It is a fact that we have come a long way from cartridges to discs and now onto digital-only downloads. However, when disc based gaming made it to the mainstream it flushed out the use of cartridges; but that was not the case with digital downloads and discs.
Paul Raines, the chief executive officer of GameStop was recently spotted advocating the idea that disc based gaming is here to stay forever which brought my attention to the matter.
Digital downloads have become a $1 billion business segment for GameStop alone and still, discs form a major chunk of the market. Raines also agrees with me on that and goes on further to say that the two solutions could actually work together.
Could it be that in the future we get disc plus downloads as a mainstream model?
Disc based games will be around forever. I see a complementary business where we sell discs plus download like the current console mode. Virtual reality games will also likely follow this model.
In addition to that, trying hard to keep discs relevant is very important for some retailers because there is an entire segment of the videogames market where used copies are sold and purchased. If discs go away, that is a lucrative portion of their profits that goes away with it.
This at least testifies that the retailing giants are going to do whatever they can to ensure that digital-only copies do not take over the markets.
In my opinion, the public choice in the matter is going to be the decisive force whenever it comes to choosing. And right now, I see a divided market with a substantial portion wanting to stick with getting a physical evidence of their money being spent, and another considerable portion of consumers that want to skip the hassle and simply download their stuff.
Coming full circle, this also suggests what Raines thinks could be the future of disc based gaming.