2021 Black Friday sale is here and we can find great deals everywhere, both in digital and physical games. This has made us wonder: why choose the physical format over digital?
It’s happening. In recent decades we have seen how the digital format for games has become increasingly popular compared to the classic physical format, especially when it comes to indie games. The reasons are varied, but it is a reality that we can see by comparing sales over the years, but it is also evident if we notice that the new generations of consoles have more and more internal storage space.
Before we find the reasons why to choose (and why many people still prefer physical games), let’s highlight precisely the opposite: why digital is becoming more and more popular.
It depends on the platform, the moment (punctual offers) and even the game itself, but digital games are cheaper than physical ones. This makes sense as we are saving production costs (the game box, manuals, the game cartridge or disc), and the price is usually one of the decisive reasons for the acquisition of any product.
It may seem silly, but it’s not. When games become your hobby, years go by and all the games you buy accumulate, taking up space in your home. Although sometimes we don’t realize how many games we have until we make a move or a change in the organization of the room where we usually play.
As we said before, console developers have realized this trend towards the digital format, and that is why the new generations have more storage space (and also because the “size” of the games has increased in general) to be able to store more digital games. One of the most obvious cases is currently the PlayStation 5 and its version without a disc reader.
This is something that appeals to many gamers, especially those who feel the real need to play a game from the first minute of its release. Digital pre-orders are often available to play before games are pre-ordered in physical stores, and sometimes even include exclusive content only for digital purchases.
About indie games
This is probably one of the most important points to keep in mind when talking about different game formats. The variety of development tools and the emergence of digital platforms for publishing (and self-publishing) and selling games has contributed a lot to the creation of more games by bringing this possibility to many more people. However, the creation or adaptation of an indie game to physical format is more complicated and expensive to do, so only a small percentage ends up having a cartridge or disc version and almost always after having performed very well in digital sales.
It seems that with only these 5 arguments nobody would buy physical games today, but the truth is that many gamers continue to do so. Why? That’s what we are going to discover and what this blog is really about.
Collecting continues to endure among gamers and has become a very powerful movement, especially when we talk about special editions or collectors. There are thousands of gamers whose goal is to have all the games of a particular console, saga or favorite developer. Moreover, collectors are particularly proud of their games, so they dedicate a special place at home to them as part of the decoration, which has given rise to truly impressive collections for their size and the original aesthetics with which they are organized.
This is closely linked to the affection that gamers have for games, without the need to want to collect all the games of a developer or platform, simply because they have had a good time with that game and they want to keep it as a souvenir.
Nostalgia is probably one of the biggest selling factors for games used in recent years, which is why so many remasters, remakes, and games with retro aesthetics have been released in recent decades. In addition, this drives above all the physical purchases because of the nostalgia of having the original cartridge and box of that game from your childhood with which you spent so many good hours.
You only have to wait for Christmas to see all the physical video game stores packed from end to end. Video games are one of the star gifts nowadays and, as a general rule, adults usually prefer to give a physical game even if there is a slightly cheaper digital version. Besides, it’s always more exciting to find a gift under the Christmas tree than a notification in your Steam library.
Just as we mentioned in the previous list about why the digital format is gaining ground, many gamers have seen an opportunity in physical games to not take up so much space and recover part of the investment. Many physical stores offer a service to buy games so they can sell them second hand to other gamers, so the former can recover part of the money from the purchase of the new game, which in the end gives the feeling of “having bought it cheaper” in the first instance.
At Abylight Studios, as publishers, we opt for initial digital publishing when working with indie games, as it allows us to cover a much wider territory (basically, worldwide) and bring our projects to many more players.
However, it’s also true that we are nostalgic and the illusion of being able to see in physical some of our works has always been there, which motivated the creation of our own digital store, Abylight Shop, and the creation of Cursed Castilla Collector’s Edition for Nintendo Switch and Hyper Light Drifter – Special Edition Collector’s Set for Nintendo Switch.
Both editions are of limited production and can be purchased in our store, as well as with a special discount coupon on the occasion of video games on Black Friday and Cyber Monday – check our socials from November 26!