With some high-profile games skipping physical releases recently, and hardware vendors like Xbox seemingly scaling right back on traditional retail presence (or even planning potential all-digital console refreshes), the idea of widely-distributed physical prints of games can certainly seem like it’s in danger.
In an interview with IGN though, CEO of Rockstar parent company Take-Two, Strauss Zelnick, has said that a physical market will continue to exist for “quite a long time” and that Take-Two bases its distribution decisions purely on where consumers are spending.
“I think I said, I think ten years ago, I was asked what will be the market share of digital distribution in ten years and I said, most of it,” Zelnick told the outlet. “But there will almost certainly be a physical market that extends for quite a long time. There still is in the recorded music business, for example. We’ll support that if it makes sense to support it. We don’t make our decisions based on opinions. We base our decisions on where the consumer is.”
Zelnick also said that the actual physical distribution for a game isn’t costly enough to make it a big decision for them, with the ability to get a game onto the shelf in less than a week from ordering stock.
“It’s not costly to master something for physical distribution. As long as you don’t produce too much inventory, it’s not costly… So this isn’t a big decision for us. It was a big decision 30 years ago in the business when we had to produce cartridges, and you couldn’t do anything with them… but today we can order a disc and five days later it can be on the shelf.”
IGN also asked the CEO whether, in the current climate of uncertainty around Xbox’s hardware future, having competing PlayStation and Xbox consoles was important to Take-Two’s business or the health of the video game market.
“I think it’s a benefit. Do I think ultimately it’s a necessity? No. But I do think it’s a benefit.”