of Duty, Tom Clancy and Red Dead Redemption.

The UK was 56% digital for these titles, France was 47% digital, Germany (including Switzerland and Austria) was 50% digital, Spain (plus Portugal) was 35% and Italy was 33%.

Interestingly, the data loosely matches up with the interest in a digital-only games console. According to Ipsos MORI's survey results, 17% of UK gamers would be likely to buy a digital-only machine, French players are 12% likely, German fans are 11% likely, while Spain and Italy are both 6% likely to buy a device like Microsoft's Xbox One S All-Digital.

Overall, 60% of gamers are unlikely to buy a dedicated gaming device without a disc drive, with just 11% likely to do so.

The survey encompasses all gamers, including those who play on smartphones. Ipsos MORI also isolated the respondents who are existing console owners, and the interest in digital-only devices actually went up. 22% of UK console gamers are likely to purchase a digital-only machine, German console players are 19% likely, French console owners are 16% likely, whereas Spanish and Italian players are 10% and 15% likely respectively.

Across the European markets included in the research, 46% of console gamers are unlikely to buy a dedicated gaming device without a disc drive, with 18% likely to do so.

The results suggest that the decision to include a disc drive for Xbox's Project Scarlett and Sony's PlayStation 5 was a wise decision, particularly for certain markets where physical retail remains a strong distribution channel.

Delving a bit deeper, European gamers were also asked why they were or were not interested in a digital-only device.

27% of surveyed European gamers said that they would consider a digital-only device because they like to keep up with new technology. 26% of respondents believed the absence of a disc-drive would allow for a smaller machine, whereas 19% felt that a disc-less console would be cheaper. In addition, 19% said a digital-only product would be helpful as physical games take up too much space in the home. Plastic pollution was also a big reason for going digital-only, with 21% of respondents citing that as a reason to leave physical behind. Other reasons cited included having a digital collection (18%), already subscribing to an on-demand service (10%), primarily playing online multiplayer games (19%), and the fact discs and drives sometimes break or get jammed (17%).

As for those gamers who are against purchasing a digital-only machine, the main attraction to physical is due to low internet speeds (11%) and owning a physical collection (10%). 10% of players in the survey said they like to buy cheaper used games, and 6% said they like the option to sell or trade their games once they're completed. Other reasons for sticking with physical includes wanting to play their existing physical games in the future (9%), the ability to lend games to other people (4%), the desire to watch DVD and Blu-rays on the device (7%), download limits (4%), and the fear of what might happen to the collection if the console breaks (8%).

When it comes to specifically looking at existing console gamers, the main attraction to a digital-only machine is because they have a digital collection already (27%), already subscribe to an online service (19%), mostly play online games (19%), the prospect of a cheaper console (18%), a smaller console (17%) and the reduction of plastic pollution (17%).

Whereas the main reasons against a digital-only device is owning a physical collection (19%), wanting to play their current physical games in the future (17%), the ability to buy cheaper used games (15%), plus the capability to sell/trade-in games (15%) or lend them to friends and family (14%).
 

ROMhack

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I used to care but not anymore. Don't need the baggage, it just weighs me down, like a plastic anchor. Plus, most games are reliant on being updated so it's become moot.

They also no longer have manuals or extras like physical movies. What you often get is basically the digital download in the box and that really puts me off.

I only understand when buying retro games, which tend to have better box art anyway.
 
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Harry Tung

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Sometimes I think about going all digital, for the convenience and environment and all that. But then I think about the reduced ownership, clusterfucks and license hell like the Ducktales Remastered- situation and the fact that you cant sell or loan any games to friends and foes.
 

Lucumo

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Not surprising, after all, PC gaming has become way less popular ever since the forced shift to digital here.
 
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ROMhack

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Imagine buying all your games digitally and the service goes down so you can never play your games again LMAOOOOOOOOOOO :messenger_tears_of_joy::messenger_tears_of_joy::messenger_tears_of_joy:

Thing is though, many retail games do rely on downloads to work properly, so these issues aren't totally mutually exclusive.

I tried to play DOOM 2016 recently on my offline-only PS4. The screen tearing is ass wrenching.

Not surprising, after all, PC gaming has become way less popular ever since the forced shift to digital here.

Is that true? Steam used to be huge is huge. I think what drove PC gaming down if anything was the race to the bottom in pricing, and then subsequent shift up again. (Edit: I mean recently).
 
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brap

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Thing is though, many retail games do rely on downloads to work properly, so these issues aren't totally mutually exclusive.

I tried to play DOOM 2016 recently on my offline-only PS4. The screen tearing is ass wrenching.

Yes, but if you buy physically you will at least have some games that work without the service. Ass wrenched DOOM is better than no DOOM at all.

 

Hudo

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Can confirm. Fuck all that online digital-only bullshit. Also, fuck any unnecessary gatekeeping by online stores via some sort of account system and client software (Steam, Epic Game Store, etc.). And also, fuck EA and Capcom for selling physical editions of their games with download codes in them.
 

rofif

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Even owning ps4 and physical games on it is not a guarantee of anything. in 20 years, Days Gone will only be playable without any patches since the psn is down and the game does not update
 

lyra-ixi

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i'm european and want digital only consoles.

physical media is archaic and needs to die. the sooner it goes the better.

Not surprising, after all, PC gaming has become way less popular ever since the forced shift to digital here.
wow. pull your head out the ground.

pc gaming is much more popular now than ever.
 
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reconminicon

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I don't want digital only but.... MANY disk games are digital only anyway with necessary day one patches. It's ridiculous and shouldn't be aloud really. If I buy a washing machine I don't expect them to come fit half the parts when it is delivered.
 
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Unless these digital games are owned without a license attached, Europeans will rather have a physical game for re-sale/trade value..

I think the Digital games people buy are the yearly stuff like FIFA or COD as they know those games are mostly throwaway titles after a year and don't care about the licenses for those, but for more traditional games, they will buy it in a box as it holds value.
 

Hudo

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A day in Swedish traffic will change your mind.
I would also add: A day just being out and about in Germany will change your mind as well (and will make you a misanthrope in the process).
 

Kagey K

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As soon as they add additional content download required to the disc you disc becomes virtually useless going forward.

The Crash Trilogy, Spyro, Cod MW they don’t give a fuck if you own the disc. You can’t play them without the required download.
 
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Portugeezer

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i'm european and want digital only consoles.

physical media is archaic and needs to die. the sooner it goes the better.


wow. pull your head out the ground.

pc gaming is much more popular now than ever.
What is archaic? Buying a game cheaper? Being able to lend a game to a friend? Selling an old game you no longer play?

Honestly, some people make it sound like they are tripping over stacks of games in every corner of their house and must destroy physical media.

Now, if you're the type of person who buys hundreds of AAA games a generation, then yeah, maybe money isn't an issue and lending/borrowing and selling games is not a big deal to you; digital is convinient.
 

Quezacolt

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I'm also from europe and im not interested in a digital only console and every game i own i dont need any mandatory day 1 patch to work. I don't like to spend money on something that can easily be taken away from me if a copany dies or servers go down, or licenses expire or whatever BS that publishers might do, nor do i want to download GB upon GB every time i want to replay a game.

I care about my collection and still have every game i ever bought with me, they all still work and i usually replay them a lot.

If the game comes incomplete, like those cases where the ending is sold as dlc or whatever, i don't buy the game or wait for a version down the line that has everything on the disk. If a game feels complete and the dlc is just extras that doesnt really add much, i dont care about losing that, because most of the time i wouldnt buy the dlc anyway.
 

Kagey K

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What is archaic? Buying a game cheaper? Being able to lend a game to a friend? Selling an old game you no longer play?

Honestly, some people make it sound like they are tripping over stacks of games in every corner of their house and must destroy physical media.

Now, if you're the type of person who buys hundreds of AAA games a generation, then yeah, maybe money isn't an issue and lending/borrowing and selling games is not a big deal to you; digital is convinient.
With Game Pass even the poor get to see how convenient digital is. They get to play a ton of games and spend next to no money.

At a certain point Game Pass becomes a better deal then buying and selling old games. I’m pretty sure we a are already passed that.

After that, what does a disc really mean? PC players have been doing it forever already.
 
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DESTROYA

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What is archaic? Buying a game cheaper? Being able to lend a game to a friend? Selling an old game you no longer play?

Honestly, some people make it sound like they are tripping over stacks of games in every corner of their house and must destroy physical media.

Now, if you're the type of person who buys hundreds of AAA games a generation, then yeah, maybe money isn't an issue and lending/borrowing and selling games is not a big deal to you; digital is convinient.
People don’t realize the money they can save buy not buying games day 1.
I have a pretty good size backlog so I never get the urge to buy a game on release day , waiting a month or two you can usually get many games with 30%-40% discount.
 

makaveli60

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So there is still hope (for the time being). Although they are slowly forcing us to the digital future, like what they did with CoD MW. It is inevitable, unfortunately. What is more sad is that there are people cheering for this bullshit.
 
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Rayderism

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I went 100% digital this gen. That said, I still want a physical drive in the PS5 because options are always good. That, and the hope that PS5 will be BC with physical PS1/2/3 games for which I have a considerable physical collection. On those old consoles, their digital offerings are sorely lacking. I'd estimate that 90% of the games I like on those older consoles (especially PS1/2) have no digital version.
 

CrisPy2019

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Add me to the people that would never buy a closed platform that just makes me "rent" the games.

I don't want to rely on servers and I am a collector.

At least on PC I can be like "screw digital. If it's gone there is always ways to play the games anyway!". On consoles that's not always an option.

Also PC is basically forever backwards compatible. Consoles fail and there is no guarantee that a future console will be able to play the games/that I will find a cheap replacement + the initial problem of how to get the game onto a new/replacement system when you can't download it anymore?

Digital only is bullshit. Same applies to day1patches that are somewhat mandatory. I also avoid those physical games because they are basically digital with some plastic in a box. Not worth anything more than empty cases with steamcodes.

That's why I also avoid any kind of DLC that does not exist in physical form. Xenoblade 2 had standalone DLC! And Borderlands2 had handsome collection. GOTY ftw!
 
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Saber

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It's not about digital. It's about option. The option to choose either digital or physical.

I'm sincerelly not a lazy bone to ditch physical just because you have to stand up to change discs. But there are a few games that I could use digital, even though I'm mostly physical.

It's good to know Europeans think straight.
 
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DunDunDunpachi

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I can understand why. European gamers have been swapping and importing games for awhile, probably more regularly than the N.A market. Every facet of their economy is somewhat affected by brands and products from neighboring countries, each affected by their own taxes and quality control. Buying a license for a streaming service that might be kicked out of your country in 5 years (This Game Console Content Not Available In Your Region) seems like lunacy if you live in the EU.
 

bhunachicken

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Living in the UK, I sell 99% of the games I buy. Once I'm done playing them, and I'm sure I'll never come back to them for a second go, I sell them.

Just this morning I got £19 cash for Bloodstained and FF12. Could've gotten £25 store credit, but preferred to have the cash.

I got RDR2 at launch, played it for 3 weeks and discovered it wasn't at all to my liking (to put it simply). I took the copy to CEX and they gave me £40 for it. I had bought it new for £46. Imagine if I'd bought the digital copy. That would be me down £46 instead of just £6.
 

Lucumo

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Is that true? Steam used to be huge and was very reliant on digital. I think what drove PC gaming down was the race to the bottom in pricing, and then subsequent shift up again.
What do you mean? Steam is one of the major reasons PC gaming lost its appeal here. Lots of people either quit gaming or made the switch to consoles. 10 years ago+, basically everyone had a desktop or laptop and was playing some kind of game. Consoles were an extra. Then those roles started becoming reversed. Even in the ten years since then, the new kids who unfortunately grew up with the likes of Steam, Origin etc still haven't replaced the people that left.

v So people like this have no clue what they are talking about. PC gaming "more popular now than ever" makes no sense. Even with technically more people playing games in general than ever (which is natural, as people age and the gamers of the 80s still play these days), smartphones alone destroy that notion.
wow. pull your head out the ground.

pc gaming is much more popular now than ever.
 

Fuz

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I can understand why. European gamers have been swapping and importing games for awhile, probably more regularly than the N.A market. Every facet of their economy is somewhat affected by brands and products from neighboring countries, each affected by their own taxes and quality control. Buying a license for a streaming service that might be kicked out of your country in 5 years (This Game Console Content Not Available In Your Region) seems like lunacy if you live in the EU.
I really don't think this factors in in the equation.
Living in the UK, I sell 99% of the games I buy. Once I'm done playing them, and I'm sure I'll never come back to them for a second go, I sell them.

Just this morning I got £19 cash for Bloodstained and FF12. Could've gotten £25 store credit, but preferred to have the cash.

I got RDR2 at launch, played it for 3 weeks and discovered it wasn't at all to my liking (to put it simply). I took the copy to CEX and they gave me £40 for it. I had bought it new for £46. Imagine if I'd bought the digital copy. That would be me down £46 instead of just £6.
This is one of the reasons why they're trying to cut our rights with digital and streaming.
 
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Lupin3

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These haven't been things since last gen, as physical copies are all installed on the HDD.

Are you saying you don't need the disc in the drive when playing?
 

M0G

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Not interested in digital only machines at all. As a PC gamer I go out of my way to source a boxed copy wherever I can which nowadays means importing in some cases. I've been buying physical games for thirty years and have kept most of them as my collection. I'm not going to suddenly stop doing that because the games industry decides it wants to sell me an agreement they can alter whenever they fancy it. Sometimes I might only get a box but fuck it, that's my box and it at least looks nice with my other boxes :p As sad as I am I will pre-order a game from a store and delay buying a game until it's cheaper if it's digital only. RDR2 for instance will wait until there is a gap in game releases and it's in a sale. Purely because I'm not paying £55 for a digital item when it would have cost £35 in a box less than ten years ago.
 
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Lupin3

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You do. But only for authentification. You don't need to swap discs when playing, like with some old games.

I meant swapping discs/cartridges when jumping between games.
 

Eiknarf

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“The survey encompasses all gamers, including those who play on smartphones...”

Ok
That explains why the number in favor of digital-only seemed higher

SMARTPHONES!?!
 
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Ar¢tos

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The ghost of P.T. will keep haunting the market for a long time, and with EA and Activision becoming even more evil each year, it becomes even harder to give up physical.
 
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Lupin3

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Ahh. Never really been a problem for me to stand up and change a game.

I guess it could be a problem for some kinds of people.

When you go back and forth between 3-4 games in one session, it's really nice not having to swap discs all the time. And the games are always there, no matter where you are. Options, nice to have them!