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From the Physical to Digital: Gamers share their thoughts on the Evolution of Video Games

Updated: Nov 15, 2023

By David Ulloa Jr.

They were initially coded into consoles. Then, they were on cartridges. As time progressed, they were put on discs. Now, they are moving from the tangible to digital.

Like all technology, video games have evolved.

Video games are still offered on discs. According to Limelight, a content delivery network that helps organizations deliver faster websites, about 61% of U.S. “gamers” (video game players) prefer downloading their video games.

Nicholas Estril, an aspiring video game designer and avid gamer, said he remembers the days when the only way of getting video games was on a disc.

“There’s only so much you can fit on a disc now,” Estril said.

To his knowledge, Estril said he does not know of a single disc that can fit the download size of Call of Duty: Warzone. A video game that, depending on if the person buys the game alone or in the bundle package that includes an additional video game (Call of Duty: Modern Warfare), takes up approximately 79 GB (gigabytes) to 110 GB according to IGN, an entertainment publication that covers video game and pop culture news.

In comparison, the starting storage of an iPhone 13 is 128 GB according to Apple’s website.

However, Dr. Steve J. Clayden, a Glendale Community College professor who has a doctorate in Information Technology and teaches a course on the video game industry, shared a different idea on why many games are not being released on discs.

He said the games are data heavy, but Clayden does not think this is the reason they are not being released on disc.

Clayden said he thinks that large games like Fortnite and Call of Duty: Warzone are not being released on discs because they involve gamers from different parts of the world playing together at once.

Micheal Kozlosky, an avid gamer, said he usually buys the physical copy of a video game when it is a game he is really looking forward to, so that he can get the collectibles and figures that come along with special editions and copies.

Kozlosky said he thinks he used to own a lot more physical games in the past, but has bought more digital games in recent years.

Kozlosky enjoys the convenience of downloading a video game because sometimes there is limited physical room to fit a console, which makes inserting a disc into a console inconvenient. Downloading a video game prevents this issue from happening.

As to whether video game discs will be phased out, both Estril and Kozlosky reiterated the uncertainty of its future.

While Estril said he doesn’t think it’s impossible for video game discs to be phased out, he said if they do then it probably wouldn’t happen abruptly.

Kozlosky said his brother is amazed by CDs, and he noticed that some people find it crazy that he owns certain games on discs.

Clayden said he thinks some games, like the recent Spider-Man video games, will remain on disc while others will be only available for download, like Fortnite.

Estril said he is a PC gamer (a gamer that uses a computer as their primary way of playing video games), so he doesn’t usually buy physical copies of video games.

GameStop, a store that is known for selling video games, is a store that Estril said he visits often. But Estril doesn’t go to GameStop to buy video games, he goes there to buy video game-related merchandise such as Pokémon cards.

According to third quarter 2019 fiscal reports from GameStop, 42.7% of GameStop’s profits came from used and value video game products while 69.9% of their profits came from collectibles and video game accessories.

Estril said he thinks the reason GameStop sells a lot of video game-related merchandise is because he thinks they can’t just sell video game discs.

Kozlosky also said he thinks GameStop will transition its approach from selling strictly video games to video game-related products.

Like Estril, Clayden doesn’t think disc games will go away anytime soon.

Clayden said he thinks that the transition from discs to downloadable games is like everything else in the technology industry: things change with time.


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