The full-priced retail game might not disappear until after the next generation of consoles, but it will eventually. Major franchises like Call of Duty will continue to move huge quantities through ever-expanding brand recognition, but new or lesser known intellectual property is doomed to either flounder or catastrophically fail if they’re sitting on a store shelf bearing a prohibitively high price tag.
More and more games these days are being sold with ‘digital download only’ copies which makes you wonder how much longer will it be before we start seeing all games sold this way.
Blizzard are already doing it, the Steam platform on the PC has been around a while and becoming more and more popular and the console landscape is really the only place left for publishers to make a stand. Even consoles have downloadable games now via the XBOX Live Arcade, PlayStation Network, etc.
It will still be at least a few years before we see all games ship this way, but those without a solid internet connection will unfortunately be left in the dark with no good option to purchase new games, and that is truly a shame. It will be because of this reason, and likely this reason alone that publishers will continue to ship physical media. The question is, when will the switch happen?