Alan Wake 2 and the death of disc video games – Ars Technica

Lanzar <em></img>alan wake 2</em> on previously shredded discs it would probably just add insult to injury, wouldn’t it?” width=”800″ height=”661″ class=”amp-wp-enforced-sizes” decoding=”async”/><figcaption class=
Enlarge / Releasing alan stele 2 on previously shredded records would probably just add insult to injury, right?

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Anyone who pays attention to the video game industry knows that the segment of gamers who buy games on physical discs is dwindling. less important as physical releases become more and more specific. Still, even in recent years, big-budget console games from major studios can usually be counted on to receive at least a shallow disc release to fill GameStop’s dwindling shelves.

So it was a bit surprising that yesterday’s release date announcement for alan stele 2 came along with the news that developer Remedy Entertainment and publisher Epic Games currently “have no plans to release alan stele 2 on disk,” as they put it in a new FAQ. However, when you look a little deeper, what might be more surprising is that there has been no further major console publishers willing to give up discs entirely.

The rainbow of their reasons

He alan stele 2 The FAQ notes, correctly, that “it’s not uncommon to release modern games digitally only.” In fact, measured by title, the vast majority of console games are now not available on disc. Still, such discless releases are relatively rare when it comes to the major game types that dominate console charts.

Looking at the top 20 best-selling PlayStation titles listed on Sony’s official store page, for example, only two “discounted” titles released without a disc-based option appear: $30 PSVR port red matter 2 and $22 boomer shooter Warhammer 40K: Boltgun. If you limit that list to games that cost $60 or more, it becomes virtually impossible to find a PlayStation blockbuster that isn’t available as a disc and as a download.

Remedy and Epic actually cite pricing concerns as one of the reasons they wanted to avoid a disc-based release this time around. “Not releasing a disc helps keep the price of the game at $59.99 / €59.99 and the PC version at $49.99 / €49.99,” they write in the FAQ.

A look back at the time when disks ruled the earth.
Enlarge / A look back at the time when disks ruled the earth.

PC/console price discrepancies aside, it’s not a horrible point. While the game discs themselves are incredibly cheap to produce, overhead costs like packaging, shipping/distribution, and warehousing/retail space cut into the margins a developer can expect on a $60 game disc. That’s especially true since inflation and higher gas prices have contributed to more and more high-end games increasing their retail price to $70.

While publishers may decide to offer digital versions at a lower price than their physical counterparts, in practice most publishers keep prices constant across different distribution methods (despite the occasional digital clearance sale).

One of the strangest arguments that Remedy has against a record alan stele 2 However, the pitch is that the developers “didn’t want to ship a disc and download-required product for the game, we don’t think this is a great experience either.” This statement is dismissed as an aside, as if requiring a download to play a disc-based game is simply a law of the universe.

Sure, day one patches are an incredibly common way to fix last-minute bugs during the game development process these days. Still, most disc-based games ship in a form that is still at least interpretable using nothing but the data on that drive (with a few notable exceptions). Saying a download would be “required” for a theoretical drive alan stele 2 implies that Remedy is already anticipating that the day one release will be literally unplayable without said patch.

brave new world without records

Selling console games on disc seems less important when many consoles don't even have a disc drive.
Enlarge / Selling console games on disc seems less important when many consoles don’t even have a disc drive.


Other arguments aside, the main reason why Remedy doesn’t feel the need to release a disk-based version is actually relatively high up in the FAQ: “A lot of [players] have switched to digital only.”

That “great number” of players has been widely evident across the industry for a while. EA has been making most of its money from digital game sales for over a decade. destiny 2 was making the majority of its launch window sales from digital downloads in 2017. Capcom said in 2021 that 80 percent of its new game sales were digital downloads, while Sony’s fiscal 2020 results showed that most of the full PlayStation game sales would come. as digital downloads.

If anything, publishers’ physical game sales ratios have only declined since those numbers were released, as COVID shutdowns led to huge spikes in digital game sales. We have to imagine that GameStop’s brief shutdown of 2020 convinced at least some hesitant disc users to switch to downloads, at least temporarily.

But even as physical game sales become a smaller and smaller part of major publishers’ bottom lines, few, if any, have been willing to completely giving up on the dwindling segment of the console market that still prefers its games on disc. If you don’t have a disk alan stele 2 succeeds, it could be a tipping point that convinces other console game makers that it’s finally time to make a complete transition to the disc-less world that PC gamers have been a part of for years.

That would have serious implications for those who want to preserve their game libraries for years to come, not to mention those with limited internet access. But at this point, consumption patterns and business realities may make it inevitable.

Who knows, in a few years, the idea of ​​releasing even major console games on disc might seem as bizarre as Microsoft’s recent 10 DVD release. flight simulator on PC If that happens, alan stele 2 will be at least partially responsible for the final death knell of disc-based gaming.