Coronavirus Could Kill Physical Media – and That’s a Good Thing

  • The Coronavirus Pandemic is shutting down stores all across the world, having a negative impact on physical game sales.
  • With these sales already on the decline each year, it seems likely that this pandemic could be devastating for physical formats.
  • By the time this pandemic is over physical gaming could be almost completely extinct.

The coronavirus pandemic is having far-reaching consequences. The severity of these consequences will likely not be clear until after the pandemic is over. A large part of the effect has been on how retail works. With so many stores closed, and postal services at breaking point, physical media is really hard to get your hands on.

With access becoming more and more difficult, it seems likely that the sale of physical copies will fall dramatically. Many people are being forced, or persuaded, to purchase digital copies to ensure they actually get them. Physical copies are declining year-on-year, and this pandemic might be the death blow.

Even by 2015, the signs that physical games were dying were there. Now coronavirus might just kill it entirely. | Source: Game Industry.Biz

Coronavirus Could Be the Final Nail in Physical Gaming’s Coffin

At the start of the year, physical sales had dropped considerably. In the UK the drop has been around 27% or around 17.6 million fewer copies sold. By 2017 alone the US physical game industry only accounted for around a quarter of all game sales.

It’s pretty easy to see that physical gaming is on it’s way out. Since coronavirus has made physical games even less convenient, it’s likely that they might just stop altogether. Especially with most of the stores that support physical copies closing down.

Not that die-hard hard-copy fans need to panic. Even if coronavirus does do damage physical copies, it’s likely that a niche market will still exist. Companies like Limited Run will almost always be around. Plus, it’s likely that expensive ‘special editions’ will still stick around.


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