Is this really the end of our physical friends?
Get ready to usher in a new era of video games as the latest reports suggest digital downloads are overtaking physical copies for the first time in history.
Posting on Twitter, video game analyst Daniel Ahmad explained the findings. Ahmad shared figures from EA, Take-Two Interactive, and Sony to support his case.
According to recent earnings calls, 52% of EA's full game unit sales in the past 12 months were digital downloads. Take-Two said it was 55% for its financial year, and Sony said 51% of its PlayStation 4 games were sold via digital.
For reference, Take Two says its ratio was 55% for FY2020
Sony said that 51% of all games sold on PS4 in FY2020 were digital
In other words. We enter next gen with digital >50%
In a nutshell, Ahmad says digital game sales will overtake physical as we head into the next generation of consoles. Looking back over the history of video games, we've come a long was from cartridges of SNES, Sega Mega Drive, and N64. The GameCube tried smaller discs, while most other consoles have kept with a standardised disc size.
It's also important to remember a lot of this data is pre-COVID-19, mean it won't have taken into the recent boom of digital game sales while we were all kept locked up in our homes.
Sure, it can take forever to download a digital copy if your internet is a bit slow - and who doesn't hate deleting games to make space? - but face facts, things are about to change forever. Digital downloads also come with their benefits of not having to lug a physical copy around or visit a store. That in itself casts doubt over the future of physical video game stores, which are already becoming a rarity on the high street.
The latest news comes just weeks after Capcom claimed up to 80% of all its sales come from digital downloads (via GamesIndustry.biz). With Capcom boasting franchises like Resident Evil, it's one of the biggest developers out there. All eyes are already on Resident Evil VIII's upcoming release on the PlayStation 5 and what could be another big hitter for Capcom in terms of digital games sales.
As the debate rages on about whether the joy of holding a physical copy outweighs the apparent perks of digital, it looks like physical games are fighting a losing battle. Just like any technology becomes obsolete eventually, you'd better start picking up physical games while you can. Somehow, a digital collection doesn't look quite as impressive on a bookshelf.
Images via Unsplash Adam Valstar | Capcom