David Braben of Elite: Dangerous sees physical games going away in two to three years

    
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Physical ships remain a hopeful future.

Attention, everyone who ordered a physical copy of a video game within the past year: David Braben is coming for your physical games with a hammer. Wait, that’s not quite right; Braben, CEO of Frontier Developments (the source of Elite: Dangerous), is just predicting that the shift from physical games over to digital ones has been greatly accelerated by the global pandemic, pointing to indicators like the surge in digital sales on current consoles.

Of course, Braben’s statements are part of a larger talk explaining how the game industry has proven to be very important during the aforementioned pandemic and has seen excellent sales during the past two months. And even he doesn’t say that physical games will cease to exist completely, hedging his bets by stating that the physical discs will “more or less” go away. It’s clear that he definitely sees the digital buying trend as the new normal, however, which is both understandable in the context of Elite: Dangerous and an interesting prospect for the next few years of games and distribution.

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ihatevnecks
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ihatevnecks

I guess he has some secret agreement with every global ISP to abolish data caps before that happens, then.

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Kickstarter Donor
Richard de Leon III

I’ll resist the extinction of physical media as long as i can even though i do buy more digital products than physical ones nowadays (not by choice usually). Im ready with a bag of popcorn when one day we will not be able to authenticate our licenses online due to some sort of disaster and people will riot over not being able to play their Elderscrolls 8 or something.

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Mr.McSleaz

As A PC-Only gamer, The last “Physical Copy” of A game I bought was the Original FFXIV in 2010.

Dependent_Knee
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Dependent_Knee

Now seems like a good time remind David Braben of the physical disc version of Elite Dangerous that he still hasn’t sent to his Kickstarter backers, five years after he took the money for it.

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Ironwu

I have not purchased, or even browsed, physical games for many, many years. Pretty sure that Skyrim back around 2012 was the last physical game I bought. That is when I started to buy games online via Steam and other venues.

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Bruno Brito

Man, i wish i was a known game developer. Must be nice to make news just by spouting the obvious.

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Hikari Kenzaki

You’re not wrong.

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Kickstarter Donor
Pandalulz

The next generation of consoles will still have an optical drive, so they’ll at least last a little longer. But I’ll be honest, when I bought my daughter her XBox One, I really had zero qualms buying her the cheaper digital only version. She’s really only using it for F2P and Gamepass games anyway.

Considering the new consoles are going to be reading everything from much faster solid state memory, the discs are going to be doing little more than an initial install and DRM check as is.

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Hikari Kenzaki

I don’t know that physical game sales will ever go away, but it will be more like vinyl records are now in the music industry. Limited release, high quality items for collectors and keepsakes.

Small publishers and indie devs take great pride in being able to hold a game they created in hand for the first time.

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Utakata

There’s an idea: Upload your games using vinyl records via a turntable. o.O

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Kickstarter Donor
thalendor

Bonus points for uploading it using a 2400 baud modem dial-up connection.

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Ironwu

Double Bonus Points for feeding to the modem using a cassette tape machine!

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Kickstarter Donor
thalendor

Oh man, I used one of those things back on my Commodore 64!

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Ironwu

Mine was on a TRS-80. :)

Learned Z-80 assembly coding on it (and MS Basic).