Walmart is reportedly going to stop carrying physical games for select platforms next year. Over the last decade or so, we have seen a major rise in digital content. You can get all of your games on day one digitally and even download them before they come out, movies are available to buy on digital before they are physical, and of course, streaming has made it so people always have a big library at their finger tips without having to actually own anything. This has made physical media fall out of favor with the public, but there is still a vocal group of people fighting to make sure it has a chance to stick around. Unfortunately, it seems it may be on its very last legs.
This year, Target got rid of all of its physical movies across various stores. Best Buy also announced plans to stop selling movies next year, but both retailers plan to keep video games for the foreseeable future. Unfortunately, one retailer won't be sticking with video games according to a new rumor. Limited Run Games CEO Josh Fairhurst took to Twitter to state that Walmart is getting rid of physical Xbox games next year and expects more cuts will happen deeper in 2024. It's unclear why Xbox is being singled out by Walmart, though it may have to do with the Xbox Series S being a digital-only console and therefore a portion of Xbox games aren't even able to be bought physically now. Nevertheless, it's likely the rest will continue to also be removed from stores in the future.
I would expect to see this trend continue in 2024. I've heard rumblings that Wal-Mart is dropping physical Xbox games soon, and I have to imagine further cuts to physical gaming sections will be made as we get deeper into next year. https://t.co/iKIEaDEGmf— Josh Fairhurst (@LimitedRunJosh) October 12, 2023
PlayStation just announced its slimmer PlayStation 5 which will continues to double down on having a digital-only SKU. You can still get one with a disc drive and you can even buy an attachable disc drive for the digital-only one, but it seems likely things will continue to lean more towards digital gaming going forward. Nintendo is expected to have a new console in the next year or two, but we have no idea what the support for physical games on it will be.
The Future of Gaming
Video games have embraced a digital future for quite a while and it likely will not stop at just being able to download games. Major companies like Microsoft are investing heavily into cloud gaming, allowing you to stream your games to your device and not even have to download them. You can already do this with select Xbox games right now and while it's not perfect, it's clearly something that will only get better with time. It was even something that caused concern among regulators with the Microsoft/Activision acquisition, resulting in Microsoft having to give Ubisoft the cloud streaming rights for Call of Duty as to avoid any concerns of a cloud gaming monopoly.1comments