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Overview

Final Fantasy VIII Original Soundtrack CD cover

Video games, not unlike movies, have their soundtracks released for consumers to purchase. These games have their music released either on a CD, vinyl or a digital medium. These soundtracks can also be obtained through collector's editions (such as the Lunar games and Bioshock 2) while other soundtracks, such as the Super Smash Bros. Melee soundtrack, can be obtained through Nintendo Power or other magazines. Some soundtracks have also been issued with music that has been remixed or arranged.

The largest market for video game soundtracks is Japan, where it is not uncommon for video game soundtrack albums to appear in the charts. Examples include the Final Fantasy VIII soundtrack (over 300,000 sales) and its single "Eyes on Me" (over 500,000 sales), or the Kingdom Hearts single "Hikari" (nearly 1 million sales).

Formats

Over the years that video game soundtracks have been released, they have done so across multiple different formats.

CDs

Gears of War 3 Soundtrack CD Cover

There are many video game soundtracks that have been released on CD format. Many of these soundtracks have been made available in retail stores. Some of the CD based soundtracks have also been released through special promotions or included as pre-order or collectors edition bonuses. Many video game soundtracks are released on CD in Japan only. Some of the best-selling soundtrack CDs are from the Final Fantasy series.

Vinyl

Limited Edition Red Dead Vinyl

A small percentage of video game soundtracks have been made available on vinyl. Some of these vinyl have been made available to purchase in limited numbers ( Red Dead Redemption) while others were included with special collectors editions ( Bioshock 2). Soundtracks of early Atari games such as Missile Command were also made avaliable on vinyl. Once again, the majority of video game soundtrack vinyl releases are from Japan.

Cassettes

Donkey Kong Country 2 OST Tape

There have been some video games that have had their soundtracks released on cassette tapes. Soundtracks on cassette are rarer than those of the other formats due to the cassettes relatively short lifespan as a music medium. Most video game soundtracks released on cassette are from the mid 90's, and Japan saw the bulk of the cassette soundtracks released.

Digital

Plants Vs. Zombies soundtrack, exclusive digital release

Video game soundtracks are now most commonly released digitally as mp3 files. They can be purchased through a number of digital music stores including iTunes and Napster, or along with the games on digital game sites, such as Steam. Other game music artists will sell their music directly. Some games make their soundtracks available through the developers website (ex. 'Splosion Man). Indie game bundles such as the Humble Indie Bundle or Indie Royale bundles have included the soundtracks to the games found within. Certain bundles even focus solely on the music.

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