Digital Downloads Taking Over, A New Age of Gaming On The Horizon?

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Gamers are playing more games than ever before. Holiday season game sales are in healthy full swing. Yet video game stores are going the way of the dodo in a hurry. The New York Times reported the growing disparity between retailers and game sales as a whole. None of this is shocking to PC gamers in the slightest.

For years now PC gamers have transitioned towards the more advanced distribution platforms such as GoG and Steam. These platforms offer the kinds of possibilities gamers now take for granted. Cloud saves, shared game media, and a virtual host storying your game library at all times make not buying your games from digital platforms a very stupid thing. Not to mention that the constant wave of sales and bundles has made software piracy a waste of time.

Companies like Gamestop have their days numbered as eBay and Amazon offer used game trading options that are just as attractive. With our low-brow console brethren finally following PC gaming footsteps, digital stores will soon be the only way to buy games. This opens the opportunity for companies to earn more for each game sold.

Physical PC media is almost extinct, so is no used game trading option available for PC gamers. Everyone seems fine with this. Family sharing account plans aside, if two people want to play the same game they each buy a copy and play it on any PC they want. That’s twice the sale for a developer. A sharp contrast from the same disc being sold to 3-4 different owners and revenue for the game itself only goes to its producer on the initial sale, and the rest to a retail video game company.

The game industry is booming, in the billions, the digital distribution platform ideas that sprang forth nearly a dozen years ago is paying dividends in the present. With more budgets going towards PC gaming, will it fuel the next advancements in AI, strategy, gameplay, and graphics from development companies? Only time will tell.