Physical media has always been something that I have gravitated to for as long as I can remember. When I was a kid, there was something magical about going to Blockbuster and grabbing a few VHS movies off the shelf for a weekend of ’90s kid bliss. And that feeling continued to be present as I got older. I collected games, Simpsons DVD boxsets, and had loads of my favorite movies in practically every format available. Heck, I even collected HD-DVDs for a while back in the early 2000s. So, forgive me if the old man in me is about to come out here, but the news that Best Buy, one of the largest brick and mortar electric stores on the planet, will stop carrying physical DVDs and Blu-rays, both in-store and online in 2024, just plain sucks.
This news, as confirmed by an official statement from Best Buy to Variety, suggests that physical media is now considered a relic of a bygone era. A spokesperson for the company stated, “The way we consume movies and TV shows has evolved significantly compared to decades ago.” According to the statement, DVD and Blu-ray discs will continue to be sold through the 2023 holiday season but will gradually phase out in 2024. It’s worth noting that, for the time being, this change appears to affect only DVDs and Blu-rays, as Best Buy remains committed to continuing the sale of physical video games for the foreseeable future.
So, where do we go from here, and will retailers follow suit with physical video games in the future? It’s no secret that the video game industry has been steadily pushing people toward a digital ecosystem for some time. PlayStation and Xbox have offered digital-only options for years, and there’s even a rumor (yes, I know, it’s just a rumor) that an all-digital option will be available with the upcoming Nintendo Switch 2 at launch. However, if the closure of the 3DS and Wii U eShops has taught me anything, it’s that physical games are an extremely valuable commodity, especially in an era where games, TV shows, and movies can simply disappear from digital marketplaces at the drop of a hat. While I personally believe that games still have some time left in our increasingly digital world, we might indeed be witnessing the beginning of the end for traditional physical games as we know it.
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