Pages Navigation Menu

SHOWFUN - Show & Fun & More!

Boxed copies of Titanfall 2 won’t have physical media inside of them

The PC market has largely moved to digital sales, thanks in part to aggressive down-sizing from chain stores like GameStop over the last decade, and partly because online PC gaming has been baked in for twenty years. There are, however, still people who like buying a game on physical media and prefer having a CD or disc with the game’s content rather than relying on a digital service. In recent years, we’ve seen a trend where game developers don’t bother putting the entire game on-disc, instead relying on the end user to download it from a secondary service. Now, Titanfall 2 is simply getting rid of physical media entirely. If you buy a physical boxed game, all you get is a code in a box. No disc, no nothing.

A leaked copy of the Titanfall 2 box art shows the game with a prominent “Download ONLY / No Disc Included” sticker, as you can see below:

There are several ways to look at this. On the one hand, boxed copies of games are a dying breed. Outside of collector or deluxe editions, which typically come with various value-adds of highly questionable value, few people collect boxed games anymore. The entire concept of the “Deluxe” or “Collector” edition is directly tied to both the sale of DLC and pre-order benefits (which is generally terrible for the industry and gamers), or just a money-grabbing mechanism designed to make a few bucks of profit off a games’ most die-hard fans.

On the other hand, I’ve got to break with our sister site, Geek.com, which chalks this move up to difficulty with knowing what media to support and the publisher not wanting to pay to ship six or seven DVDs. DVD media isn’t free, but the cost to manufacture a DVD is around 30 cents. It actually costs more to do the printing, box art, and packaging than it does to manufacture a single disc. Sure, the publisher is looking to save some dollars, but these are not unmanageable expenses. It’s true that many new PCs don’t have DVD drives, but virtually every PC has a flash drive. We’ve already seen some companies moving to shipping flash media instead of relying on optical discs. Microsoft, for one, ships Windows 10 on a USB drive, not a Blu-ray or DVD.

The most logical explanation for EA’s decision to only ship a download code with Titanfall 2 is that the market for boxed sales has simply become too small to bother with. That’s fine, as far as it goes; a company is allowed to make any decisions it wants as far as catering to customer preferences. But the handful of people still buying boxed media are likely buying it specifically because they don’t want to deal with an online service. For these users, a download code obviates the entire point of owning the boxed copy in the first place.

Maybe it’s time to kill boxed copies altogether. Once upon a time, opening a game box meant goodies like a map, an in-depth instruction manual, and other guides, feelies, or additions to the title. These days, you’re lucky to get a jewel case with an on-disc PDF. Now, even the disc is going away. If there’s no point to bundling an actual copy of the game in the box, there’s no point to the box itself. Either have the guts to go 100% digital, or keep the current standard. Selling people a cardboard square of art and a slip of paper for $60 isn’t going to please anyone.

Leave a Comment

Captcha image