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.

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TheHighlander
TheHighlander
12 years ago

Hmm….Devil's advocate time.

Interesting. So digital distribution accounted for 10-20$ of all video game purchases? WOW!

$18 billion in revenue being over 9 times the revenue generated by digital….that means that it was less than 9 and a half times or they'd have simply said 10 times. So digital distribution accounted for $2 billion, or there about?

And this was in 2009 when the push for more digital delivery of games on PSP and PS3 was just beginning to get going.

Interesting. I'm surprised by how significant digital distribution is, especially considering the average unit price. I mean PSN games average less than $20 (taking into account the full price PSP titles). To even get to a fraction of 1/9th of the revenue when the average value of each sale is so much lower indicates that digital distribution is plenty strong.

Of course the analysis was done by the Entertainment Merchants Association – in other words, physical retail.

Interesting though.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
12 years ago

Thing is, people aren't that smart. They are tempted to buy those cheaper PSN and Live digital games because they are cheap, but they also tend to buy more of them not noticing they are spending a lot. (Especially in the case of Live where the aim of MS points is to confuse people into not paying attention to how much they are spending) I don't think the numbers would keep stacking up for the $60 titles.

Dancemachine55
Dancemachine55
12 years ago

Ben

A friend of mine is on an unlimited braodband plan, and only buys off Steam. It is only when it is not on Steam that he buys physical media.

I have no idea how he can be proud of a collection which consists of a list of names of games on a screen. I take pride of what resides on my shelf.

His argument – if he loses it or his PC carks it, he can just redownload it. All 900 GB of it.

Thing is, it's hard to gift a PC download, and you can't trade or sell a digital copy of games you buy. You buy it, you're stuck with it, even if you don't like it.

I'll stick with my disc-based games thank you.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
12 years ago

@DanceMachine,

You're right about the PC, but of course with PSN you can buy gift cards…

😉

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
12 years ago

Well good, cuz I'm tired of hearing from analysts that my awesome collection is doomed very soon. So what does this mean for MS? I know they will refuse blu ray for their next system. Sony is already working on something better than blu ray, and digital distribution is a great ways off. Will they have to make their own media?

tes37
tes37
12 years ago

I saw an article as well, saying the new disc could possibly be 6 terabytes. That's some insane storage capacity.

B-RadGfromOV
B-RadGfromOV
12 years ago

That's an unnecessary amount lol

kraygen
kraygen
12 years ago

Yes it's unnecessary right now for sure, but any time a new tech comes out it is very expensive, but over time becomes cheaper and cheaper.

So if they are working on it now, I think it's great, because by the time we need it, it can be inexpensive and accessible to us all.

Fane1024
Fane1024
12 years ago

"That's an unnecessary amount lol"

…so was 50 GB…and 9.4 GB…and 600 MB.


Last edited by Fane1024 on 8/13/2010 6:13:22 PM

Hezzron
Hezzron
12 years ago

DLC is OK for inexpensive purchases, such as the case is now with smaller games and add-ons.

I'd be hard pressed to fork over $60 for a code to a game that will be buried somewhere in a console that will eventually be obsolete. I could never sell the game or give it away either.

A DLC norm would be a lot more beneficial to game publishers than consumers. I would be very hesitant to trust them with that kind of control over my games.

Lawless SXE
Lawless SXE
12 years ago

It seems kind of skewed to me.

After all, most of what is available on disc is not available online, so for most content it is required for us to buy physical media. Also, as Highlander wrote just above, the prices for digital media is far lower than it is for physical. It simply isn't accurate to compare the amount of profit generated by the two seperate purchase streams. It is better to compare the number of purchases made.

Also, I don't think anyone is saying that digital distribution is going to become the norm overnight. To assume that is folly. But, the market share, in terms of profit, will very likely swing to 50/50 within the next five years as people become more comfortable with the idea of not having anything for their money and as more products become available alongside a retail release.

Why is it that people that write up these retail reports only factor in the things that are important to prove their argument, rather than offering the full details.
Peace.

Mornelithe
Mornelithe
12 years ago

I 100% agree on any platform personally, but given the rise of Steam, and other digital networks that're popular….with other platforms, I can see how some might think this way…on other platforms.

But for me personally, no matter what I'm playing on, I definitely prefer physical media.

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
12 years ago

I'll just stay with my physical copies thank you.

You lose your HDD, you lose everything.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
12 years ago

Nope. Not true – at least on the PS3. You have generally got 5 activations and even if your HDD dies and you replace it, you won't lose the activation because the PS3 is the same unit and same activation. All you need do is re-download everything. Now, re-downloading can be a pain, but you don't lose the content.

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
12 years ago

Still, no for digital.

Madden 11 demo already took me 6 hours, I think it's gonna take days to be done with a whole game.

And I didn't know the PS3 sorta protect your content.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
12 years ago

Since you didn't know, this is why you need to be careful about what you say.

6 hours? Wow. Time to step up from dial-up. 😉

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
12 years ago

Yea, I guess so.

I can't, my downloading speed is approximately 50kb-100kb per second.

I usually download stuff at night and then leave my PS3 on for the whole night.

Jawknee
Jawknee
12 years ago

Who is your ISP and why are you playing them money for such terrible Internet? I slowest available in my area is 7mbps from Qwest.

Jawknee
Jawknee
12 years ago

Pardon the mistakes. Stupid iPhone predictive dictionary. >.<

Snaaaake
Snaaaake
12 years ago

I'm not in the US.
Different country, different line.

I just have to bear with it.

Jawknee
Jawknee
12 years ago

Oh, bummer.

Underdog15
Underdog15
12 years ago

Actually, I bet your full game downloads will take near the same time. Demos usually contain nearly enough information for the entire game. In fact, some demos, Infamous on PSN for example, only require you to download a much smaller activation file that basically opens up the demo into the full game.

Fane1024
Fane1024
12 years ago

@ TheHighander

You CAN lose your activations if you send your PS3 in for repairs, because the repaired PS3 gets reset and doesn't _think_ it's the same PS3 even when it is.

I tried to Restore my Backup on my repaired PS3 and it told me it wasn't the same one, despite the serial number, etc. being the same and despite reassurances from the service desk that it was the same unit.

WorldEndsWithMe
WorldEndsWithMe
12 years ago

Well, we already can't play our savegames on other PS3s and when DD happens we won't even be able to bring the games to a friend's house for the multiplayer so when it does happen break out your old backpacks if you like to showoff your games to your friends boys and girls.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
12 years ago

You could create an account on your friends PS3 but not save the password (don't want anyone else having your password after all). That way you can download anything you have bought with your PSN account and activate it on that console. Of course, don't forget to deactivate it if you want to keep the activation for yourself.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
12 years ago

Why would you take your save files to someone else's home?

LegendaryWolfeh
LegendaryWolfeh
12 years ago

Same reason as taking your ps2 memory card to a friends to play games at their house?

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
12 years ago

Why would you take your PS2 memory card to your friend's house?

Jawknee
Jawknee
12 years ago

I wanted to play Tatsunoko vs Capcom with a friend but since he didn't have the game I had to bring my whole Wii over because I couldn't bring a memory card with all my unlocked characters. Kinda lame.

kraygen
kraygen
12 years ago

Yeah on a lot of games with split screen you would have to re-unlock everything to play the game with your friends, which sucks, because you just want to jump in and play MP, not take turns on SP to unlock everything.

Naruto Ulimate Ninja Storm is an awesome fighting game that does let you take your save data to a friends house. It's awesome, I beat the game 100% then took the save to my friends and we had every character available. That's why we don't want our data locked.

LegendaryWolfeh
LegendaryWolfeh
12 years ago

#1 thing keeping me from going digital, the prices are still wack, especially on PC, steam and blizzard both price games at the essential disk price so you're paying the same for less pretty much. it sux =(

Jawknee
Jawknee
12 years ago

I know. You can get physical copies of Steam games on Amazon for half the price. I like Steam but I never buy from there. Costs way to much for data. Good thing about Steam though is it saves your purchases and let's you redownload and install at your behest.

Scarecrow
Scarecrow
12 years ago

blu-ray for ps4!

It's gonna be insane :O
Digital media is good, but only for small games

Games with better quality need all the space they can get. Besides you'll never to have fear your HDD corrupting itself or your console burning out or anything. Sure, you can re-download them again, but what if you have 20-30 games? You'll be downloading all of that again?

Good to know that most gamers agree in this subject

Benzin
Benzin
12 years ago

Is that your living room Ben?

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
12 years ago

Ah, no.

Jawknee
Jawknee
12 years ago

Ben, since you like turn based are you going to give Dragon Quest IX a spin?

Sorry off topic. I'm playing it at the moment and I'm loving it.

Kangasfwa
Kangasfwa
12 years ago

That pic is probably from Biker Saint's house.

Underdog15
Underdog15
12 years ago

Ahhh, Jawk! I want to play that game so bad, but I don't want to buy a system just for the game…

The DS is making it tough for me not to get one. All the FF remakes, Kingdom Hearts, Dragon Quest IX…. AHHHH! Makes me mad! lol

Ben Dutka PSXE
Ben Dutka PSXE
12 years ago

Nah, not enough of a reason for me to get a DS.

I loved DQVIII, though.

Jawknee
Jawknee
12 years ago

Yea i wouldn't advise anyone to buy a DS just for DQIX but if you like Zelda(which i know you said you didn't like the 3D ones Ben so this is for Underdog 😉 a DS is worth having.

Underdog, i say look for a handme down or a used DS. There are more then a few games on the DS that make the DS worth owning. If you ever decide to get one and want to know a few games worth getting, shoot me a PSN message. I'll be happy to give you some ideas.


Last edited by Jawknee on 8/10/2010 11:47:32 AM

BikerSaint
BikerSaint
12 years ago

Hey, that pic iss about a 1/4 of my collections(minus all that crap anti-vision plastic-ware shown there).

And mine's not the floor, it's all up on shelving units scattered all along my living room & down the hallway.

But, if my collection gets any bigger, I'll probably have to start tossing out my couch & and any other non-gaming furniture, cause as a collector…….

"I just got's to have all my physical media"!!!!!!!


Last edited by BikerSaint on 8/10/2010 2:50:02 PM

Charger7302
Charger7302
12 years ago

The problem I have with digital downloads is not games, its movies and the DRM on them. With games, when u lose them on Playstation, Sony lets you re-download them at least 4 more times, but movies you only get to download them once. If your Ps3 gives out, then your out of luck and your forced to PURCHASE said movie all over again.

I lost so many tv shows and a couple of movies TWICE, after my first ps3 gave out, then after I got my 2nd ps3, I "RE"–PURCHASED EVERYTHING again that I had lost, only to lose THEM 6 months later after a 2nd ylod.

Jawknee
Jawknee
12 years ago

Get Netflix. Don't buy movies and TV shows off PSN. it's a rip off for obvious reasons. Sony treats their movie section like Apple treats iTunes. You lose it your SOFL.

TheHighlander
TheHighlander
12 years ago

I believe that if you are stubborn with Sony's CS people on the phone and request that they deactivate your old system (they can look it up on your PSN ID) you should be able to get access to re-download your stuff. The key thing with the PS3 and any downloaded content is the activations. Video is really strict with only one activation. However if the PS3 you activate the content on is completely defunct, you should be able to get it deactivated.

Orvisman
Orvisman
12 years ago

You are off slightly.

You can redownload your PSN games as many times as you want on a maximum of five PS3s or five PSPs. This is the same for the 360 but only with one active 360 at a time. It's not that you can only redownload a game five times.

Vivi_Gamer
Vivi_Gamer
12 years ago

Maybe it's a region thing? Did'nt US televisions have lower resolution than the UK? either way there is no problem with DVD's and i doubt i will convert to Blu-ray for a long time, like i said by the time i question it and they're cheap enough there will be a new format.

ne thing i have noticed in the DVD/Blu-ray industry is that with some releases of films you can't buy either formats, the film only comes in a pack which contains a copy of the film on DVD and Blu-ray (and some in digital download), what is the point in that, if i wanted a Blu-ray i wuld have no need for a DVD at all. it just makes films more expensive.

Jawknee
Jawknee
12 years ago

It's so stupid to proclaim physical media is dead. People said CD's were dead as soon as Mp3's hit the net. I still buy CD's and I'll still buy physical games. Some of the small CD shops I used to buy from are still around and are rather healthy even after the iPod and iTunes. PSN and LIVE won't kill Bluray.

Bluray killing DVD…we'll that's another story.

fluffer nutter
fluffer nutter
12 years ago

People are stupid for buying mp3s, wmas, and any other lossy format.

Jawknee
Jawknee
12 years ago

Seriously. Especially from iTunes as Apple forces you to buy them all again if your HDD crashes. I find it better to buy the CD and rip it into iTunes for iPod use. CD's are so cheap nowadays too. Lost like 7 of my Bad Religion CD's(among others)when moving from Cali back to Denver. Replaced them all off Amazon for $60. Less ten $10 a CD.

tes37
tes37
12 years ago

My mac's hdd crashed and while I'm sure I could take the laptop apart, I'm not so sure I could put it back together. So I bought a netbook and emailed Apple asking them to grant me access to the mp3's again. They agreed and were extremely polite about it.

Mp3's sound amazing on my Sony 7.1 surround system. The clarity is awesome and I'm hearing certain sounds in the music that I've never heard before.