This month Disney made a big announcement -- they are discontinuing all Blu-ray and DVD production in Australia. This may come as a shock to many disc lovers, but physical media sales have actually been dwindling in the country for a few years. We're not certain if this announcement implies similar decisions in other countries in the future.
The company is instead going to focus on digital releases and their streaming service, Disney+. This change is effective immediately, so we can expect Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 3 to be the last disc release we see here.
Of course, the discontinuation applies to more than just Disney princess movies and Marvel blockbusters. Disney owns the rights to National Geographic, many big-name franchises like The Simpsons, Indiana Jones, and Star Wars, as well as the entire 20th Century Fox catalogue. The discontinuation means there won't be any further physical releases from any intellectual property relating to these franchises and all others owned by Disney.
Of course, with an easily accessible global market, it shouldn't be too difficult to get your hands on a Disney Blu-ray even after the discontinuation. But this might come at a cost. Those with dedicated DVD players may benefit from switching to a more versatile media player as the focal point of the home entertainment system instead.
We're pretty disappointed in Disney's announcement and what it could mean for the future of Blu-ray. We may be fulling relying on WiFi streaming in just a few years, and this has particularly gloomy implications for gamers. For those who love their 4K Blu-rays, start collecting them now, because we may be seeing a transition to a world of fully digital media.
It's not particularly surprising that big media companies like Disney will transition away from physical media. Physical discs cost money to produce and distribute, and encourage a larger market chain from production to consumer. Why go through all that when you can cut out the middle man and provide movies and TV shows directly to consumers through streaming apps? The hard truth is that physical media is less profitable for companies like Disney, so they don't have much incentive to produce it.