While the casual gamers may not care about having a tangible product in their hands, the hardcore might always care.
According to a recently released Wedbush Securities report, the idea that all consumers are shifting towards digital is a "commonly held misperception." The report in question states that the hardcore gamers will continue to stick with physical media.
"Many investors believe that consumers are abandoning packaged products in favor of mobile and social games, and think that the publishers who have lost share will never recover. We think that this thesis is only partly true; in our view, casual gamers are likely to shift their playing time from packaged products to mobile and social games, but hard core gamers are far less likely to do so.
If we are right, the packaged goods business should be viewed as consisting of hard core games (the vast majority of sales on the Xbox 360 and PS3) and more casual games (the vast majority of sales on the Wii and DS). Our thesis has been borne out by the 2011 figures (according to the NPD Group), with Xbox 360 software sales up 12%, PS3 software sales up 4%, DS software sales down 21% and Wii software sales down 31%."
The report also noted that there is a "large overlap of social gamers among the older and female demographics," which isn't going to surprise anyone who understands this industry. Furthermore, with so many games coming out, consumers have become more selective and are often limiting their purchases to big AAA releases, which has led to an overall decline in software sales. For a 2012 prediction, the firm believes sales will continue to slide over the summer but should rebound during the holidays, with "3DS and Vita software making up for lost sales on other systems."
Yeah, it's true that the casual gamer might probably opt for the digital choice; it's generally faster and easier, and they don't care about having a game library. But the hardcore do, and having a bunch of files on a video screen doesn't constitute a collection, as any collector will tell you.