I can remember when I was about 9 years old and my father and my mother brought me to the supermarket and bought some video games for me and for my brother, sometimes when my brother or I had birthday my grandpa was also with us, and we were looking for good and enjoyable games, I suppose this was the way how most of us bought games back then: we went to the store and picked them up. Nowadays most of us are buying games digitally on Steam, on Amazon, on Origin or at other online stores and outlets. CDs, DVDs and Blu-Rays aren’t really dominating the PC gaming market anymore, while the consoles are also getting more digital in terms of games.
After activating a boxed game on your Steam, Origin or UPlay account you won’t even need the disk anymore and you can’t do much with it. If you are buying games for Xbox One or Playstation 4 you cannot even activate the boxed game on your account (it’s unlike Steam, UPlay or Origin), so you must have the Blu-Ray disk with you when you want to play with the game.
I can still appreciate a game with a nice case, a special edition or a steelbox, but my stomach can’t stand a $3 DVD inside a 20 cent case anymore.
Looking back to the old days, it’s so much more comfortable, because you get the latest updates automatically downloaded, so you are playing with the latest version of the game every time you launch the games. You also get notifications about the latest expansion packs, DLCs and other types of new content released for your favorite games. The online shops and vendors are offering the latest games at lower prices than most of the game shops and because of that, you can potentially save money or buy more games and content for your money.
CD key shops buy the products digitally or some of those shops orders boxed versions. First they take photos of the product keys, and then they dump the cases and disks, so there was completely no point in manufacturing those.
After you have typed in the product key most likely all of the 7 DVDs will only be used to collect dust on your shelf.
One could argue about even selling the normal edition of video games for PC physically, because other than for visual enjoyment – if you look at your shelves – there isn’t too much point in that anymore.
Here is a video, where you can see a GameStop dumpster with at least 3 dozen of DVDs and other stuff.
To be hones and complete GameStop had an official response on this video and they claimed that they do donate to charities and other organizations and they only destroy broken products. The latter is highly questionable, like why would you go out there and shoot the dead soldiers in the head or how can be this much DVDs broken?
There are other, maybe better, but as of now, more expensive options out there to deliver games physically to potential customers.
I think in the mid/long run we will see a reduce in the usage of DVDs and Blu-Rays, maybe there can be some place for physically-sold games, maybe even more place than it has at the moment if publishers use newer technologies, but the biggest factor will be the price tag given by retailers and the shops.