How Many Games Do You Still Buy At Retail?

Image: Kotaku

While there's plenty of options for buying digitally these days, the act of physically buying games from a store hasn't gone away. So for this week's Tell Us Dammit, I'd like to know: how many games have you still bought at retail?

In my experience, I've found that people tend to buy more games at retail when it ticks into the Christmas period. Retailers often do a good job of offering really decent deals on AAA titles from September onwards - think Fallout 4 pre-orders at JB for $59 - and because publishers aren't matching that price digitally, it makes a lot more sense to buy in-store.

After the first few weeks, however, buying digitally tends to make a lot more sense. Retailers don't cut prices to the same extent as Steam, Good Old Games, Green Man Gaming and so on.

Another element that's been surprising is the Switch's eShop pricing. While games like Breath of the Wild and Mario Kart 8 were full price digitally, smaller indies were super reasonable.

So how many games have you still bought at retail? If you want to narrow it down to a year or per console, go for it. But are you more of a digital or retail buyer, or do you just go wherever the sales are?


    PC games? None. I rarely even buy direct from Steam anymore, unless it's heavily on sale. Steam is too expensive with its USD pricing.

    Consoles? Retailers tend to be a bit more competitive, unless the digital stores are having a sale.

      Steam is ridiculous for a lot of games. Steam, the reason you stopped going to EB Games and the reason you now sometimes go back.

        Never, under any circumstances, go back to EB Games. Even if the price is cheaper, the staff exploitation is drastically worse.

    I buy mostly retail, especially Nintendo 1st party games as it's always cheapest at launch

    I buy mostly digital these days. Partly because a lot of them don't get physical releases and partly because so many AAA games want to be 40, 60, 80 hours long and I just cbf continually putting the disc in and out. I also rarely buy anything on day 1, and digital sales on PSN tend to be cheaper than physical, although the reverse is true if you're buying on day 1.

    For shorter stuff, I tend to buy physical because (a) they're over much faster so the disc is less of a hassle, and (b) I'm more likely to replay them, so I can delete then reinstall later without having to download them again. I'm unlikely to replay something that takes 40+ hours, so I don't mind downloading it once, playing it then deleting it.

    Only retail game I've bought all year is Uncharted The Lost Legacy (which I did buy day 1 because Naughty Dog). The others (eg Yakuza 0,Horizon Zero Dawn, XCOM 2,etc) were all digital.

    ....None. Too many games and too many sales.

    Haven't even bought a game from steam direct in the last 2 years or so.

    When PC was my only "console", I never bought anything through retail as Steam/Origin had everything I needed.

    Now that I have a switch, most of my games have come from JB:HIFI.

    PC: Digital.
    Console: Retail.

    Mostly because downloading digital games on console takes forever. Steam is much quicker.
    Same reason I don't buy games off the Windows Store... download speeds are atrocious.

      Also PS store is a ripoff.

        Usually, yes. But the sales are pretty good sometimes. I just got Octodad Dadliest Catch and Lara Croft GO for $5 each.

    Only buy digital for sale items or decently priced indies/eShop games. Given console digital stores usually keep prices at full RRP, they're only good with massive sales.

    May also buy some "long term" games (i.e. keepers, like Zelda BotW etc.) digitally, but depends on the price. At launch, retail is usually 20%+ cheaper than digital so for that sort of savings, retail is better.

    For ones I'm happy to finish & then trade in/sell, retail is (obviously) best to get some financial return on re-sale.

    Last edited 21/09/17 11:35 am

    I tend to either have my games imported overseas or digital, all depends on price

    PS4 = None
    I moved to full digital halfway through the PS3s life.

    Most big name games I buy retail still, particularly for new releases. I just like having the box, particularly for console gaming.

    Not all games, I do get one of those 10 keys a month deal every month, and the occasional game I'll get digital (notably when it doesn't hit the shelves like NMS on PC), but in general I'm old school enough to lean towards the physical product.

    PC and console, all digital.
    Console because of game sharing with the missus on her console (1 license both can play at same time) and PC because why would I choose to go to a store when I have all the options for purchasing online.

    Everything digital for me, no matter what platform - just can't be bothered changing the discs or having the boxes lying around anymore, weird since I used to have loads and kinda enjoyed looking through them all?

    Only two issues with this are:

    1.) Nintendo Switch - bought a big ass memory card, but 256gb is still not that big so it won't last forever, even taking into account the smaller game downloads/less frequent purchases i make on the switch. Re-downloading at aussie speeds/with limits is just annoying & changing memory cards is even worse than discs - luckily it's not an issue yet.

    2.) The amount of games owned seems to slow down my (already slow) Xbox UI terribly when navigating through them all. Not sure if it's the same on the PS4 as I don't have anywhere near the same number but looking through my game library is a chuggy, unresponsive chore compared to something like Steam where I can scroll through easily.

    Also find as I've gotten older that I very rarely pre-order or buy at launch anymore. Sales are just amazing and the whole "must play it" feeling has long since gone. The ones I tend to buy now are the ones from smaller devs or niche titles I like to think i'm showing my support of. Titles with microtransactions etc (casting a grumpy glance at shadow of war) and dodgy marketing I can now quite easily 'leave on the digital shelf' and take great pleasure in paying hardly anything for it down the line. Sad that it's got to those levels of petty but I'm also sick of spending 40-60 hours on a 20 hour game just to level up/grind enough virtual currency to buy weapons etc that would previously have been quest rewards etc - so many great games out there i'd rather spend that wasted time on.

      Anyone know how long this stoopid "all of yours posts are being moderated" stuff lasts?

      I offered two hints for people thinking of buying PES 2018 in a thread about PES 2018 and got downvoted to hell presumably because of Mr Sterlings anti Konami stance, everything gets moderated since then. I love the internet >sigh

    Depends on prices for me for both Pc and console. If a game I want is cheaper in store even by a cent I go to retail but if it's cheaper online than retail then online.

    I mostly buy retail if its a game I want and they have a good launch sale. There's often been games $30-40 of RRP at launch these days. I get it price matched at EB, then if I don't like it I can return it

    Given the 10-day return period I have at EB Games, I ONLY buy games for consoles (which is rare nowadays) at retail. The flexibility of being able to refund something I don't like is all too valuable.

    Wouldn't even consider purchasing a PC game at EB however. Given you cannot return PC games you don't like at EB, it makes no sense for me to get in my car to buy a download code I can simply get from Steam.

    Given the 10-day return period I have at EB Games, I ONLY buy games for consoles (which is rare nowadays) at retail. The flexibility of being able to refund something I don't like is all too valuable.

    Wouldn't even consider purchasing a PC game at EB however. Given you cannot return PC games you don't like at EB, it makes no sense for me to get in my car to buy a download code I can simply get from Steam.

    All my games are digital. I only buy games when they are on sale via the Xbox marketplace. Most I buy when 50-75 percent off, which is usually cheaper than eb games, jbhifi, bigw, etc

    Always digital on PC. On consoles the preference is always digital except for:
    - Collectors editions (I'm a sucker for art books)
    - Games I know will end up being trade-ins after playing
    - Physical only games (Yes, they still exist strangely enough)

      That last one sounds weird - I thought EVERYTHING was available digitally these days. Out of curiosity, can you give any examples of a recent physical-only game?

    PC Gamer have been buying all my games through Steam (or Steam Keys from humble or green man) for 11 years...

    ... except Bethesda games. I buy them all retail cause those morons put the Australian retail number into the USD field. Thats an extra $15 to $25 on conversion they add cause they dont care they ripping us off... and as you said preorders from JB Hifi have been pretty good with pricing.

    Like most people..

    PC - Digital
    Console - Retail (unless there's a decent sale).

    Console - mostly physical except for digital-only games and games that are super-cheap on sale.

    PC - on the rare occasion I buy a game for PC, it's always digital and has been since about 2003.

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