Electronic Arts seem to not be understanding the concept of physical, disc-based games. A photo posted to Reddit by someone working at a New Zealand game retailer shows a notice on the front cover of the Star Wars Jedi Survivor game box stating that the game will have to be downloaded.
Selling physical, disc-based copies of games without the actual game on it isn’t a new thing. It was discovered just before Modern Warfare 2 launched that its disc also did not contain the actual game.
I am sure there are other games as well that do not have the actual game on their physical copies.
So what is on the disc if it isn’t the actual game? Well, probably just the license key and maybe a small program that gets the download from the game server.
Having no game on the disc defeats the purpose of physical games
Having just a license key instead of the full game on the physical disc copy of a game completely defeats the purpose of physical copies in my opinion.
Most people do have internet access in their homes these days but quite a lot do not and there are still hundreds of thousands with very poor internet connections. This means that downloading games takes a long time. And if you have no internet at all, a physical game should still let you install and play the game, albeit without any patches or updates.
And possibly even more concerning is the fact that having only a license key on a disc could potentially mean the end of sharing physical games with friends or reselling or trading them in. Who’s to say that the license key on the disc wouldn’t somehow end up being tied to the first user’s console and therefore not work on any other console?
Some developers would rather have no game on the disc or just digital games only
Selling a physical, disc-based game without the actual game on the disc is a pretty shitty practice. Not only does it stop people with no internet from playing these games it may also lead to some physical games being unable to be shared or resold.
But it seems that some developers would prefer to not have the game on the disc, especially where leaks are concerned.
Shortly before God of War Ragnarok launches, some lucky players were getting physical copies really early. Naturally, this led to large portions of the game being leaked prior to launch. Santa Monica Studios’ Corey Barlog tweeted that he could understand the befit of not having the game on the disc.
But shipping a physical game without the actual game on the disc really isn’t the answer to stopping leaks. Developers and publishers need to be working with retailers to make sure copies aren’t shipped early.
For the moment, physical games aren’t going anywhere and developers and publishers need to stop these kinds of practices. Granted, digital sales have overtaken physical for a while now but physical games still offer some benefits. You can re-sell and trade in physical games, you can’t with digital. Not to mention that physical games can generally be cheaper and the price will drop quicker than digital usually.
For example, Star Wars Jedi Survivor standard edition is currently £62.99 on Amazon UK and the Deluxe Edition is only £79.99. However, on the UK PlayStation Store, the Standard Edition is £69.99 and the Deluxe Edition is £89.89. With a cost of living crisis currently going on, I know where I’d rather buy my games.
Star Wars Jedi Survivor is set to launch on Friday 28th April for PS5.
No games on the disc might become more common
Thankfully, the practice of not having any game on a physical game disc is still somewhat uncommon. But it’s only a matter of time before more developers and publishers sell physical games like this. They’ll probably use the excuse of “it helps stop leaks” or some other nonsense when in reality it’s just to force everyone onto digital games as they make more money that way.