PRICES for PlayStation, Xbox and Nintendo Switch games could rise dramatically if these predictions from gaming publishers and analysts are to be believed.
Physical video game discs will be extinct within 12 years, according to Electronic Arts.
And if as predicted video game sales move to 100% digital then gamers could see a sharp increase in prices.
Not just as consoles require larger hard drives/memory cards to store all those games, but equally, because of the steep prices associated with digital games compared to boxed versions in the shops.
But this week, bosses at EA, unquestionably the world’s biggest third party developer – behind hits like Battlefield, FIFA and Star Wars Battlefront – have predicted that we will continue to see a 5% shift away from discs to digital downloads each year.
That means that by 2030 everyone in the world would have gone digital and high street stores like GAME might no longer be selling actual game discs.
EA’s chief financial officer Blake Jorgensen made the claims as he talked about the growing number of gamers directly downloading titles to the Xbox One, Nintendo Switch and PlayStation 4 consoles.
He said that the industry is close to 40% for digital full game sales.
And he added: “I think at a minimum we should see five points of increase each year and hopefully it’s greater than that.
“We don’t see a cap anytime soon because we know more-and-more players are realising it’s a more convenient, easy and engaging way to play.”
Across the EA portfolio, on both PlayStation 4 and Xbox One, 37% of its full-game sales were digital over the last 12 months.
That’s up from 32% last year.
On specific titles, Star Wars Battlefront 2 was 28% digital up 12 points from its predecessor two years ago.
“We skew a little lower due to the global nature of FIFA and then also battlefront 2 … primarily due to the gift giving and a younger audience base,” he said.
And it doesn’t sound good for the high street in coming years.
“Many players have been already buying extra content and thus have digital purchases as part of their overall game play,” said Jorgensen.
“And we believe the consumer will ultimately default towards convenience however that might be, it might be they still have store around the corner from him, or it might be that he doesn’t and it’s easy for them to buy digitally.
“But you’ll see us continue to do things to try to encourage people to buy digitally and we think that’s still major key as part of the future business.”
Recent stats, bizarrely, found physical game sales are growing despite a huge push by the industry to ‘go digital’.
Some computer fans fed-up with extremely long downloads are opting to go back to buying disc copies of hit titles in the shops.
Big blockbusters like Assassin’s Creed Unity, Wolfenstein 2 and Super Mario Odyessy have been flying off the shelves in greater numbers than likewise games at the same time last year.
Major titles on the likes of PlayStation 4 and Xbox One regularly come in at hefty files sizes beyond 30-40GB.
And some gamers have to wait hours if not days to download much-anticipated titles.
That, in part, is why some are returning to buying speedier-to-load physical discs of games rather than download direct online.
Data from Kantar Worldpanel found that in the three months ending last September UK physical entertainment spend was up 2.2% across ‘all sectors’ including the likes of CDs and DVDs.
But video games saw the strongest growth – a whopping 26%.
That offset decline of 5.4 percent and 4.8 percent in music and video respectively.