For console games, downloads are approaching a tipping point | Tech Industry
On the PC, games distributed on discs in physical boxes have been a practical market rounding error for years now. Destiny 2‘s sales distribution highlights how the console game market may finally (and inexorably) be heading toward that point as well.
In an earnings call this week, Activision revealed that more than 50 percent of Destiny 2‘s sales on consoles came via download rather than on a retail disc. That’s “a new highwater mark” for the company, and it’s way higher than the “20 to 25 percent” of Call of Duty‘s console sales usually represented by digital copies, according to Activision (though Call of Duty World War II is seeing “higher digital preorders… relative to any prior Call of Duty title.”) Even for online-focused games like the Overwatch and the original Destiny, only 30 to 40 percent of console sales usually come from downloads, the company said.
More importantly, Activision doesn’t see Destiny 2‘s digital console majority as an outlier. As Activision CFO Spencer Neumann said in the earnings call, “historically, we’ve been seeing that digital mix increase at about five points a year.” With Destiny 2‘s console digital majority, Neumann says, “we believe we’re seeing some acceleration in that digital shift.”
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