Will the physical video game be next?


R. Alonso




In technology everything is cyclical. The fact that a company has the right product at the perfect time does not ensure its long-term survival, it will be guaranteed. Over the years, and the arrival of new devices and solutions that improve what was before, it is normal for the user to say goodbye to those who previously filled their leisure hours. This is what happened with VHS and ‘cassettes’ some two decades ago. Y This is what is happening now, in this 2022 pandemic, with DVDs, CDs and portable players. At least, according to what the National Institute of Statistics (INE) throws in the first CPI of this year.

As usual, this report includes those products that have a regular place in the shopping basket of citizens.

The departure of the old disks and players from the list is now not surprising, at least if we take into account how the consumption of technologies called to replace them has skyrocketed. Especially in times of pandemic.

If something more than 20 years ago the DVD began to replace the videotape on the shelves of homes. Shortly after, the format received competition with the arrival of Blu-ray; although, today, in times of ‘streaming’, using one or the other almost sounds like an anachronism. More typical of users with a collector profile than the type, more interested, as a general rule, in having a wide range of titles at their disposal than in filling the house with records and covers.

In this way, if in 2005 the DVD reached its billing peak, with more than 13,000 million euros in revenue, according to data from Nash Information Services collected by ‘CNBC’, in 2018 the figure plummeted to 1.8 billion. The drop since 2007, the year in which Blu-ray began to be more present, has been constant, and in recent years it has also been greatly affected by the rise of streaming, led by Netflix, HBO, Disney or Amazon, among many other companies. In Spain alone, the first platform has 59.9% of the population ‘hooked’, according to a recent study by Barlovento Comunicación.

If the DVD draws less and less attention from the user, the Compact Disc -or CD- has been suffering the same fate for some time. It still doesn’t go away though. According to data from Promusicae, the association of music producers, music in physical format in Spain, which also includes vinyl, suffered a drop in revenue of 24.5% in 2020, which reduced its market to 55 million euros.

Meanwhile, the user has a large number of platforms available to listen to the music they like, and that go beyond the radio. From Spotify and YouTube to downloading from applications and web pages.

Will the physical video game be next?

If music and cinema in physical format increasingly have to settle for a smaller gap in the market, the video game of all life, the one that comes on disc, could suffer the same fate in the medium term. According to the latest report on the state of the sector in our country, shared a few months ago by the Spanish Video Game Association (Aevi), the physical format, after years at the forefront, was finally surpassed in billing by digital in 2020. Specifically, the first one stayed at 790 million euros, while the second reached 957.

If the user consumes more and more video games in digital formats, downloaded from the stores of the consoles that they have next to the television, it is, to a large extent, because manufacturers bet very strongly on this solution. This is demonstrated, for example, by the enormous interest that Microsoft has in promoting its subscription video game service, Game Pass. The company recently spent more than 60,000 million euros on the purchase of Activision, owner of sagas such as Call of Duty, with the main objective of promoting the platform with more proposals.

The company, in addition, assaulted the new generation of consoles with the launch of an Xbox console that does not have a disc player. He only reads digital video games. Exactly the same thing PlayStation did with its PS5.

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