Digital is taking over the world, with the internet becoming increasingly powerful, reducing the need for people to own many products in their physical form or even go out of their way to purchase the items. This is especially true in the various gaming industries, where people’s first port of call for playing games has become the internet or online storefronts. It’s a sign of things to come across the world as more and more nations improve their internet and digital infrastructure to the point where online products become so convenient and accessible that they become the majority force across many industries.
However, despite the direction of consumers, it appears as though the first all-digital console has been a flop, according to unit sale figures.
Gaming already massively digital
Gaming was, naturally, one of the earliest entertainment sectors to embrace a digital offering. With consoles built for online multiplayer play, the digital storefronts became an opportunity for game publishers to offer products as soon as they release, and very conveniently, for a premium. Particularly with regards to Xbox Game Store, most triple-A games cost more to download digitally than they do to buy in their physical form. Despite this, 80 percent of UK video game sales are now digital, according to Eurogamer.
It may seem an oddity to older audiences as the players are often paying more money for a product that they don’t wholly own and doesn’t hold any value due to it not having a physical or tradable form. But with the modern consumer, convenience is king, and the on-demand culture dictates that people desire games as soon as they release, with digital storefronts offering the chance to appease these desires.
But it’s not just in traditional video gaming that digital is taking over, with the example of the UK iGaming industry being the prime example. As the UK Gambling Commission is such a well-respected regulator, the UK gambling industry has been able to thrive online. Competition is high in the online space, creating a very player-friendly area in which casinos try to make themselves as appealing as possible to all players, adding as many games as possible and ultimately giving bonuses to the players. This has even given rise to websites like Casino Wings which compare the many online casinos from across the world to show the best ones for players seeking certain games or bonuses. It has come to the point where the most recent industry report reads a fall in overall gross gambling yield in Great Britain but an increase in GGY in the remote sector.
With all forms of gaming finding a great deal of adoption and success in the digital environment, an all-digital console seems like the natural next step, but the Xbox One S All-Digital says otherwise.
Xbox One S All-Digital flops
According to statistics recorded by Statista, May 2019 saw the cumulative unit sales of Xbox One consoles hit 42.63 million. In that same month, Microsoft released the Xbox One S All-Digital console, which only increased the total unit sales by 0.36 million to 42.99 million over the next couple of months. While not catastrophic to the company, considering the digital trends of gamers, this will be disappointing. There are many factors to consider here, including the lofty price of digital games noted above, but the main point is that this was an ill-timed release. We are coming to the end of the current console generations of PlayStation and Xbox, with both already unveiling the upcoming next-gen consoles. So, releasing a new, somewhat forward-thinking version of a console this late in the game seems like a misstep.
While the Xbox One S All-Digital may be a flop, it certainly represents the trends of the video gaming public. If the next Xbox console releases as an All-Digital entity, it would likely be a much more accepted bit of hardware. For now, however, there is no need for people to go out of their way to get a new console that cuts them off from physical game copies.