IHS head of games Piers Harding-Rolls has predicted a dramatic swing to digital during the imminent console generation.
The analyst believes that by 2017 a total of 34 per cent of all games spend on PS4 and Xbox One will be spent on digital games. By comparison, it says that back in 2008 just seven per cent went on digital.
Day-and-date digital and retail releases will be one of the largest driving factors.
While digital distribution of full games will drive the transition as it has in the PC sector, experimentation with new content and service models – paid downloadable content, free client software, virtual items and currency, more service-based games, service subscriptions – will help accelerate the switch to digital consumption,” Harding-Rolls stated.
In the PC sector, competition between digital retailers and publishers on pricing is extensive and this has helped drive the transition to digital consumption. The nature of the 'closed' console platforms means that competition on pricing is inevitably less developed, but this is slowly changing. More aggressive digital pricing competition with boxed product will be necessary to build digital consumption.”
The analyst doesn't believe this will result in any sales cannibalisation, either, and predicts that this shift will increase profitability for both Sony and Microsoft.