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The least expensive versions of new generation hardware have no disc drives. Is it over for physical collecting and brick and mortar?

ReBurn

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There's been a lot of talk On this forum about how people refusing to go digital because they like to own their games. Aside from the fact that physical game ownership hasn't truly been viable since game patches started rolling on Xbox 360 and PS3, a lot of people have held that if the digital marketplaces collapse and online services go offline they'll still be able to play their games. It also has fueled an economy of used game trading and sales that have kept major video game retailers and small independent shops in business for decades.

Now we have the biggest players releasing the lowest cost versions of their hardware without disc drives. This is an active financial incentive for people to move to all digital purchases. What I think is most impactful is that Sony and Microsoft are now doing something that a lot of collectors denied would ever happen. They are de-prioritizing physical media and in the process they are beginning to eliminate game ownership as we know it. I don't think it's a reach to say that this could be the last console cycle that uses physical media.

But more short term is what this means for retail and the used game economy, especially the used economy. I don't think it's reaching to say that there will be considerably fewer used copies of recent games in circulation this generation. People who fund their new purchases by trading used games now have to pay more for hardware to be able to save money on used games. Retailers are going to take a hit on both ends. They'll sell fewer new copies and they'll have fewer used copies available to sell.

So die hard physical only folks, now that we see where Microsoft and Sony are going in regard to prioritization of digital over physical, what do you see changing for you? Do you see the next console cycle after PS5 and XSX eliminating physical media completely?
 
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AV

We ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space
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Similar thread already up, I expect this to be the first time digital prices are lower than physical in order to drive people to digital. £60/£70 and whatever that translates to for everyone else. I believe this is probably the last Playstation we see where games still come on discs. MS barely care about physical this time around either, they're already giving you cheap digital games on a silver platter.
 

Stuart360

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Its academic as i'm 99% certain this is the last gen with drives anyway. But yeah, i would expect XSS to outsell XSX, as there are way more casuals than hardcore. And i would expect PS5D to outsell the disk version, as its basically the same console but $100 cheaper.
I know Covid has had a big part in it, but didnt digital sales recently hit 55% of all sales?, i can see it hitting 80% by the end of next gen, and that will be enough for both Sony and Microsoft to go diskless with any potential PS6 and Xbox 5.
 

NickFire

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Mar 12, 2014
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The end is nigh.

I'm ok with it dying out this way though. At least the audience is going to make the decision (essentially), and not the pubs who just hate used games.
 

reinking

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IMO.... The option to buy digital has been available for some time now. The people that wanted to go all digital have already been doing so. Lower entry fee might incentivize some people to make the move but I would guess those people were already buying few physical games. That being said, there has been more movement toward digital. We will have to see how much further the needle moves to see if it really is the death of physical media.
 
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TGO

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Not representative but



 

MiguelItUp

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Not at all. I almost think a lot of people are rolling with digital because it's cheaper. My understanding is that there is definitely a demand for physical still. Be it for backwards compatibility, or just because they prefer discs.

Which is fine with me, because when I think of consoles, I think of physical media. In fact, I prefer it honestly.
 

CeeJay

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It won't affect my gaming habits really, i've been all digital for over a decade on PC and this entire console gen on Xbox. With the arrival of GamePass it has even made game ownership itself something that I care less about than I used to. I own both physical and digital games that I have played less than some of the games i have "rented" on Gamepass and I don't feel like the games i've enjoyed on Gamepass are any less valuable to me. I can understand people who cherish physical ownership but it is clearly a shrinking platform. I think you are right about there being less and less physical media in shops this coming gen and that is only going to push the price of the second hand market up. Expect to pay a lot more for those second-hand games whilst also getting the same amount for your trade-ins.
 

Orta

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Can't wait to be shifting through stacks of hard drives over the coming years looking for some game I downloaded in 2024.
 
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AV

We ain't outta here in ten minutes, we won't need no rocket to fly through space
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And the Disc Version sold out at every other retailers before the Digital version did..

Bear in mind that this only reflects the die-hard fans who want these things on day one. Those people are probably more likely to be collectors and fans of physical media. The mass market making up the majority of hardware sales are still going to be digital, especially when you have stuff like XSS at 299. Regular consumers don't care, give them a cheap box to play COD and FIFA on with their friends each yet, discs be damned.
 

ReBurn

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I never said that people won't buy consoles with disk drives. Preorder numbers are not even orthogonally related to the topic. When new hardware releases people buy what's available. Someone who wanted the $400 version will buy the $500 version at launch if that's all they can get. The people who will gravitate toward the lower cost versions aren't the ones pressing F5 on the preorder page.