Image: Sony

Despite the convenience and instant gratification of digital purchases, the amount of PlayStation 5 users who prefer physical releases outweighs those who prefer digital downloads. That’s according to data shared by Global Sales Data (GSD), which reveal that physical PS5 titles have consistently outsold their digital counterparts every month following the PS5’s initial debut in November 2020. That was the only month in which digital (950,000) sales managed to outrank physical (840,000).

Image: GSD

From GamesIndustry.biz’s coverage:

The company found that retail has consistently outsold digital, with 51% more boxed games sold than downloads by the end of August.

November 2020 was the only month where full-game downloads have outperformed retail sales at 950,000 units compared to 840,000. After this, PS5’s retail games have consistently outsold digital every month.

And the gap has widened over time. In December 2020, five retail games were sold for every four downloads. By the end of August, this had increased to three boxed games for ever two digital.

In total, 10.14 million boxed games were sold for PS5 between launch and end of August. December, January, June, July and August all saw more than one million games sold within the month.

Meanwhile, 7.51 million digital games were sold during the same period — and no single month saw more than one million sales.

Video games consultant Sam Naji speculates that PS5 gamers prefer a physical product due to the relatively high cost of premium titles, which are priced at $69.99. Another reason that physical games continue to be desirable is that they can be lent or sold.

Source: Global Sales Data (via GamesIndustry.biz)

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15 Comments

  1. I wonder what that says about PS5 owners.

    Are they older than other platforms, and prefer things the way they used to be?

    Are they younger than other platforms, and have games bought for them by parents/grandparents in physical form?

    Something else?

  2. [QUOTE=”Zarathustra, post: 44042, member: 203″]
    I wonder what that says about PS5 owners.

    Are they older than other platforms, and prefer things the way they used to be?

    Are they younger than other platforms, and have games bought for them by parents/grandparents in physical form?

    Something else?
    [/QUOTE]
    You won’t buy a digital code for christmas for a kid, you buy a physical game that you can wrap up.

    Also, physical games can be resold, digital ones are tied to your account and have zero value as soon as you activated them.

  3. I consider myself old, and honestly don’t have a preference. I just wish they had a better selection of games for my PS5.

  4. I don’t know why, but when it comes to console games, I still really prefer having physical copies. I also prefer for my friends to have physical copies, cuz then they can let me borrow games. Although during 8th-gen this was less of an issue, cuz friends would just let me borrow entire systems.

  5. I’m probably in the minority here, but I prefer digital.

    I don’t have to get up to change the disc as some form of physical DRM, and I don’t have to worry about the disc getting damaged and not working. And my wife appreciates not having a shelf full of game boxes. And it’s nice being able to just click “Buy”, and then being able to play as soon as the download completes — of which very large and common Day 0 patches have negated that as being one of the biggest benefits of physical media: not having to wait for the download to start playing.

    I do have to worry about the license getting pulled and my access to the game being revoked. It doesn’t happen often, but there have been a couple that just aren’t available to play any longer.

    And I can’t use the gray market – which is … good and bad. It was nice getting some games at a discount and being able to resell my games. But now that games are hiding more content behind DLCs and activation codes, you can’t often get the full experience from the gray market. And then you have Gamestop, which is hive of scum and villainy, where you can get maybe $5 in store credit for your used titles, and only save about $5 off of full retail for a used title.

  6. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 44108, member: 96″]
    I’m probably in the minority here, but I prefer digital.
    [/QUOTE]
    That said, I am still holding out for a PS5 with disc – almost strictly so I can get a 4K UHD player.

    I’d also clarify a bit – of the games that I can’t play any more, most of them I actually do have the physical edition. Once they shut the servers down, it doesn’t matter if you have the physical version or not.

  7. I think a lot of people have shit internet connections that aren’t very fast. If I had to deal with that, I’d probably prefer physical media as well.

  8. [QUOTE=”Dan_D, post: 44136, member: 6″]
    I think a lot of people have **** internet connections that aren’t very fast. If I had to deal with that, I’d probably prefer physical media as well.
    [/QUOTE]
    Yeah, that was me. Day 0 patches that are as large as the game install itself mean physical media doesn’t save you a damn thing

  9. [QUOTE=”Brian_B, post: 44140, member: 96″]
    Yeah, that was me. Day 0 patches that are as large as the game install itself mean physical media doesn’t save you a **** thing
    [/QUOTE]
    I remember the excitement when I was younger and I’d go out buy a game cartridge and come home and fire it up in my console and start playing the game immediately. Those were great times.

  10. With the exploding size of games and the vast reduction of cost in ssd drives. (Microcenter can give away 240gb SSD drives in mass.) I suspect the new physical media for games will be SSD based cartridges.

  11. Digital is convenient. But sadly I can almost always get a better deal on a physical copy… this makes zero sense to me but it is the way of PS life. I also like being able to offload games I hate (Returnal) to recoup funds. But yeah, getting my lazy azz off the couch to change discs, I could do without. Especially for DUMB games like my pinball games… why do those things require the game disc to play Twilight Zone Pinball from the 80s?

    4K UHD movies is bonus gravy but I only have a handful of those.

  12. [QUOTE=”Burticus, post: 44174, member: 297″]
    Digital is convenient. But sadly I can almost always get a better deal on a physical copy… this makes zero sense to me but it is the way of PS life. I also like being able to offload games I hate (Returnal) to recoup funds. But yeah, getting my lazy azz off the couch to change discs, I could do without. Especially for DUMB games like my pinball games… why do those things require the game disc to play Twilight Zone Pinball from the 80s?

    4K UHD movies is bonus gravy but I only have a handful of those.
    [/QUOTE]
    As someone who is almost exclusively a PC gamer, there are no benefits to going to physical media for me. I’ve not purchased physical media since the Mass Effect 3 Collector’s Edition came out in 2012. I haven’t had an optical drive in my system for almost a decade now.

  13. [QUOTE=”Dan_D, post: 44176, member: 6″]
    As someone who is almost exclusively a PC gamer, there are no benefits to going to physical media for me. I’ve not purchased physical media since the Mass Effect 3 Collector’s Edition came out in 2012. I haven’t had an optical drive in my system for almost a decade now.
    [/QUOTE]

    PC is different. They don’t even have physical copies of games anymore… if you were to actually buy a “physical” pc game from Best Buy or whatever it would just have a download code in it for

    I suppose having an optical drive would be useful for retro gaming though if you had an old library. I still have an optical in my game rig, but only BC I haven’t gone out of my way to remove it. Next case not likely to have one.

  14. [QUOTE=”Burticus, post: 44182, member: 297″]
    I still have an optical in my game rig, but only BC I haven’t gone out of my way to remove it. Next case not likely to have one.
    [/QUOTE]
    Yeah on PC side, I have an external BR drive, but only because I still subscribe to the old school Netflix where they mail you DVDs

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