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The Death of Physical Media.

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The Death of Physical Media.

Old 03-18-23, 11:36 PM
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The Death of Physical Media.

Just a general discussion thread.

I do wonder why physical copies for consoles are still being made but pc has largely moved to digital. They could sell the games inside encrypted USB drives, pass the cost to consumers, and still have pretty cases and inserts. I miss physical pc games. And now you can't buy used pc games anymore.
Old 03-19-23, 05:15 AM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Physical PC vanished mostly because of a lack of demand. The tiny handful of retail releases you can still find are almost always just a Steam code in a box.

Optical media is cheap but near-nonexistent on modern PCsÖand on the off-chance someone does have an optical drive, itís probably a DVD drive, with woefully inadequate capacity for modern gaming. Alternate media like including a game on a thumb drive would be too expensive and muck up their margins.

And then you have people who love having their gaming library in Steam exclusively and donít want to mess around with an alternate method of launching games.

And in general, PC gamers are now so accustomed to doing everything digitally that you canít really put that toothpaste back in the tube and get them to go back to embracing physical media. And for many, itís an alien idea they canít even relate to.
Old 03-19-23, 10:10 AM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Yeah, I think that because BD-ROM never caught on, coupled with high capacity hard drives and fast internet speeds, physical PC games are a thing of the past.

Also sort of makes me wonder how long console gaming will last. I think they still probably have a few more generations at least because PCs are still tetchy and games require certain hardware standards, and its easier to run complex games on a standardized platform.
Old 03-19-23, 10:52 AM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
Yeah, I think that because BD-ROM never caught on, coupled with high capacity hard drives and fast internet speeds, physical PC games are a thing of the past.

Also sort of makes me wonder how long console gaming will last. I think they still probably have a few more generations at least because PCs are still tetchy and games require certain hardware standards, and its easier to run complex games on a standardized platform.
Okay, all good reasons why console gaming will stick around.
What are the reasons that make you think it won't?
Old 03-19-23, 12:10 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

The early Steam sales where everything was dirt cheap helped move me to digital only PC gaming. Then everybody realized how convenient it was.

If console gaming were to vanish it'd be in favor of streaming services, not necessarily PC gaming. As much as I like PC gaming, it's harder to setup and deal with updates, especially for those that prefer playing on their couch.
Old 03-19-23, 12:15 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

I think physical media for consoles will persist to some extent for the foreseeable future, but I expect it to transform.

We've been seeing digital-only models of consoles for a good while. There are rumors that the next PS5 model won't have a disc drive, but there'll be a separate accessory for anyone who wants that. A handful of retail releases are just codes-in-a-box, especially on Switch (Civilization VI, Just Dance 2023, Bioshock collection, Borderlands collection, etc.). Ubisoft closed their branch in Europe that was distributing physical media.

So as things shift more and more towards digital-as-default-but-physical-is-an-option-too, I can see fewer titles getting a wide retail release on disc. Some will just be a code-in-a-box or maybe just cards without external packaging; others will skip a wide retail release altogether. Maybe some of them will get a limited release from a dedicated limprint company; maybe these publishers will sell them directly to customers on their own websites, a la Square Enix and the Final Fantasy pixel remaster collection, but it'll be more online-focused, narrower in scope/breadth, and probably at a premium rather than something you pick up at Target or GameStop.

From the publishers' perspective, if they don't have to deal with the hassle of retail -- meeting minimum orders for replication, shipping, warehousing, sharing their cut with stores, leaks when stores break release date, less control over pricing -- why would they? I'll be picking up games physically as long as it's a viable option, but I'm not sure how many people will feel the same way 10 years from now.
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Old 03-19-23, 02:29 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Truthfully physical media for modern console games almost seems pointless in some ways anyways. Considering that most of them require huge installs and a lot require patches or DLC.

In a lot of ways it feels like youíre just buying a physical version for novelty purposes.

Iíll continue to buy physical releases for Switch games and for game franchises that I want to collect but thatís about all.

Last edited by Mike86; 03-19-23 at 05:01 PM.
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Old 03-19-23, 04:15 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Originally Posted by Decker View Post
What are the reasons that make you think it won't?
A general sense of the way consumer technology tends to converge.

I could see, at some point in the not-too-distant future, when everyone has a single whole home kind of system that would take the place of the PC, the gaming console, and media consumption (cable tv, satellite, steaming boxes like Roku).

The same way that the smart phone replaced the telephone, camera, camcorder, Walkman, calculator, GPS, etc.

At which point, consoles like XBox or PS might exist as something like apps within that ecosystem, or games might just become downloadable that could be played on any compatible system/platform/device like a CD, DVD, or Blu-Ray disc can be played on any player.
Old 03-19-23, 07:55 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Originally Posted by Josh-da-man View Post
A general sense of the way consumer technology tends to converge.

I could see, at some point in the not-too-distant future, when everyone has a single whole home kind of system that would take the place of the PC, the gaming console, and media consumption (cable tv, satellite, steaming boxes like Roku).

The same way that the smart phone replaced the telephone, camera, camcorder, Walkman, calculator, GPS, etc.

At which point, consoles like XBox or PS might exist as something like apps within that ecosystem, or games might just become downloadable that could be played on any compatible system/platform/device like a CD, DVD, or Blu-Ray disc can be played on any player.
The problem is that decent PC graphics cards are expensive and not needed by 90% of those who need a PC. Keeping gaming on a dedicated gaming system makes a ton on sense given how limited its focus is, how they can control costs and set industry standards, and how expensive it would be to integrate that functionality into all PCs. Like why everyone has a separate microwave instead of having that tech in a regular oven.
Old 03-20-23, 10:39 AM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Physical media isn't going anywhere. Nobody is going to pay for something that companies can pull the plug on at any given time - that alone is why the physical is mainly still around.

I for one sure hope it doesn't leave, quality overall is much better from disc.
Old 03-20-23, 11:03 AM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Originally Posted by Rival11 View Post
Physical media isn't going anywhere. Nobody is going to pay for something that companies can pull the plug on at any given time - that alone is why the physical is mainly still around.

I for one sure hope it doesn't leave, quality overall is much better from disc.
I think you are referring to movies, this is the video game forum. Digital downloads are very popular and are not related to the quality.
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Old 03-20-23, 11:12 AM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Yeah, games are a bit different. If you buy physical media for the next gen systems, you still need to install the entire game on the hard drive, so no space is saved there and the disk just becomes a license check (ie: an additional hassle you don't need to deal with if you are digital). Even if you have these physical games, so many games rely on day one patches or online services that they might not even be playable when the servers go down. The packaging is usually an afterthought with no manual of any kind (I saw that Front Mission special edition where one of the touted "features" is a game manual).

That said, I don't think it's going away soon if only because retailers may balk at selling systems, which they make little to no money off of, but not games and because of people who don't have the internet bandwidth or knowhow to download games of that size.

The switch is a bit different: the limited amount of space on the system means that sometimes it's beneficial to buy something physical (as long as it isn't a code in the box like Adam said earlier), it's a cartridge that doesn't require downloading onto the system and thus is more likely to work long term.

But considering the market for LRG there's a market/nostalgia for physical games anyway.

Old 03-20-23, 04:37 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Originally Posted by The Cow View Post
I think you are referring to movies, this is the video game forum. Digital downloads are very popular and are not related to the quality.
The quality comment was aimed at movies but the availability applies for video games as well. If you buy a game digitally, store it on your hard drive, what happens if you accidentally delete it and the game is no longer available digitally?
Old 03-20-23, 05:06 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Originally Posted by fujishig View Post
Yeah, games are a bit different. If you buy physical media for the next gen systems, you still need to install the entire game on the hard drive, so no space is saved there and the disk just becomes a license check (ie: an additional hassle you don't need to deal with if you are digital). Even if you have these physical games, so many games rely on day one patches or online services that they might not even be playable when the servers go down. The packaging is usually an afterthought with no manual of any kind (I saw that Front Mission special edition where one of the touted "features" is a game manual).

That said, I don't think it's going away soon if only because retailers may balk at selling systems, which they make little to no money off of, but not games and because of people who don't have the internet bandwidth or knowhow to download games of that size.

The switch is a bit different: the limited amount of space on the system means that sometimes it's beneficial to buy something physical (as long as it isn't a code in the box like Adam said earlier), it's a cartridge that doesn't require downloading onto the system and thus is more likely to work long term.

But considering the market for LRG there's a market/nostalgia for physical games anyway.
On the bright side it's like $50 for a 512gb microsd for the switch and a majority of the games are pretty small.
Old 03-20-23, 05:22 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

I would be more onboard with digital if I could trade the license to someone else for either money or other game licenses. There is absolutely no incentive for companies to implement that though unless they can figure out how to take a cut (which they would through some convenience or service fee negating any real benefit)
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Old 03-20-23, 07:10 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

I still buy most of the AAA games I play physically but that's just so that way when I'm done with them I can trade them back for $30 or so. Otherwise I don't have any attachment to physical games and am fine with digital.
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Old 03-21-23, 10:33 AM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

I can honestly say I can't remember the last time I bought a physical copy of a game. And i'm the guy who was going to fight digital tooth and nail.
Old 03-21-23, 10:49 AM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Originally Posted by The Questyen View Post
I still buy most of the AAA games I play physically but that's just so that way when I'm done with them I can trade them back for $30 or so. Otherwise I don't have any attachment to physical games and am fine with digital.
Exactly what I do, except I sell them for a hell of a lot more than that on FB Marketplace.
Old 03-21-23, 11:34 AM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

I've given up on physical media for games. Sure, I'd occasionally buy one at a great price, or swap games with a friend, or even sell a game for a decent price. Mostly I'd just buy the game, play it, and then put it on a shelf until I sold the system and all games at once. With the implementation of PS+, I found that I always had something to play, so I stopped buying physical discs (or even digital games at any price). I just waited for them to show up on PS+. If a specific game I was interested in never showed up on PS+, I just moved on to the hundreds of other games available. I've played more games, in more styles, and enjoyed my time playing more since going digital and subscription than I ever did buying physical.
Old 03-22-23, 08:02 AM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

The majority of my game collection is digital at this point, but I have some physical games I bought for various reasons; usually because the physical sale was far better than any digital sale was or has been. If I could mail those in and 'convert' them to digital, I'd do so in a heartbeat.

The exception is Switch games... I've pretty much stopped buying digital ones and stick to physical. But I don't buy many of those anyway.
Old 03-22-23, 03:28 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Originally Posted by Rival11 View Post
The quality comment was aimed at movies but the availability applies for video games as well. If you buy a game digitally, store it on your hard drive, what happens if you accidentally delete it and the game is no longer available digitally?
Most games require the download of huge updates, so when a publisher shuts down a game - the disc is useless as well.
The idea that buying a physical copy of a game gives you the ability to play it forever is antiquated.

The discs don't even save HDD space either as everything's running from the HDD anyway.

I bought my XBOX One X soon after it was released and have yet to buy a physical disc.
Old 03-24-23, 04:39 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Originally Posted by Coral View Post
Most games require the download of huge updates, so when a publisher shuts down a game - the disc is useless as well.
The idea that buying a physical copy of a game gives you the ability to play it forever is antiquated.

The discs don't even save HDD space either as everything's running from the HDD anyway.

I bought my XBOX One X soon after it was released and have yet to buy a physical disc.
I don't think so. If a game is shut down, there is a good chance it will just no longer be available and no further updates will be offered. There is a STRONG chance all extra data not on the disc would remain online indefinitely. It's certainly worth keeping the physical media around for that reason alone.
Old 03-24-23, 04:44 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

What makes you think there's a strong chance the extra data not on the disc would remain online indefinitely and not, you know, the entire game? The company has a better chance of making money off of something if the entire game is still available, if they pull it what incentive do they have to keep the updated data only?
Old 03-26-23, 12:15 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

I still have my Diablo CD-ROMs expansion packs.
Old 03-26-23, 02:50 PM
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Re: The Death of Physical Media.

Originally Posted by DVD Polizei View Post
I still have my Diablo CD-ROMs expansion packs.
I remember those massive Diablo 2 treasure boxes they sold at Costco so many years ago. Game, expansion disc and two game guides. Now Blizzard- there's a company that moved away from physical media in a damn hurry.

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