With the Coronavirus pandemic now on the backburner, many assumed that physical game sales would gain traction against the behemoth that is digital game sales. However, it seems that physical games are still plummeting in popularity, especially as PlayStation and Xbox push their digital only consoles.
The news might be concerning to some as video game preservation continues to be more difficult than ever. While digital titles are great while they’re there, a simple decision from a major company can leave many games on that spectrum unavailable. Look at what Nintendo is doing to the 3DS and Wii U eShop.
Obviously, this won’t be the end of physical games as we know them, especially in the realm of video games. However, it’s clear that digital might be the home for many more games from here on out, especially when major sales happen.
BBC reported that 89.5% of games were sold digitally in the UK, while only 10.5% of physical games made money. Unsurprisingly, 30% of the digital games were mobile titles, but it’s clear that gamers preferred buying digital games from the comfort of their console or PC. This is despite numerous ways to have physical items delivered by companies.
"While growth, at 2.3%, was lower than that of video or music, its scale is enormous - and in terms of innovation and excitement, it continues to set the pace for the entire entertainment sector," said ERA chief executive Kim Bayley.
It is worth noting that the sales used to determine these numbers were estimates. After all, companies like PlayStation and Nintendo don’t have to publish their sales figures. Still, it says a lot that many were willing to just purchase digital games over physical ones in 2022.
"In the old days, when there was pretty much only physical console games and PC discs, it was far easier to track the market," Bayley continued. These days, it's a lot more fragmented and sometimes the new digital players simply won't share their sales data directly - that's where estimates come in.”
Thankfully, most AAA titles tend to have physical games, so digital games won’t completely dominate everything. Companies like Limited Run have also ensured that some indie titles get to have physical releases as well.