By 2020, digital copies have become more in demand in console retail. Major publishers now sell more digital than disc versions.

This is the picture for EA, Sony and Take-Two: all three companies had digital sales exceeding 50% in 2020.

  • EA: 52% of digital sales for Xbox One and PS4 for the period July 2019 – June 2020;
  • Sony: 51% of digital sales for the period April 2019 – March 2020;
  • Take-Two: 55% of digital sales for the period April 2019 – March 2020.

The situation is revealed by a senior analyst Niko Partners by Daniel Ahmad:

“It is worth noting that we entered the current generation of consoles (2013) with 5-10% of digital sales. Now we are entering the next generation with 50%+ as standard.”

A good example is the extremely successful sales of the latest blockbusters in numbers:

  • The Last of Us Part 2 — the game’s initial digital sales in June amounted to 2.8 million (a record figure among PS4 exclusives);
  • Animal Crossing: New Horizons — in March alone, the digital version of the game was bought 5 million times (previously, no console title had ever been bought so actively in a month).

All this could not but affect the future generation of consoles. The PS5 will be released in two models at once: with and without a disk drive. The second console will work with digital games and may cost $50 less. Microsoft may also release an Xbox Series X version without a drive. For Xbox One, the company has previously released such a version — Xbox One S All-Digital Edition.

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