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THQ Nordic planning "strictly limited" physical run for PC games

THQ Nordic tries to find a balance in making its games accessible to everyone while also letting the physical PC releases feel like events unto themselves.

Justin Carter, Contributing Editor

June 26, 2023

2 Min Read
Box art for Haemimont Games' Jagged Alliance 3.

Going forward, THQ Nordic plans to have a limited physical run for the PC versions of its games. As detailed in a recent blog post, any PC game with a boxed version will have a "small amount" of units made (for standard and Collector's Editions). 

While console players still have the option to buy a game via disc/cartridge or digital, PC players have had to work with the latter for years. The issue affects developer and player alike: a game may not be able to fully reach its intended audience, or be played in the best of circumstances.  

By having a short physical lifetime of its own works, THQ Nordic is now its own version of Limited Run Games, which creates physical versions of games (often indies) for a short amount of time. 

A set number of physical units for these games will be available via THQ Nordic's Vienna store, with another batch through the company's regular online stores, or "specific retail partners." The very last number of physical versions will go to the Embracer Games Archive to be preserved. 

In the immediate future, titles that will be affected by this include Gothic 1 Remake, Alone in the Dark, Wreckreation, and Outcast II

Concerns over physical games are rising

As game consoles have specifically digital-only versions alongside their disc-based counterparts, the future of physical video games are being called into question. Locking games to a digital format isn't just isolating to those with inconsistent internet, it raises further concerns about game preservation. 

Later this year, Remedy's Alan Wake II will be a digital-only title. Remedy has explained it's partially to prevent the game from being priced at $70 (it's currently slated for $50 on PC), and doesn't want to make a disc version that would force players to download something for the game (like a patch or update) down the line. 

THQ Nordic, for what it's worth, offered to make physical versions of the game for Remedy. At time of writing, it's unclear where the two stand on the issue. 

This trend seems like it'll be continuing towards the end of the year. In early June, a fan account for Sega's Like a Dragon series claimed November's Like a Dragon: The Man Who Erased His Namewill also lack a physical release. 

And over the weekend in a now-deleted tweet, Bethesda claimed Starfield's physical version (across PC and Xbox Series X|S) would just consist of a box with a download code. It's since been clarified that physical Xbox versions will have a disc, and a download code for the game will be in PC copies.

About the Author(s)

Justin Carter

Contributing Editor, GameDeveloper.com

A Kansas City, MO native, Justin Carter has written for numerous sites including IGN, Polygon, and SyFy Wire. In addition to Game Developer, his writing can be found at io9 over on Gizmodo. Don't ask him about how much gum he's had, because the answer will be more than he's willing to admit.

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