Over the past few years, the argument of physical vs. digital games remained a constant debate among players. And it was not until recently that console holders began to entertain an all-digital industry. With the likes of Sony & Microsoft both featuring disc-less units, it seemed a matter of time before scrapping tangible copies altogether. Already, Best Buy has begun severing its physical game departments in its stores.
Additionally, the same is also expected the same from Wal-Mart for its Xbox titles. One report indicated that the retailer is to do away with games starting off with Starfield. What also fuels this report is the recent announcement that Hellblade II: Senua’s Saga is only available via digital means and Xbox Game Pass. One source of ours shared an image of the retailer motioning the removal of Starfield from its displays which you can view below:
This week, a new report went out revealing that Microsoft Gaming has laid off roughly 1,900 employees of its division. This decision greatly effected Activision Blizzard King developers. Enough so that the previously announced fantasy RPG IP from Blizzard Entertainment has been shelved altogether. To add to this development, Xbox’s effort in retail is also reported to be in trouble as well from this recent mass firing.
From Windows Central Gaming’s Jez Corden, he says sources notion internal departments responsible for retail distribution has been closed as well. “Microsoft has also shut down departments dedicated to bringing Xbox games to physical retail … which if you’ve seen the digital-only Xbox console leaks … well, you can get an idea of where Microsoft is going here.”
Corden does go on to warrant that his is not set in stone that Microsoft is doing away with its physical releases, but, it is concerning to say the least given the current circumstances. Saying “reducing retail teams doesn’t confirm Microsoft is quitting physical retail for Xbox games yet, they can outsource, and might be consolidating here. So, don’t run with ‘Xbox is quitting physical’ based on this. But, it does seem to be the industry trajectory. Writing is on the wall.”
This worry nature of Xbox abandoning physical media has grew the last few years. With newer releases such as Hi-Fi Rush, GhostWire: Tokyo and even Grounded arriving to Xbox in the last year, the lack of retail versions do give off a stigma. Not to mention the previous leak of a digital Xbox Series X console too. You can read the full report by heading here.
What are your thoughts on this new development from the Microsoft Gaming layoffs?