Karl Slatoff, the president of Take Two Interactive, believes that in the future digital games will completely dominate the video game industry, completely supplanting physical releases. Due to the huge opportunities digital releases have, plus the ease of distribution online, it’s actually not that hard to see why he thinks that.
Digital games have been slowly picking up speed ever since the last console generation when they were first able to be sold online, leading to the birth of the Xbox Live Marketplace and the Playstation Store. Digital games being sold have also allowed clients like Steam, Origin, and UPlay to present themselves.
However, there’s way more advantages than just ease of access as a reason that digital games are picking up in the video game industry. Websites like Good Old Games have found digital distribution as a great way to bring out older, more vintage classics without having to worry about getting discs, along with being able to run them on modern computers.
The Xbox One backwards compatibility service has shown that digital games can still get a wide audience by allowing games from both the Xbox 360 and the original Xbox to be playable. Slatoff actually brought up a good question of what sort of brick and mortar game stores would still carry the original Red Dead Redemption, which came out six years ago?
While there’s still a tremendous presence of physical gaming media, if the game market goes completely digital a huge portion of distribution costs (what it costs to make discs, cases, and everything else that goes into a game box). These could actually help to make the game more polished.
Either way, for digital games to truly supplant physical media, digital is going to have to get a lot more popular. However, we can probably at least expect a steady increase over the next few years.