Physical retail shops will be gone in ten years, says EA

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Grumpier01

We all know the drill. New games usually release on a Friday, which means that we’ll head down to our local shop or distributor, mingle with some familiar faces and pick up the hot new release of the week. But in ten years time, we might not even leave our couches, as those shops could be a thing of the past.

Talking to CVG, EA executive vice president Eric Soderlund believes that the long-term future of gaming will see consumers favour digital over physical, for the games. “I think [the switch will] be sooner than people think,” said Soderlund.

I think it’s going to be sooner than ten years. That’s my personal opinion, and might not be what EA thinks.

We know that packaged goods work, and the majority of our current revenue comes from that. That’s still a viable business mode. In the long term, we’ll see more and more people gravitate to downloaded content. I happen to think that there’s something about physical content, like books, that’s collectable and satisfying to own. I still want physical content but I’m not part of the new generation of gamers.

Looking back five years and looking at today, there is such a vast difference to how I consume entertainment and how I connect with people. We just have to embrace these changes rather than be afraid of them.

Soderlund believes that embracing that change is what will keep EA relevant, and allow them to adapt for the future. “I absolutely believe that’s the case,” Soderlund said. And he has a point.

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Granted, we’re most likely to be resistant to the idea of not physically owning the medium that our titles arrive on, but the younger gamers out there are already used to downloading games, storing them digitally. And while that time-frame may turn out to be accurate in first-world nations, I don’t see that happening any time soon in our neighbourhood.

That, and no one is going to buy digital games from EA until they finally make their Origin service worthwhile. Still, Steam has set a precedent for digital distribution, and I can see myself as a crotchety old man, chasing away future hipsters who are after my classic games such as Final Fantasy XVIII and Call Of Duty: Bayslposion Ops, so that they can make ironic jewellery.

Damn future-hipsters, gerroff mah lawn!

Last Updated: August 22, 2012

Darryn Bonthuys

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