While everyone keeps talking about the seemingly inevitable switch to digital distribution for video games, the numbers still say we're a long ways from a digital coup.
According to a new report from the Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA), physical sales of games vastly outstripped that of digital game sales in 2009. First, the report found that overall prerecorded video content sales (DVDs, Blu-Rays, and other digital devices) grew 2.8% to 3.5 billion units and the combined sales totaled $17.9 billion, which was "over 9 times the revenue generated by digital sales, and 80% to 90% of paid video game software acquisitions were on physical media." Bottom line? Consumers still identify most with packaged media. Said Bo Andersen, president and CEO of EMA:
"Digital distribution is clearly an important segment of the home entertainment market and will continue to grow in market share in the coming year. While it is tempting for industry outsiders to say 'disc is dead,' as the saying goes, reports of its demise are grossly exaggerated."
Well, good. We're not the biggest fans of a game industry that is entirely built on digital distribution. Collectors would certainly be left out in the cold, unless you could find one who's just as happy with a file on their screen as they are with their physical library. …and good luck finding such a person.