Tesco, the United Kingdom’s leading supermarket, has announced that it will no longer stock physical games due to an increase in digital game downloads. Once the company’s current inventory runs out, Tesco says it has no plans to restock physical game discs on retail shelves. The UK supermarket says its customers have mostly moved towards buying games digitally now and no longer have interest in purchasing physical copies.
As reported by GamesIndustry.biz, Tesco will not restock its shelves with physical games anymore. Customers have noted that Tesco’s selection of physical games had already been dwindling over the last few years and due to the pandemic, most gamers had moved to strictly buying digital copies of new releases, with some exceptions for collector’s editions. Recent data showed that only 18% of games released in the UK in June 2023 were physical purchases.
Even more troubling, GameStop recently closed all 35 of its stores in Ireland due to a lack of interest in customers purchasing physical games. Since the pandemic in 2020, several video game retailers have either gone into business rescue or closed its doors entirely with companies like GameStop being hit the hardest.
The interest in collector’s editions being stocked at retailers kept some companies afloat but it’s also becoming easier to simply purchase the pricier editions directly from publishers and suppliers now. That said, the rise of subscription services in gaming has also contributed heavily to the decline in physical purchases.
Xbox Game Pass, for example, releases new titles day one so there’s little incentive for customers to actually go out and buy new Xbox games physically anymore. If players choose to buy a game outside of Game Pass, it’s mostly a digital purchase as Microsoft continues to nurture its online ecosystem. While PlayStation doesn’t offer day one releases on its revamped PlayStation Plus tiers, it also boasts a large library of digital games that players simply need to pay a monthly subscription fee to gain access to – a cheaper solution to outright buying games today.