In the past, many video game developers were forced to release digitally due to budget or other factors. However, that’s all changed in recent years, with startups working with publishers and developers to bring their digital-only titles to physical media. One of the newest players in this space is Physicality Games, who plan to officially launch on May 26.
Entering the race at this time seems a bit daunting, but the team seems to have a grasp on the model they wish to take with a focus on community-driven features and charity. We had the opportunity to speak with Physicality Games’ Present & CEO Bill Swartz and Marketing Manager David Bruno to learn more about the team’s approach to licensing titles and providing them to fans of physical releases.
Swartz let us know that planning for Physicality Games began 15 months ago, with hopes to launch within six months. However, the team decided to return to their model and take the time needed to develop their company. It was told to us that the company is built on four pillars, Quality, Community, Kindness, and Charity, which Swartz detail:
- Quality: We don’t offer filler. We offer games we think are great, and work our very
hardest to produce the best Deluxe Editions in the business.
- Community: The community functions on our site is all about allowing gamers to easily
find other gamers with similar interests and add all their social media outlets in one,
easy-to-share location. Think a game-focused LinkTree.
- Kindness: Making and shipping stuff is really hard. And it’s easy to get stuck in your own
frame of reference and forget the customer is more than an order and a payment. We
never want to do this. We want to treat each customer, partner and each other as
important and meaningful.
- Charity: this is the origin of the Physicality Gives program. Pre-order a game, pick a
charity and we donate 1% of the sale to your selected charity. And I mean ‘we.’ It doesn’t
come from our customer’s or our partner’s pockets – 100% of the donation comes
straight from us.
When it comes to the team’s focus on community, Bruno shared, “Our Community offerings are fairly robust compared to other online retailers, and I can’t wait for people to start utilizing their profiles to their full social potential. Right now, anyone can visit our site and create and customize their own profile; upload a custom page header, custom avatar, add their favorite games, their gaming IDs and social handles, and more. Then, with a single click, they can copy their profile URL and share it just about anywhere. It’s like a digital gaming business card of sorts.”
This feature is available now and will grow as the team receives feedback from users. It was also teased that they would love to add a leveling and reward system based on profile completion and interaction in the future.
The quality of titles that the company is focused on are games that they think are awesome and that they believe fans will enjoy. Currently, the team is working with Mebius on Rolling Gunner, Blue Wizard on Slayaway Camp: Butcher’s Cut, and Arc System Works on Guilty Gear.
When it comes to the limit of physical copies available, Swartz said, “It was always our idea that anyone who wants to purchase a game should be able to do so, and that false scarcity was evil. However, the community has made it clear to us that the attraction of Deluxe Editions was in their collectability, and to be collectible, there had to be a cap on availability.” Bruno added, “Precisely. As such, we’ve decided that we will limit our Deluxe Editions to 3,500 units on Nintendo Switch, 2,500 units on PlayStation 4. This is part of what we will be changing when we exit our soft launch phase and enter our hard launch phase or ‘grand opening’ on May 26. I suppose the cat’s outta’ the bag now, ‘eh? However, when it comes to our Standard Edition games, we will NOT be placing a limit on the number of Standard Editions available.”
The Deluxe Editions are put together with Physicality Games and the developer or publisher working together to make the release right for all parties. The team mentions that their “heart and soul” has gone into creating the Deluxe Edition, and that is going to be their standard.
We ended the interview by asking if there’s anything that the team would like to share with fans of physical media.
Bruno: To our awesome early adopters: I’d like to say thank you from the bottom of my heart. I consider y’all part of the PG family, and your support won’t be forgotten. We’ll be looking for fun, new ways to reward our “founding” members down the line, so if you haven’t already joined our community and created a profile, now is the perfect time to do so. Developing Physicality Games has been an interesting experience.
When I take a look at the rough sketch of the site, I made on a piece of paper back in early February of last year, and then I look at the site now, it’s absolutely amazing to see just how far the site has come! It has been 15 very long, hard months of work – lots of days working from 9:00 am into the early hours of the following morning. But we’re all extremely proud of the site and what we’ve been able to accomplish thus far…and we’re just getting started! Again, to everyone who has already gotten their pre-orders in: you rock! To those who are on the fence: we hope to see you on the site soon, and we think you’re going to like what we’ve got in store for you.
Swartz: Thank you for your support. We do this for you, and if there is anything else you’d like to see from us, please let us know! Just drop us a note on Facebook, on Twitter @PhysicalityGame, or write us directly at [email protected].