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GameStop thrives off physical sales, particularly in the form of preowned products, as it’s a way for the company to generate high profits. Now that we know the next generation PlayStation is confirmed to have a disc drive, the retailer will be free to carry physical copies of its games. GameStop’s Chief Customer Officer, Frank Hamlin, said the company is pleased about this, according to an interview from GameSpot.
I think both Microsoft and Sony are keenly aware that the consumer needs that optionality. We’re very much a believer in helping our customers sell them a physical game when they want it.
He went on to discuss the idea of consumers buying physical media:
It’s much like a collectible. They like the collectibility and trophy on the shelf. That tangibility is something that’s extremely important for the right game experience. Not giving the customers the privilege of having that is something I think both Sony and Microsoft are aware would be a foolish thing to do.
During the interview, Hamlin said that it’s best to allow the consumer to have the option of digital or physical formats. When considering the massive file sizes of games and how they’ll continue to grow in the future, Hamlin thinks physical media will still have a place for a long time.
Hamlin pointed to Red Dead Redemption 2’s 100GB install and what an 8K version of that could look like, in terms of file size. However, it’s worth pointing out that on the PS4, all games must be installed or downloaded to the hard drive, so unless the PS5 does things differently, a physical disc will take up just as much room as a digital version. Although, users with slower internet speeds will be at a disadvantage when purchasing digitally, which is where Hamlin believes physical media will come into play. He thinks consumers will continue to purchase discs for a “get-your-game-in quicker experience.”
Not surprisingly, GameStop doesn’t carry the Xbox One S All-Digital Edition, likely because it’s difficult to maximize profits with those customers. In reference to Microsoft’s all-digital system, Hamlin stated:
We’re absolutely excited about it, but we’re not presently selling it. Microsoft is a wonderful partner and we’re in conversations about how that could be a possibility.
It will be interesting to see how GameStop evolves as video game distribution changes. Many gamers are fearful for an all-digital ecosystem, and even more scared of the idea of streaming games. For now, those players can rest easy, as we know physical games will be around for at least another generation.
Are you pleased that the next generation PlayStation will support physical media? Let us know!