Nov 19, 2013
A new report from IHS has predicted that 34% of software spending will be on digital products by 2017, on both the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One.
They also expect that 18% of new releases will go digital. Of course, these figures are dependent on a number of things, such as the popularity of the new consoles, taking into account that casual mobile gaming doesn’t take over in some form of Bolshevik Revolution. Piers Harding-Rolls stated that:
“A key driver for this digital transition will be publisher ambition to release most games digitally at the same time as boxed versions at retail outlets…Those titles that have already experimented with digital ‘day and date’ releases alongside boxed versions have enjoyed a small but growing digital share of total sales volume, but IHS predicts that by 2017 new releases could be enjoying up to 18 per cent digital sales depending on geography.”
As technology increases, the possibility of digital-only becomes more likely. The Xbox One seemed too keen to embrace this format when initially announced, as fans currently still enjoy physical media; whether from personal preference or lacking internet connections.
Of course, for digital sales to increase, there are a number of factors which need to be addressed. New titles on the digital stores are often marked to as much as £59.99, which is £20 over the high street price. Whilst there currently seems little incentive to purchase digitally, with colossal downloads and a number of notable bug-ridden releases over the past few months, the physical disc still reigns supreme.
For digital to succeed, they need to compete price-wise, or perhaps undercut physical media itself. Of course, we have also seen new forms of monetization such as Free-to-Play or Trial versions of games, and these may increase to drive the increasing popularity of digital media. Being able to discover new games in the relevant stores would also help to gain traction, as currently the same games receive publicity on App stores and on consoles. Both Microsoft and Sony wish to push the digital side of their new consoles, but they need to take note and improve their services in order to make the transition.
Although the public may not be ready quite yet, in the upcoming years we may see a seismic shift in how we consume video games. Who knows, perhaps the next consoles won’t even have disc drives. The PSP Go may have been ahead of it’s time.