Alan Wake 2, one of the stars of this evening’s PlayStation Showcase, has some very interesting news tucked away in an accompanying FAQ released at the same time as its latest trailer: the game will not be shipping on a disc. At all. It’ll be digital-only.
Type S: Chiaki’s Journey II Volume 4
Remedy explain that the decision is based on two factors: current trends and an effort to keep the price at $60 instead of the $70 more and more games are starting to charge. Here’s their explanation in full:
Why is Alan Wake 2 a digital-only release?
There are many reasons for this. For one, a large number of have shifted to digital only. You can buy a Sony PlayStation 5 without a disc drive and Microsoft’s Xbox Series S is a digital only console. It is not uncommon to release modern games as digital-only.
Secondly, not releasing a disc helps keep the price of the game at $59.99 / €59.99 and the PC version at $49.99 / €49.99.
Finally, we did not want to ship a disc product and have it require a download for the game — we do not think this would make for a great experience either.
Is there a disc-based version of Alan Wake 2 in the works?
There are currently no plans to release Alan Wake 2 on disc.
That sucks! I mean, not for the reasons listed—I, too, hate getting a disc only to have to download the game anyway—but for what it means in terms of what players are able to own and, more importantly, trade in at a later date.
Say what you will about the marginal economics of modern AAA video games retail, but there’s still—at time of publishing, anyway—a functional resale market where people are able to take a disc they’ve bought, sell it to someone else and use that money to either buy a new game for less or, I dunno, just buy something else.
This decision cuts that option out entirely. As it stands the only way to buy and play Alan Wake 2 will be to, in effect, purchase a very expensive license to rent the game long-term, on platforms that need to be supported with an online infrastructure, and which can revoke that license (or have it revoked) at any time.
Which, you know, happens all the time. It has happened to Alan Wake, which a few years back was removed from Steam and Xbox Live because some licensing over its soundtrack had expired.
You can read more in the FAQ—including details on the digital-only collector’s edition bonuses, since it’s a digital-only game—here. Can any of you think of another game release that was digital-only? I know Psychonauts 2 launched at retail without a disc version, but disc copies were in that case at least made and shipped out to anyone who backed the game early in its development.