Get used to a future without disk games

Are the days of the disc numbered? Industry analyst Mat Piscatella believes that PlayStation and Nintendo will also follow the Xbox's path.

While many gamers still want to hold a disc in their hands, the statistics point to a purely digital future. An analysis by Piers Harding-Rolls, analyst at Ampere Analysis, made it clear in May that the revenue generated from physical releases takes up an ever smaller part and is even approaching zero.

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But how does this affect the product plans of publishers and retailers? On the one hand, service games, DLCs and subscription games take up a large part of the playing time. In addition, the digital transformation has already been accepted by many customers and many games have a digital share of more than 80 percent.

Sony and Nintendo will follow Xbox

Months ago, there were indications that major retailers had stopped selling physical copies of Xbox titles, or at least had plans to do so. New releases like “Hellblade 2” were only released digitally. And during the wave of layoffs at the beginning of the year, departments that were responsible for bringing Xbox games to physical retail stores were reportedly hit.

A New model of the Xbox Series X announcedwhere Microsoft does away with the disk drive. But what does this mean for the future of video game consoles?

Industry analyst Mat Piscatella is convincedthat Xbox gamers should not expect physical releases any time soon. He also predicted that Sony would also take this step after another console generation, followed by Nintendo after two more generations.

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Piscatella was responding to a post about the physical release of the “Tomb Raider 1-3 Remastered Collection”. The CEO of Limited Run Games previously emphasized: “As a reminder, the Xbox version of this version is not planned for traditional retail, so if you want it, this really is your last chance.”

The analyst then replied on X, formerly Twitter: “People should probably get used to it (not getting physical Xbox versions) sooner rather than later across the market.”

Later, a follower of Piscatella chimed in, writing: “This has already happened in other markets. Here in Brazil, there are no retail copies of Xbox games. However, Nintendo and Playstation continue to sell them.”

But that could also change: “Yep, give the PS another generation, Nintendo another 2,” Piscatella concludes.

What comes after the PS6?

It is likely that the PS6 will be shipped with a disk drive. However, Sony is going its own way with the latest concept anyway.

Since the PS5 Slim, the disk drive has been modular and can be attached to or removed from the console as needed. This design, which Sony will presumably retain for future consoles, allows production to be scaled better and adapted to customer requirements. If customers no longer want disk drives, not much will change in the production of the console.

The share of digital sales depends largely on the game, as statistics published in March show. “God of War: Ragnarok”, for example, was sold primarily on disk. Further figures are provided in the report linked below:



Disk still the big favorite

In a survey conducted by PLAY3.DE in February, 37 percent of the approximately 4,200 participants stated that they primarily buy games on disk, 19 percent consume exclusively digitally and 15 percent exclusively on disk. The options “primarily digital” and “balanced on disk and digital” came in at 15 and 13 percent respectively.

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