Starfield is being spaced from stores (Picture: Bethesda)
Walmart might be the next retailer to stop selling physical games as it looks to remove copies of Starfield from store shelves.
While physical media has been in slow decline over the past decade, there’s signs that the downfall has started to accelerate in recent months.
In the US, Best Buy announced last year it will stop selling DVDs and Blu-ray discs in stores. While the retailer does still sell video games, it’s only a matter of time before they too are phased out, against the rise of digital downloads.
In the UK, the most notable sign is the confirmation that retailer GAME will phase out second-hand video game sales in the coming months, leaving CeX as the only high street chain dealing in pre-owned games.
It seems fellow US retailer Walmart might be following a similar path. Over the weekend, screenshots circulated on Twitter of a memo to Walmart employees, stating that physical copies of Starfield should be ‘marked down to 3 cents’ to ‘prepare for its disposal at store level’.
According to a user named Rychu on ResetEra, who works at the retailer, the screenshot is taken from the Me@Walmart app, which is used by employees to clock in, price check items, and receive notices regarding store updates.
If you’re hoping to buy Starfield for $0.03, however, you’ll be out of luck as the post notes any purchases of the item will be blocked.
While this might simply apply to Starfield, which has been made widely available digitally through PC and Xbox Game Pass, Rychu claims in a later post that Walmart executives have have been ‘discussing getting rid of physical games for at least the past year’.
‘This specific claims notice is related to Starfield but that doesn’t mean it won’t expand to other things eventually,’ Rychu writes. ‘This is only the beginning.’
GameCentral has reached out to Walmart for comment.
In recent months, a number of high-profile games have launched without physical copies – most notably Alan Wake 2 and Baldur’s Gate 3 (although the latter is getting a physical version this year). Recently, Microsoft announced Senua’s Saga: Hellblade 2 would only be sold digitally when it comes out in May.
While it might be a while until physical games are phased out from supermarkets around the world entirely, all signs point to it being a reality that might be closer than you expect.
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