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Best Buy Will Soon Stop Selling Blu-rays And DVDs

The days of walking into a store and spending hours slowly exploring aisles of movies new and old are ending, as Best Buy’s previously reported plans to stop selling physical media begin in 2024.

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If you’ve been alive and paying attention to the world over the last decade, it’s not surprising that physical media is being phased out. As streaming and digital downloads have become increasingly popular, the demand for DVDs and Blu-rays has cratered. Anecdotally, most stores I’ve visited in the last two years have devoted only small areas to such media, and only stocked new releases and holiday-themed films. Talking to others revealed this to be a larger trend. Now, Best Buy is taking the next step and officially ceasing the sale of physical movies in the new year.

In October 2023, The Digital Bits first reported Best Buy’s plans to phase out physical media sales. The massive retailer later confirmed the news, telling the Associated Press the way people “watch movies and TV shows is much different today” compared to the past.

“Making this change gives us more space and opportunity to bring customers new and innovative tech for them to explore, discover, and enjoy,” Best Buy told the AP last year. While that sounds nice, in my experience stores have replaced DVD aisles with more Funko Pop figures and gift cards, none of which are innovative.

The AP confirmed with Best Buy last year that it would continue to sell physical video games.

There are reports that Best Buy has already begun to remove physical film and television media from stores. You can still buy movies on its website, but looking at the upcoming new releases reveals a lot of broken and repeated entries for old, previously released films with incorrect data and no images. Either Best Buy has plans to sell six new versions of Bad Moms on Blu-Ray and DVD this year, or its current listings are (more likely) a side effect of the company ripping apart its back end as it prepares to remove physical movies from the site completely.

Video games are safe…for now

While games won’t be affected by this new policy for now, it’s not hard to see a future when Best Buy and other large stores remove physical games, too. Digital downloads and streaming are more popular than ever and we’ve already seen one large AAA video game—Alan Wake II—skip a physical release entirely. And even when you do buy games physically these days, it’s often a worthless bit of plastic DRM, as most games rely on external servers delivering massive downloads to work properly. So in many ways, the era of physical media for video games has already begun to wind down, even if stores are still selling discs.

As for why physical media is still useful and important, well, I could talk about preservation and how it allows movies to exist regardless of who owns the copyright, but I’ll just let Best Buy explain why DVDs and Blu-Rays are still useful, using this message from its website that will likely be removed very soon:

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