The end of the disk: Game DVDs giving way to digital downloads ?

Siddharth Mathew Cherian June 10 | Updated on June 12, 2019 Published on June 10, 2019

Faster internet speeds are starting to allow games to be played remotely, which is a threat to PlayStation   -  istockphoto

We look at a trend in the gaming industry

Ahead of E3 (Electronic Entertainment Expo) 2019, the world’s premier event for computer and video games and related products, BusinessLine looks at a trend in the gaming industry.

The event is taking place between June 11 –13 in Los Angeles.

A decade ago, the major questions about personal computer (PC) and console games were:

1.  How much would the CD/DVD cost?

2. Where could you get the pirated version?

Now, this has become a figment of the past. Digital game downloads have been made possible through gaming clients like Steam, UPlay, Origin, etc.

Sony’s recent decision to discontinue digital game sales in brick and mortar stores in the United States America (USA) indicates that in the long run, most companies are looking at digital marketplaces- and app store-only sales. It is also rumoured that next-generation consoles might not have optical drives for game disks.

A search on for 'games digital code' will present about 51 results for 'PC games digital code' and 83 results for video game digital code. Interestingly, two out of every five products in the PC games best-sellers category have a digital download code.

This means that there is an increase in the number of people opting to download the entire game from steam or a prospective game client. The gamers buy the activation codes and update the games for bug fixes.

Ajay, a college student who plays first person shooters and adventure games, states that he prefers to buy most games from origin and steam. "On an average, I spend around Rs 1500 per month. I prefer to play most games as they are, i.e., without buying any season passes, mods or abilities,” he added.

The emergence of high-speed broadband connections with above average speeds and reasonable monthly broadband data packs has enabled users to download games from online game stores of many game publishers like Ubisoft, EA and more through their gaming clients.

According to a hard-core gamer like Ashwin K, digital platforms like steam and the PS4 store have been a blessing. "Gaming through digital downloads and store purchases has allowed users to choose the medium in which they would like to access the games,” he said.

“On the other hand, there are also deals on Steam and PS4 which makes it easier to get one game on one platform or the other at a better price,” he added.

Also, there are various subscription models which give users early access to many ‘yet-to-be-released’ games. They also give them a few added incentives in the form of DLC’s, in-game currency and pre-launch merchandise, and more. Thereby, making it beneficial for those buy games or subscriptions online.

Microsoft also announced their next-gen console — Project Scarlett ahead of the E3. This next-gen console is touted to be four times more powerful than the Xbox One X console, gameplay at 120 FPS, Solid State Drive and powered by an AMD chip, which is set to be released in 2020.


On June 10, ahead of the main events at E3, Microsoft said they were likely to continue with optical drive in ‘Project Scarlett’ to allow users to use movie and Blu-ray disks. It is could be noted that Microsoft recently started selling an Xbox one S. All digital versions, besides the regular console, shows the potential for an all-digital gaming eco-system in the future.

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Published on June 10, 2019
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