Physical Media Accounts for Up To 90% of Game Sales

It’s become popular to predict the demise of physical media in the games industry, especially with the rise of download services like Steam and Impulse. If you know someone who likes to make that prediction, here’s a little evidence to refute that claim.

The Entertainment Merchants Association (EMA) has released a report stating that 80 to 90 percent of games purchased in 2009 were on physical media. This data seems to indicate that gamers continue to prefer disc-based software over its digital counterpart.

This isn’t a surprise to me, as I’ve been saying for a long time that the so-called ‘digital takeover’ of the gaming market would be a long time coming. There are two big reasons for this.

First, consoles still require physical media for most games, and consoles are currently dominating the marketplace.

Second, gamers still like to hold their games in their hands. Digital copies don’t offer that tactile feedback of holding the newest releases on launch day.

All of this of course ties into the fact that there are more gamers, and gamers playing more. Still, even with all these new gamers, who may take more easily to digital distribution, physical media is still the king of the hill.

Check back in about ten years and see where we are. It might be 50/50 by then.

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