People will ultimately consume their games digitally, says EA

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I seldom head out to a retail store to buy games these days. Heck, I seldom buy them from online retailers anymore either. When I buy my games, I tend to grab them directly from a first party digital store. Steam, PSN and Xbox Store have become the places where I get most of my gaming. Right now, reports suggest that digital purchases account for about 30% of the industry’s new game, but that’s something that’s only likely to increase.

According to EA, digital is going to dominate. So says EA CFO Blake Jorgensen, speaking to investors.

“Like in books, music, film, and TV, we see that the consumer will ultimately consume [games] digitally,” Jorgensen said.

He predicts that within 5 years, digital will account for half of new game sales – and it’s all down to convenience. Of course, retail is still very important right now, but that’s not likely to stay the case forever.

“We’re careful to continue to work with our retail partners; they are very important in the mix, but we’re also ultimately trying to be where the consumer ultimately wants to consume the product,” he said.

It may be more bandwidth intensive, but as higher speeds and bandwidth become more commonplace, it’ll just be quicker, easier and often cheaper to buy digitally.

“Like everything else, the consumer is ultimately going to default to convenience,” he said. “If it’s a choice of getting in the car and driving to the store and the weather is bad outside, if you want to download it, I think you’ll see more people do that.”

Unfortunately for us in South Africa, the rise in digital will only help cripple our industry, which heavily relies on third-party distributors. The more people buy their games from digital storefronts, the less reason there is for said distributors to keep their doors open.

Last Updated: December 13, 2016

Geoffrey Tim

Editor. I'm old, grumpy and more than just a little cynical. One day, I found myself in possession of a NES, and a copy of Super Mario Bros 3. It was that game that made me realise that games were more than just toys to idly while away time - they were capable of being masterpieces. I'm here now, looking for more of those masterpieces.

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