Is physical video gaming really slowly dying? If we ask the question to the major players in the market, their answer will undoubtedly be towards yes, who take great pride in announcing to us that a major portion of their income comes from immaterial technology. Although one may wonder if they are not the ones who do the main blows to our beloved discs and game cartridges. Because today, although the share of digital in the business of publishers and manufacturers is increasing, physical games have never been so much on offer.
However, we’ve never been so dependent on the dematerialized, despite the plethora of boxed versions. latest example, Star Wars Jedi: Survivor which requires a mandatory download of several tens of gigs, and again, that’s not counting day one patches, which are required to benefit from a minimum acceptable experience. Once the game servers are shut down, the game disc will become unusable in a few years. And what about game boxes that only contain a download code, as will be the case with LEGO 2K Drive on May 19th. Absurd, isn’t it? Fortunately, these practices are still relatively marginal, but the trend is not particularly encouraging.
Along with these questionable practices, new structures have also sprung up that are being praised physical sports and, for some, making sure they have all available updates on their disc or cartridge. Among the most famous are EastAsiaSoft (distributed by Play Asia) in Asia, Special Reserve Games or Limited Run Games in the United States. Indicative of the sector’s good shape, a European branch of the latter (recently acquired by Embracer Group) should see the light of day soon, allowing the company to expand even further with European clients that support their port and import operations. Will see (sometimes startlingly) reduced significantly.
Moreover, you do not even need to go to the other end of the world to find other publishers who are very active on this physical sports, In our area alone, three of them are also offering good disc and cartridge offers for titles that are typically smaller than the double or triple A (even quadruple A now) that we see on our store shelves. But accustomed to find. It is in fact under the banner of Pix’n Love, Red Art Games or Just For Games that a large proportion of the independent games that appear on current consoles are now released.
The last mentioned also has very good ratings in the eyes of studios and the public as we find more and more important titles in its catalog. It is really to Just For Games that we owe the physical versions of Kena: Bridge of Spirits or Stray. The Red Art Games teams, on the other hand, do not have such a flamboyant catalog, but rather specialize in titles that have passed under the radar of most players, for example the physical version of the very enjoyable Metroidvania Record of Lodoss War: In Wonder Labyrinth. Deadlit.
On Pix n’ Love’s side, this should be seen as an extension of their activity in publishing books based around video games. Taking advantage of its privileged relationships with various renowned studios, the publisher creates its own collectors’ editions, highlights its works with a new video game release, and why not even be signed by the title’s creator. . Each of these players traverses the video game market in France in a very complementary way.
With so many new companies interested in publishing physical games in small or large quantities, one has to wonder whether the total dematerialization of video games is really that high on the agenda., Or isn’t this the last gasp of an animal in the process of being beaten up by an Xbox and a PlayStation, which engage in these beatings in front of an audience, one of GaaS (games as a service, to which content is heavily added) Too busy to dabble under torrent (regularly) and free-to-play (and especially mobile games, of which there are so many these days)?
Some like to compare the all-digital trend in video games to trajectories experienced by the music or cinema markets. And it’s true that, driven by subscriptions like Game Pass or PlayStation Plus, the consumer habits of the general public are changing. However, even today, it is very easily possible to buy CDs or BluRays. Even vinyl, which had almost disappeared for years, has been making an effective comeback for several months now. So why wouldn’t it be the same for physical games?