Survey: 64% prefer discs to digital

Sunday, 4th July 2010 17:53 GMT By Joe Anderson


A new report from Ipsos MediaCT says that 64 percent of those questioned prefered physical discs to digital copies.

The research firm surveyed 1,000 people and found that discs are still close to people hearts.

“I believe the preference for physical discs amongst next-gen gamers reflects the potential value they derive from the pre-owned market, which is holding up the preference for physical – this is unlike the music and film markets,” said Ipsos MediaCT director Ian Bramley.

“Physical games discs have a long and well-established history, which is a deep mindset to change – particularly when gamers build a physical collection as they fear losing digital versions. In-store browsing is also important to buyers.”

Publishers do seem to understand this and have recently been trying new options to make money from the online space, while encouraging users to buy games from new. EA’s online pass is the perfect example of this.

Sony also recently said in an interview with VG247 that it underestimated users attachment to the physical product, adding it may be some time before discs disappear altogether.

Thanks, MCV.



  1. onlineatron

    Am I the only one who’s seen this over the weekend and though that this indicates trouble in the want for physical media rather than a boon for it?

    I’m sure last year the figures would have been at least 10% more in the direction of the physical format.

    I can see digital increasing in popularity to the point where most want to consume all media that way; within the next few years.

    #1 5 years ago
  2. Madlink

    I’d really like to see the consoles get better digital delivery systems for their games, something similar to Steam on PC/Mac. I wouldn’t like to see the physical disc disappear altogether though, as there are certain games I would like to buy collectors/limited runs of.

    But for the majority, if they were released digitally on the games day of release, I’d happily pick them up that way. The Games on Demand section on Xbox Live has a fair number of titles now, they just need to get them up on the service quicker.

    #2 5 years ago
  3. _LarZen_

    Humans like to own stuff, to have something to hold and show others.

    Been like this since we could pick up a rock and hit a rival in the head. And it wil be like this long after most of us here is magot food.

    #3 5 years ago
  4. Phoenixblight


    True they do have titles but the prices are way to high especially if I can go to places like Gamestop and get for 1/4th the price.

    If they would go the route of Steam and have constant deals and benefits sure it would be a lot better but at the moment Games on Demand on consoles is a waste.

    #4 5 years ago
  5. Pyrix

    I would probably still opt for discs because pure digital would see the end of the second hand game market (from which I buy some games), rental services (from which I get almost all my games, although I suppose digital rental could exist but it won’t be unlimited like many online ones) and lending/borrowing games to and from friends.

    Also, can you imagine the serverload to the digital download servers when a big release comes out like Call of Duty? It’s bad enough for DLC and with digital download of a whole game it would be even worse.

    #5 5 years ago
  6. Syrok

    “Humans like to own stuff, to have something to hold and show others.

    Been like this since we could pick up a rock and hit a rival in the head”

    On the other hand humans have only been able to sell and own non-tangible products for 20 years or so. It’s just another thing to get used to.

    #6 5 years ago
  7. Khanivor

    Or 36% of people prefer digital distribution to physical media. That’s the more important number, imo.

    #7 5 years ago
  8. johnnywashngo

    I love to have my games stored digitally – as long as they are delivered on a shiny disc ;)

    Seriously, my crappy phone exchange and my illogical love for collecting things means that digitally distributed games will never work for me. I like boxes, discs, manuals and all the other crap that comes with buying a boxed game.

    I have the same issue with buying digital audio or ebooks – I don’t like paying for something that is so ephemeral that I have no way of touching it. Bits and bytes can be lost much more easily than paper and plastic.

    That being said, I do find the unnatural obsession with physical media to be a detriment to our planet. Given that I recycle over 75% of my waste these days, I should really start to look at digital distribution as the way forward in terms of having less environmental impact.

    #8 5 years ago
  9. itwa5medicks

    The biggest thing is download restrictions, I have a crappy wifi router and as a result my ps3 gets a really weak signal. That means HD movies can take 1-2 days when it only takes a couple hours normally. I HATE when I buy a new game…..just to wait 1-2 hours for the game to download new firmware…THAT SUCKS DICK!

    Not to mention that I actually want something to show for my purchase, I want my media physical, the only way I wouldnt is if they started selling digital copies for at least half off.

    #9 5 years ago
  10. Sleazy Bastard

    @3 So that’s why the majority of people “own” illegal software/media downloaded through the internet…

    Don’t fool yourself, if the prices for digital purchases decrease (which is logical due to less components, although Microsoft and Games On Demand like to disagree), there will be a point in the near future where boxes and cds will be a thing for the collectors and not for the masses.

    #10 5 years ago
  11. abbe

    I went over to ‘Steam only’ about 2 years ago, a bit more expensive if you buy them brand new, but the service itself most times beat the various downsides. :)
    (And yes, I do use sites like G2play to buy cheaper cdkeys if its connected to Steam.)

    I haven’t bought many physical goods over these two years, I think Bioshock was the last non-mmo game I bought on a disc, but I got it on Steam after that anyway…

    I’m really just waiting for Valve to start selling music/movies on a sister service to Steam, or hell, in Steam itself.

    #11 5 years ago
  12. DrDamn

    Price, price, price, price, price. Sort out online pricing to reflect the cheaper cost to the publisher and lower value to the consumer and watch it sky rocket.

    #12 5 years ago
  13. Patrick Garratt

    @12 – Amen.

    #13 5 years ago
  14. SwiftRanger

    Only buying physical stuff because I don’t have a CC, don’t have unlimited bandwidth and just like a good box a lot more. DD is heavily overrated, especially in the PC space, I wouldn’t mind if people started to take a realistic stance to it: it’s far from perfect, it’s an option and it shouldn’t be the only standard way to buy a game. It “might” make the small indie developers more money but that’s all there’s to it.

    “Also, can you imagine the serverload to the digital download servers when a big release comes out like Call of Duty? It’s bad enough for DLC and with digital download of a whole game it would be even worse.”

    Practically every high-profile Steamworks PC game of the last two years suffered from massive launch day (and several days afterwards) issues which had an effect on the whole service. A day 0 patch is so tempting but oh so inconvenient for every Steam user who wants to play his game without problems on the day of release.

    #14 5 years ago
  15. Happy Hardon Harry

    These surveys are complete and utter bullshit. I don’t think a 1000 people speak for all of us…

    #15 5 years ago

    I’d much rather have all of my games in digital format.

    I don’t need a waste of paper instruction manual that I’ll never read, sitting in a dust collecting box on the shelf to feel like I’m enjoying a game.

    When I’m playing a game and the disc is whirring away noisily, all I usually hold is the controller.

    Right now, even though I have over 60 games for my 360, the only game box that I have is for BFBC2, because I binned all the other ones when I moved house. I don’t need the boxes because I don’t usually trade games in, so they’re just a waste of space.

    #16 5 years ago
  17. drewbles82

    id rather stick with discs, being able to trade them in esp in this recession helps u get newer games, plus u can swap with mates etc. plus if sumthing were to eva go majorly wrong and you loose your account and harddrive screws up, then you could loose every single digital download. Not every1 has super fast broadband and not every1 wants to hook up their xboxs etc to the net, so how do they get new games if it became all digital.

    #17 5 years ago

    It’s pretty simple. You have an account that links to one HD and you can DL stuff that you’ve paid for as many times as you need to.

    If the HD breaks or you want to upgrade to a bigger one, then you transfer the licences to another HD and DL again, just as already happens with the 360.

    Don’t have an internet setup capable of DL’ing 3-4 games a month? Take your HD to a game store and do it there.

    The only plus that I see with hard copies is trading them in, but I don’t really do that, as the last game that I traded in was FFVII on PS1 over 10 years ago…

    #18 5 years ago
  19. Dralen

    Well it sure as hell isn’t going to be download only this console generation. It’s just wouldn’t work. Xbox and Playstation are both limited by the hard drive capacity, (although playstation 3 owners can upgrade their hard drives to whatever they want) and playstation are obviously going carry on pushing bluray. PC is the only platform capable of doing it at the moment. So the question is; will Microsoft risk going all downloadable games next generation?

    #19 5 years ago
  20. Crysis

    i’d love to see all the classics available digitally & the new ones being co-released digitally & on disk formats

    #20 5 years ago
  21. Redh3lix

    I love how people moan like hell about inflated review scores and yet when magazine/websites such as Edge give a game 7/10 they all go absolutely apeshit. :D

    #21 5 years ago
  22. sickpuppysoftware

    I prefer discs as I sometimes like to dust off old consoles and have a play. If you think your digital purchases are going to still work 10-15 years down the line you may be on for a shock.

    #22 5 years ago
  23. woodyrulesok

    Given the option, I’d buy a disc 100% of the time.
    But then I buy more vinyl than I download mp3′s so maybe it’s just me.

    #23 5 years ago
  24. freedoms_stain

    @14, Steam allow users to preload games prior to release day to minimise that sort of thing.

    I think the main thing holding back Digital Downloads as a really mainstream way of consuming games is the lack of quality infrastructure. In the UK most of us are sub 2MB, that’s a pretty slow way to get a 3-4GB game if I can jump on the train to Glasgow and be back with a physical copy before the download has reached 25%.

    #24 5 years ago
  25. bugmenot

    for me the the ability to own physical media and download them to onboard storage(to avoid swapping/carrying) gives you the best of both worlds. which is why i’m looking forward to the 3ds implementation.

    #25 5 years ago
  26. Blerk

    I kind of like both. Smaller games I’m happy with a digital download. Anything more than a couple of gigs, I’d like it on a disc, please.

    #26 5 years ago

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