Recent data shows a strong decline in physical games sales. The number of digital downloads even exceeded the physical copies. Even with the next generation of consoles ready to be released later this year, there are still a few very good reasons why some gamers decide to choose physical games over digital downloads.

With the PlayStation 5 and Xbox Series X set for a release later this year, the future of physical games seems to be a certitude. Rumours confirm that both consoles will have a physical disk reader. This means gamers can decide to buy physical games or digital versions in the corresponding game marketplace.

Physical gamers are convenient

One of the main reasons why gamers decide to buy physical games is the desire to create a physical collection. The benefit of physical game boxes is the option to display them. This means you can always look back at the games you already have in your game collection.

There is also the price difference between digital downloads and physical games. For some unknown reason, digital downloads are often more expensive to purchase than physical games you purchase in a store. Most of the time, it costs less to buy a physical version of the game.

Technical limitations

The largest disadvantage of digital downloads is the time required for the average user to download the entire game. The limited download speeds are a common criticism of many gamers. This technical limitation also plagues the further development of cloud gaming.

When buying a physical game on a disc, you are required to install the games on the current generation of consoles. However, this is still many times faster than downloading a digital game. The downside is that console gamers who prefer physical discs have to place the correct game in the disk tray before they can launch the game.

Sell a game second-hand

Digital games are often seen as a service that can be purchased and is locked to your own personal account. Physical games on the other hand remain a good that can be traded without any limitations.

As mentioned before, a digital game is often linked to your personal account after the purchase in the digital marketplace. This can be considered as a limitation. The users never have the complete ownership of their digital copy of the game.

Lend or borrow a game from a friend

A physical game disc offers a few more benefits compared to the digital downloads. Gamers who own a physical copy of the game are able to lend the game to their friends. In high school, this was common practice.

Personal preference

In the end, the purchase of a physical game or a digital download comes down to personal preference. A physical games collection may take up too much space for some users. Others do not have a physical games store in their neighbourhood.

The next years, publishers have to see how the data evolves and whether or not the number physical games sold further declines. The next generation of consoles may the latest generation of devices to support physical discs.

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11 thoughts on “The reasons why some gamers still prefer physical games in a digital world | Opinion

  1. It’s hard to find knowledgeable people on this subject, but you sound like you know what you’re talking about! Many thanks.

  2. It’s nearly impossible to find educated people on this subject, but you seem like you know what you’re talking about! Thanks.

  3. My boys still love the feel of having a physical game in their hands. I think it makes them feel like they have more control, and they are more portable than taking your whole system to someone’s house. =) I prefer digital because they take up less shelf space. Personal preference is right!

  4. The feeling of not trully owning something when digital is such a massive hurdle for some and the lack of options for trading in too make physical quite desirable.

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