the death of physical games? Phil Spencer has decided!

Will it soon be impossible to buy Xbox games, in stores and on the Internet, in boxed versions? It looks complicated, but the boss of the Microsoft gaming branch gives the beginning of an answer.

For several years now, digital has been trying to supplant the physical format in video games. Even elsewhere. And despite incomparable progress with that of the PS3 and 360 generation for example, the hard disks have not said their last word. However, one manufacturer seems more inclined to initiate a clear shift at this level, and that is Xbox. The brand is already banking heavily on its Xbox Game Pass to try to outperform PlayStation and Nintendo in this area, and this may only be the beginning.

The end of physical games on Xbox?

Microsoft’s desire to push its Xbox Game Pass more than ever goes in the direction of abandoning physical progression, but we’re not there yet. The service has increased its subscriber base, certainly, but is struggling to completely explode. Growth to the point of being a profitability model capable, possibly, of getting rid of the “old world” and the boxes in the short or medium term is not enough. But if this subject comes back on the table and specifically at Microsoft, it is because of the mass layoffs at Xbox and Activision Blizzard.

Among the 1,900 jobs lost, the team in charge of physical editions was particularly affected. A worrying sign. Then in September 2023, there was this leak of the Xbox Series X Brooklin, a version without an optical drive like the PS5 Digital Editions. Goodbye physical games for the Redmond firm? “We support the physical format, but we don’t need to expand this beyond customer demand. Disproportionately » said Xbox boss Phil Spencer (via Game File). Reassuring? The rest of the statements still sow doubt and we still see a great opening.

Our job at Xbox is to deliver the things that the majority of customers want. And right now, that majority buys games digitally. Gaming consoles are sort of the last consumer devices with a disc drive. This is a real problem just in terms of the number of manufacturers building the drives and the associated costs. And since there are fewer suppliers and fewer customers, the cost of the reader has an impact. But I would say that our strategy is not based on the transition to everything dematerialized. Getting rid of physical support is not strategic for us.

Via Game File.

Hi-Fi Rush in boxed version on PS5 and Series X|S

Phil Spencer therefore provided a bit of a Norman answer on the end of physical games. But on the one hand, it is difficult to see the company announcing point blank a total switch to digital. Hellblade 2, one of the most anticipated Xbox Series X|S exclusives, will not have a physical release. However, all may not be lost and the situation could improve thanks to external companies like Limited Run Games. A firm specializing in the publishing of games that are not yet distributed on a large scale, well known to collectors. But it comes at a cost and the bill can quickly mount up with extras like customs fees. Especially since after a change at the level of France and Europe, it is impossible not to have your wallet emptied.

If we cite Limited Run Games, rather than Special Reserve Games or Strictly Limited Games, it is for two reasons. It’s one of the most famous companies in this sector, but it’s also because Bethesda has just revealed a partnership for a physical version of Hi-Fi Rush on Xbox Series X|S and PS5. Without this initiative, there would obviously never have been a boxed edition of the game, even if only on Microsoft machines.

Source link -120