Most People Are Still Buying Boxed Copies Of Games

Digital purchases might be the future, but that's just the thing with the future; it's in the future. Today is the present, and today, people still prefer buying things that are pressed on plastic and come in boxes.

A study performed by the NPD Group has found that during Q3 2009 (August-September), 90 per cent of all game purchases were "physical", meaning they came on a disc or cartridge, eaving the other 10 per cent of purchases to be... anyone? Yes, digital, meaning they were downloaded.

The study also had some interesting numbers on games piracy, especially if you're a Nintendo, Microsoft or Sony executive gripped by fear: "only" six million gamers admitted to downloading games illegally during the same period. Six million sounds like a lot, but the NPD Group say that's only 4 per cent of all gamers.

And of that 4 per cent, 72 per cent of the pirating was being done on PC and Mac. So while console piracy is definitely a problem, it's might not be the epidemic some platform holders and publishers would have you believe.

NPD: 90 Percent Of Paid Game Purchases Were Physical In Q3 [Gamasutra]


    What a suprise, the industry making piracy out to be bigger than it is.....

    also digital downloads will work but at the moment most of them are priced too high for what they are (im talking new new releases with no resale value)

    Then you factor in the download costs, the fact you cant gift a digitally distrubuted game to someone else after you have finished, you cant return it to the company and get a discount on a new game or the sequal etc, means that unless steam and xbl have sales, then not many people will pick up full retail games, more the older ones and sales items.

    I think DD can work if games are around 25% off their normal RRP, for example if I buy a physical copy of an xbox game for say 100, finish it trade it in for best case scenario 40-50 towards another game, ive spent 50-60 in total on the game, and if the DD copy was $75 it would encourage people to buy it online.

    Also one of the biggest problems with DD is pricing parity, as its digital it never shifts in price until a sale (steam has these a lot more than xbl) and they can keep it over inflated for as long as they like in one market and cheaper in another (look at mass effect and it was $100 on marketplace, 29 bucks in stores, and it took ages to go down in price)

    Ugh. I hate it when game companies blame pirates for bad sales, when the real reason is that their games are shit. Piracy is no-where near as bad as they would have you belive.

    On another note, it's interesting about box copies. If a game was the same price (retail and online), i would almost exclusively buy the retail copy. I have a very collective personality, so i like to keep the boxes and disks around.

    However, when things like the crazy Steam sales over the holiday happen, it becomes harder to justify a retail purchase

    2 key things have to happen for this scenario to change.

    Release dates of Games on Demand have to match the retail launch. Far too often, digital download fans are forced to wait months before the game becomes available. Now more than ever the best experience (particularly with multiplayer games) is at game launch. Whilst buying a game later doesn't change what you get on the disc, it can significantly change your experience. Multiplayer rooms are either filled with level 50 players, when your at level 1, or simply empty as the droves of people move to the latest and greatest title.

    The other critical piece to the puzzle is the hard drive space required. Sure on PC's it's not an issue, but on the console side, Microsoft's Xbox HDD is hideously expensive. Any recent consoles ship with a 120 or even 250GB hdd which is fine, but the majority of the 39 million xbox's out there have the 20GB, or 60GB version. Without the room required for digital downloads, this buying option is off the table.

    Worse still is the PS3 hard drive, which isn't (easily) upgradable.

    I hope the future brings change to both of these issues as digital distribution is the future, a future I hope arrives sooner rather than later.

      (easily) - what's up with that?

      "Worse still is the PS3 hard drive, which isn't (easily) upgradable.

      Are you serious. Watch this video on youtube and you'll see just how easy it is.

      I'm gonna be upgrading mine to probably 500GB or 1 TB next week.

      Seriously, a blind monkey with one arm could do it.

    I buy physical games because bandwidth to download games costs too much. Yeah I said it. My share-house has ADSL but the limit is too low shared between so many people to download anything that large. And 3G wireless broadband is $150/12G at the best. So - downloading games is out of the question. Long live EB!

      You are getting incredibly ripped off it you buy at EB. They are consistently more expensinve than JB Hifi, which should be first port of call for every game purchase. And no, I dont work there.

    I use steam pretty much exclusively to get games now, for me it's not having to use the bloody disk every time I want to play something. Automatic patches and if I screw up modding a game and totally corrupt it I can just do a integrity scan with steam to replace all the files I screwed up/deleted. No Disc required to play has to be the absolute kicker for me though. I found myself buying games during that crazy steam special that I actually already have a retail copy of because at $2.50 it was worth never having to use the bloody disc again for :)

    I'll always prefer physical media... i dont care what they put it on but as long as I can touch it then i'm sold. I HATE digital downloads, will only do it if I absolutely have to... bandwidth is not just the issue, but I hate having things stored on HDD's... HDD's are unreliable and especially when companies are now 'limiting' how many times you can download something. With console games you dont have that problem; play it whenever you want, however you want as many times as you want.

    Going out and purchasing Physical Media should never be phased out, it's a good solid system.

    Digital distribution is a pain... Especially with Bandwith. I like a reason to get off my ass and out of the house.

    Don't you?

    I consider myself a collector. I'm don't purposefly buy collectors editions of games I won't play or will knowingly hate, but I like having a packaged physical product when I buy something. I do use steam however quite extensively for older games at good prices. However dont have the bandwidth to dload newer tripple A titles so it's not an option.

Join the discussion!

Trending Stories Right Now