Yesterday, we told you that Gamestop was certain that discs would be around for a very, very long time. “Disc based games will be around forever,” CEO Paul Raines said. I’m inclined to agree – for now. I do think that discs will be around for a long time indeed, though digital distribution is becoming more prevalent with each passing day.
Not everyone agrees. Former Sony Honcho, now with Microsoft, Phil Harrison says that Gamestop’s sentiment is “a delusional, self-serving load of tosh”.
Michael Pachter, however, believes Raines is correct.
“Music CD sales are down 80 per cent from their peak, but the salient point is that 18 years after Napster, Kazaa and Grokster almost destroyed physical media, the record labels are STILL MAKING CDs,” he told MCV.
“DVD sales are down around 50 per cent from the peak, but again, the figure is misleading, as the peak reflected the debut of virtually every film ever made on DVD. The masses bought Blu-ray players and bought catalogue titles in 2010, and catalogue has faded far more rapidly than new release DVD sales. Again, the salient point is that the movie studios are still making DVDs.
“I think the console death will take decades. That means that GameStop has at least another 20 years to sell DVDs. I think that the decline in physical game sales hurts GameStop the least, as Amazon and Best Buy customers are far more inclined to buy online than GameStop customers, due to the latter’s predominant position in the used games business.”
That’s a very different attitude to the one he fostered in 2009, where he predicted that there’d be no PlayStation 4, or Xbox 360 successor.
“I think we’ve seen the last generation of consoles,” Pachter said then. “Third party publishers are not going to support a PS4 or Xbox 720,” he said. “The content is not going to change in any meaningful ways because the publishers can’t afford it.”
Of course, with the new consoles comparatively outselling the last generation, we know that Pachter’s 2009 prognostication was false. Will this one ring true?
Last Updated: October 1, 2015