Publisher Warner Bros. has confirmed that the upcoming Batman: Arkham Knight title will not be receiving a physical release for Windows in the UK, being instead distributed exclusively via digital distribution.
The latest entry in developer Rocksteady Studio's Batman: Arkham franchise which began with 2009's Batman: Arkham Asylum, Batman: Arkham Knight follows the titular hero as he confronts villain The Scarecrow. While building on the existing titles, the game is eagerly anticipated by fans thanks to the addition of the Batmobile as the first driveable vehicle in the series, new combat mechanics including Fear Takedowns for stealth gamers, and the introduction of the character of the Arkham Knight which was created specifically for the game by Geoff Johns and Jim Lee.
Having been scheduled for release last year but delayed twice, the game is due to arrive in the UK on the 23rd of June - but will do so without the option of a physical purchase, at least for the Windows variant. Speaking to trade press site MCV
late last week, Warner Bros. confirmed that while a Windows physical release is on the cards on North America, the UK will see only the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 ports on shop shelves. Windows gamers eager to play the title, the unnamed spokesperson explained, will need to purchase the game as a digital download with no option for a physical disc.
Neither Warner Bros. nor developer Rocksteady has explained why the UK market is being restricted to digital download, but it is like the UK is serving as a test market for a future withdrawal from physical distribution. Previous Warner Bros. titles, including those in the Batman: Arkham franchise, have come with in-box redemption codes designed to stifle second-hand sales; a move away from resalable physical copies to account-locked downloads is a logical next step.
Batman: Arkham Knight launches on Windows, Xbox One and PlayStation 4 on the 23rd of June, assuming there are no further delays to its launch schedule.