Physical Games Push Square

Parents in the USA are more likely to find Roblox subscriptions or Call of Duty points at the top of their child's Christmas wishlist than any physical video games this year, an ESA survey says. Having polled 501 children aged between 10 and 17, video game-related presents returned the most responses at 72 per cent. Of those, 39 per cent will ask for a gaming subscription for Christmas while fewer than one in four (22 per cent) will request a physical video game.

A boxed copy of any video game was the least popular Christmas request among those surveyed, with games consoles, accessories, and in-game currencies all beating out a PS5, PS4 title supplied on a disc. Perhaps a sign of the times, it's another example of how the younger generation's interests appear to skew heavily towards continually updated live-service titles such as Fortnite or Apex Legends. They're not hoping to find Like a Dragon Gaiden: The Man Who Erased His Name underneath their Christmas tree come 25th December.

The one thing the ESA survey doesn't make clear is where digital games are in all of this. Physical titles are defined as being the least popular, but PS Store credit to purchase digital software is neither a subscription nor in-game currency. It's possible digital games have been bundled in with one of these categories, but it's not made clear. The survey says things like a GTA+ membership are what kids want for Christmas, allowing them to better their online profiles in games they're already playing instead of being gifted brand-new ones.

Sony recently reported physical game sales accounted for just four per cent of its revenue stream in Q2 2023, with over two-thirds of sales (rather than cash) coming from digital purchases. While it's not directly referenced in the ESA survey, PS Plus will be involved in all of these digital subscriptions and currencies as you need a membership to Sony's service to play most online games on PS5, PS4 in the first place. Since release, Roblox has quickly become one of the most popular titles on Sony's machines, so the hardware manufacturer is now getting a piece of that substantial pie.

How do you react to this survey? Share your thoughts in the comments below.

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