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Most gamers still prefer physical games over downloads, study finds

Luke Johnson


Disc-based games still more popular than digital downloads

Physical, disc-based games are not dead yet, as a new study finds that most gamers still prefer physical games to digital downloads.

Although digital releases appear to be the future of the gaming sector, an NPD report has revealed that almost three quarters of gamers still prefer to get something physical when splashing cash on the latest gaming releases.

Highlighted within the consumer research group’s Core Gaming 2014 report, the study – which questioned 7,927 US gamers – found that when prices are identical, 74 per cent of gamers still prefer disc-based offerings.

For the purpose of the study, core gamers were defined as “individuals who play video games five or more hours a week on a PS3, PS4, Xbox 360, Xbox One, PC or Mac.” So you Wii U users don’t count.

Despite the continued preference for physical games, the study has shown that during the past 12 months, more gamers have been switching across to digital releases.

With 26 per cent of questioned gamers this year stating they prefer digital releases, the figure is up from just 21 per cent in 2013.

It is suggested that the US is currently home to some 34 million core gamers, with the average user playing time topping 22 hours per week.

"Core gamers are really the lifeblood of the industry, spending tremendous amounts of time on their hobby of choice," NPD analyst Liam Callahan said.

He added: “With the new console generation off to a great start, we can expect the amount of time spent gaming to increase as more core gamers adopt them."

Read More: Xbox One vs PS4

Via: CVG

David T

May 18, 2014, 2:46 pm

Clearly they didn't poll PC gamers. Steam has pretty much made disc obsolete, only the luddie console players consider it a preference.

Noel Grundy

May 18, 2014, 5:52 pm

I'm all digital on the P.C. and about 60% digital on the Xbox one.


May 19, 2014, 12:57 pm

Of course not, especially when hard drive space is at a premium on consoles. I'd much prefer to have a disk on hand that have to wait to download the game, even if you can start playing before it fully finishes.

PC is different from consoles, far easier to throw in a large hard drive (~2tb) to store your games on. Plus with a console you want to sit down and play immediately, not wait around for a download (at least for me it is).

Finally, I'd prefer the physical disc as you never know if a company will fold, losing the ability to download a game forever. Less likely to happen in some cases, but you never know what will happen.

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