With there being less than a week away before Halo Wars 2 – one of the most highly anticipated video games of 2017 – launches for Xbox One and PC, American fans of the latter platform who wanted a disc copy of the game may be discouraged to learn of 343 Industries and Microsoft’s recent decision regarding the game’s distribution. As it happens, the companies have come to the conclusion to not release any physical versions of Halo Wars 2 for the PC in the United States, with Europe still slated to receive discs for the real-time strategy game on the platform.
According to an official post on Halo Waypoint written by 343 Industries’ community manager, Brian Jarrard, it seems as if the decision to nix any physical units for Halo Wars 2‘s PC version in the US potentially comes down to being a cost-cutting strategy, as there are little details offered as to why the country won’t get discs for the game for personal computers. In regards to the matter, Jarrard wrote, “Our retail plans have shifted and Microsoft has made the decision to focus the release of the physical retail version to Europe only.”
Although neither 343 Industries nor Microsoft have put forth a specific reason as to why there will be no PC copies of Halo Wars 2 in the US, it’s safe to say that there will surely be some fans who are disappointed by the resolution. However, it’s difficult to argue against the decision, because the companies working on the real-time strategy game will definitely save money by not paying to manufacture a bevy of discs, and Halo Wars 2‘s digital iteration on PC will be priced exactly the same on launch day with the majority of PC fans – if not all of them – primarily downloading copies of games instead of buying physical editions.
For those unaware, one piece of research published by the trade magazine and website dedicated to the computer and IT industry, PCR, has determined 92% of PC game sales were digital downloads in 2013, and it stands to reason that the percentage is roughly similar today. So, with such a high number of PC games being downloaded as opposed to being purchased as physical copies, it makes sense for 343 Industries, Microsoft, and THQ Nordic to eschew disc versions for Halo Wars 2 on the platform. Not to mention, it’s worth noting that other companies have done the same in the past with success, as Electronic Arts decided to make Battlefield 1‘s PC version digital-only in North America. Bearing this in mind, it will be interesting to see if sales for Halo Wars 2‘s PC version remain strong upon launch.
Halo Wars 2 is set to release on February 21, 2017, for Xbox One and Windows 10 PCs.