While the growing popularity of digital copies of video games is undeniable, Ubisoft's Senior Vice President (SVP) Chris Early, the head of strategic partnerships and business development, opines that physical game sales will continue, albeit at a potentially decreasing rate.
Recently, Ubisoft issued a blog post addressing the concerns about the future of physical media. This came in the wake of the staggering $69 billion acquisition of Activision Blizzard by Xbox, which has raised a heightened discussion about the fate of tangible gaming products. In this post, Early was quizzed about his thoughts on the potential direction and future outcome of physical media within the gaming industry.
Early stated that there are enduring factors that will continue to sustain physical media in the gaming arena. He highlighted the existence of a collector's edition market, which caters to those enthusiasts who place significant value in owning a physical copy of a game as a collector’s item. Furthermore, he emphasized the continuing relevance of gifting physical items in the form of games, which are not only easier to purchase at a brick-and-mortar store but also carry the tangible joy of gift-giving.
Early, however, acknowledged the possible contraction of the physical gaming market. He expects the sales to decrease over time due to the convenience and immediate accessibility of digital counterparts. Despite this, he firmly believes that the market for physical media isn't in danger of extinction.
His views stem from the understanding that there will always be a segmented audience who might cherish physically owning a game disc, either for the joy of collecting or the convenience of gifting. This niche in the gaming industry, he believes, can help physical game sales persist.
In conclusion, he expressed, "Do I think physical sales might get lower over time? Sure, but will they ever completely go away? I don't think so."
Following this clarification from Ubisoft, the debate shifts back to the player preferences, which range from technical settings like inverting the vertical Y-axis on a DualSense controller to the format of the game they prefer - physical or digital.
Interestingly, some speculations are suggesting a decrease in physical game options for Xbox in particular retail outlets. Despite this, platforms like PlayStation and Switch seemingly continue to bolster their physical game offerings.
Overall, while the digital shift is undoubtedly transforming the gaming industry, there seems to be a unanimous agreement that physical games will always hold a special place within the gaming economy, satisfying the preferences of collectors, gift-givers, and certain traditional player bases. This balanced ecosystem of digital and physical formats is likely to shape the multifaceted future of the gaming world.
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