NPD Reports That 75% Of Gamers Prefer Physical Copies Of Games

The NPD’s Core Gaming 2014 report reveals that around 75 percent of gamers surveyed in the United States prefer physical copies of their games, rather than digital. People are starting to embrace digital titles, as the report shows that digital acceptance is up five percent over last year.


  1. No shit! Buying a digital game for the full $60 is a fucking rip off. Especially cuz if you don’t like it, you’re out $60! To hell with digital!

    1. It makes sense though. If you are like me (who never EVER) trades in Nintendo games, it makes more sense to buy digitally. Nintendo games usually stay high in price over the years (walmart had Skyward Sword for $50) so you’re gonna have to pay up either option you pick. Only advantages to digital: Can play it earlier, no tax, (depending where you live) instant switching between games, don’t need to carry cases. Physical: Can actually feel on the disk/cartridge, comes with case which can be used as proof of purchase, can put up for display for yourself or others to admire, can trade/sell back if you don’t like it. See? Both have advantages. I am never selling any of my games, so digital wouldn’t bother me. And if your game console or handheld breaks, it’s technically your own fault for not planning ahead. They have two year warranties you know.

      1. You forgot the main advantages of a physical copy – you can play it at a friend’s house, or keep it with you if you switch consoles. (For example, I can play my games at home or at college. Also, I can play my physical Wii games on the Wii U. Or my 3DS games on my 3DS XL).

  2. I’m actually quite the fan of digital games. Now that being said, I take into consideration of whether buying a game is worth it or not. But I also don’t make a habit of selling my games. I’m a collector, and if it’s a digital collection, I don’t mind, even though I do miss the boxes sometimes.

    1. If digitals aren’t properly handled and priced like physicals, then that isn’t going to happen anytime soon.

      If digitals are cheaper at least by $5 and develop an infrastructure to allow digital resales like Steam without some form of DRM strings attached, then it could bring some confidence to gamers to try digital.

      Despite this, digitals have their advantages like no risk of damage but might get corrupted and purchase of digital format are saved in your account for free download later and can even back up in various sources like PC or online storage.

      Of course, everything has its pros/cons depending certain situations that could happen to ruin your content like hacks or any forms of system failure for digital and thief or phsyical damage for discs. All depends on how well you manage and take care of your property.

      1. This is why Nintendo needs to do more with the Nintendo Network system. It could be used for great things like a cloud system, so when the worst case scenario of your Wii U getting destroyed occurs, you can just get a new one, set up your Nintendo Network ID on the new system, & boom! Instant access to all of your saved data & digital downloads. We all know the NNID has so much potential. The fused accounts of 3DS & Wii U eShops using the NNID was a step in the right direction.

  3. Considering how many games get cut off at the knees when the servers go down, its not surprising not to have that kind of faith in digital.

  4. physical ownership of anything gives more value and appreciation to the item. I enjoy looking at my collection of games.

  5. I’m part of that 75%. I only go digital for games I know for a fact I’m not going to be getting rid of like Mario Kart 8 or any Legend of Zelda. I’m even going to go digital for any future Metroid game that releases. Just need Metroid: Zero Mission for GBA virtual console on the Wii U to have every Metroid up til now. Except for Metroid Prime Hunters. I’ll just hold off & see if it releases as a DS virtual console title later on down the road.

  6. Like the people here say, make the digital prices less, not more expensive. Every digital copy I have is because it was on a sale or free as part of a promo. I’m not paying 60 for a game I can buy for 10 physical copy on sale.

  7. It’s cheaper to have the digital copy because you don’t blow $4 on a gallon of gas to get you to Target and back.

    1. And we don’t have to pay shipping & handling when we order games off the internet or through catalogs.

    2. One example of why the physical copy is better. I got WWHD on day one for $39.99. I recently sold it for $30 and will download it for free when I get my physical copy of MK8 which I ordered through the same promo for $39.99. With Digital you have no flexibility to sell, trade or play the game on a different system.

      1. This is true, but how often do you sell a Nintendo first-party title? Reggie himself pointed out what a low resale rate they have. Even the weakest Nintendo game has tons of value. Now, third-party games, those are good candidates for resale, especially PS/Xbox ports…

      2. Well both physical & digital have their positives & negatives. You just have to decide which positives & negatives you’re more willing to deal with: physical’s or digital’s.

      3. That’ s true! I download games I want in my permanent collection, and by physical if I plan on trading. Mostly, I just buy digital now, and only buy games I intend to keep.

  8. I win again…

    I’m playing MK7 if anyone is interested in racing me…

  9. Digital for WiiU promotion points. Also nice to have all my games ready to play at the touch of a button. Aaand no more wasted shelf space.

  10. Fuck yeah, I only go digital if it’s absolutely no way of getting the game I want. ..

  11. I prefer physical copies over digital all the time, but…

    If the game is digital only and I like playing it, why not? And if the game is free, then why the hell not?

  12. Physical is forever if taken care of, digital will eventually no longer be available, it is only a matter of time, one day all your wii, ps3, and xbox 360 digital games will no longer be available even though you paid for them…

  13. Everyone complaining about paying full price for a digital game… I agree. It doesn’t seem right, however…

    I’ve gone practically all digital. My 3DS and WiiU, most of my games are downloaded because I’m spoiled by not having to change my discs and game carts. It’s great.

    my games are safe. I’ve transferred to various systems, and the game and the saves all go with it.

    I destroyed my 3DS once, and was able to re-download all my games after contacting Nintendo. If I had my physical game carts, they would have been gone.

    So there ARE advantages, but the pricing is kinda fucked up.

    1. If only Nintendo would just get rid of that limit to the number of 3DS to 3DS transfers. AND they need to hurry up & give us the ability to transfer Wii U data to another Wii U using the Nintendo Network ID system. The NNID is partially wasted potential.

      1. The 3DS system transfer limit was lifted months ago!! Live it up my friend! ;D

        I was SO happy. I think you can only do it… Like once a week, or something like that, but there is no longer a limit on the transfers!! (double check me, but I’m 96% sure)

      2. I had to look online since I’ll need to go through the whole bloody process of the transfer just to find out if it’s gone. I hope NintendoLife is a trusty site.

      3. I’ll call Nintendo and verify. You know how it tells you the number of transfers left? That should be gone. I was thrilled when they lifted the transfer limit. It was one of the smart decisions Nintendo made.

      4. But whoot! Now if a better Zelda 3DS ever comes out, I don’t have to worry about wasting another transfer!

      5. I have two 3DS’, and I transfer when one goes in for screen repairs. I was running low! Plus my ambassidor status is linked to one account, and that’s seen a lot of transfer travel!

      6. I should get around to shipping off my original 3DS to get it repaired… if the circuitry where the directional pad hasn’t been fried beyond repair. Awhile back when Link Between Worlds was close to release, my wife knocked some alcohol on it & it got all in the system. The button still works because the damn thing keeps making the thing move everything to the right, so it’s probably not too far damaged. Luckily, that’s the only thing wrong with it but I can’t play games where the directional pad is used as a camera or movements.

  14. And why these idiots think and complain that Wii U only sports 32GB Flash Storage? Its mostly because of this. Nintendo already foreseen this and even adressed why they believe physical format is here to stay because not only digitals arent fully and properly embraced but the pricing and distribution problems as well.

    Nintendo is right about this and NPD just basically repeated the same answer with this statistics. Just look at the PS4/Xbox One 500GB. Its 11x more capacity than Wii U and yet people still complain about the digital games taking up storage so fast and so much.

    But the main issue here is the pricing. People still believe that digital versions should be cheaper because of lack of resale freedom. If it were $5 or $10 off, then it would entice some sales and consumer trust.

  15. kinda gutted that this wasn’t a story about a new 1080º snowboarding coming to wiiu :/

  16. You cant scrath digital.
    As long as you remember your password, you cant go wrong.

  17. Definitely throw me in that category. I can’t deal with download games. They defeat the purpose of having a video game collection to look at on rainy days and there are too many risks. Say what you will about discs breaking, but I’ll take that over an online game that could vanish at any moment…

    1. Just turn on the gamepad during a rainy day. Look at your collection there. Then play your collection on that rainy day.

  18. I will never buy a full priced digital game for £10 or sometimes even £20 more than a physical version. But when it comes down to discounts and deals like Steam sales and Humble Bundles, sign me up.

    When it comes to the Wii U, that 32GB flash drive does not help one bit.

  19. I can’t believe that ANYONE would prefer digital over physical copies. Digital is like not even owning the game. It’s like paying to have permission to play.

    I once had several Virtual Console games that I bought on my original Wii (including Doc Louis’ Punch Out). Then my Wii went out, and I lost them all. Nintendo had some sort of bull crap reason for not letting me download them all again (when I got a NEW Wii). I learned my lesson.

    A game has to be very special before I’d ever buy anymore VC games. Such as Earthbound. I bought that simply because I loved the original so much, and I wanted to show my support for the game. And I was hoping to eventually play it with my niece, who’s never played Earthbound before. I still haven’t touched it since downloading it though.

    You’d NEVER see me paying 60+ dollars for a brand new digital game, unless I had brain damage or was hypnotized to do it.

      1. I can’t remember if I called Nintendo or e-mailed them? It was too long ago.

  20. Hooray! Seventy-five percent of all gamers still prefer physical! Maybe I will be able to buy physical games for another generation more!

  21. More people switching over to digital as time passes is proof that the human race is indeed getting smarter.


  22. Except for my favorite franchises, I’m going digital with Wii U (and 3DS) because of the Digital Deluxe Promotion, paired with the yearly Best Buy eShop card discounts. i usually get a full priced game for $15 off of retail. Plus, having all of my games at my fingertips allows me to continue being a lazy-ass.

    I’ll probably go physical with Xbox One.

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