The debate of whether digital video game releases are overtaking physical has been a contentious one, with many arguing that data presented in favor of the digital market is often skewed. Developers themselves have varying perspectives on this but some indie studios have previously mentioned that they’d want to see their work on store shelves too, if financially feasible, as opposed to just digital storefronts.
Psyonix’s publishing VP, Jeremy Dunham, is one of those who believes that “it makes business sense” to release games digitally as well as physically in order to reach out to a wide audience. Speaking to Games Industry, Dunham said:
You need to be accessible to fans who only have cash or are only aware of games they see on the shelves as opposed to being online. Even when you don’t factor that in, there are still the logistics of it all. There’s a high percentage of console gamers that still buy physical copies of games and not digital, so it just makes business sense to be available to them in as many ways as possible.
Dunham revealed (based on Psyonix’s internal data) that those who are buying physical copies of Rocket League are “mostly a new audience” as opposed to those who’ve already bought the game online. Regardless, as Games Industry rightfully points out, the fact that there are people who purchased Rocket League digitally and still went on to buy physical copies highlights the demand for boxed games.
That said, some developers are concerned about the costs associated with physical releases, which makes them opt for the digital-only channel. We’ve previously heard something along these lines from RIME studio Tequila Works and it’s something that Overcooked developer Sold Out brought up as well.
As an example, retailers understandably want the price of boxed games to match that of digital ones to remain competitive and developers sometimes have to compensate for the higher price associated with a physical game by adding extra content. Publisher Ghost Town’s Phil Duncan explained:
That was why, when we released [Overcooked] in August, we were still working ridiculously long hours on the game. The game was out, but we were trying to get this DLC done because that was going to be included as part of the disc version, so that the price matched the downloadable version.
Interesting insight! What do our readers think?
[Source: Games Industry]