People will ultimately consume their games digitally, says EA

2 min read


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.

Read  EA doesn’t believe we’ll see disc-free console any time soon

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.

  • Viper_ZA

    I still fancy a hard copy, at a decent price, any day of the week…

    • Original Heretic

      Old school, hell yeah.

    • I once had a dvd drive fail in my PS3. Could only play digital or fork out 2k for a new drive. So going digital is the new way of life.

      Even though I will miss smelling that new cd case smell.

      • Viper_ZA

        Doesn’t EA have some clause for you not “owning” the games as such? Or would that apply to Steam as well? I do like mixing it up and my ratio for buying is probably in the region of 7:3. Steam sales are irresistable and I just had to buy BF1 UE last night with the Origin Store offering 30% off. To each their own I guess? 😀

        • Lu

          Even with physical media you never “own” it.

          • Viper_ZA

            True, but somehow I think EA will pull a fast one whereby one day you won’t have access to anything on Origin anyway? They just seem to be that kinda company.

          • Lu

            Meh. Considering the amount of digital dust on my origin library it wouldn’t bug me in the least. And should they do so I don’t think even Fifa XX will be able to keep them afloat against the boycotts.

          • Viper_ZA

            That’s fine with me too, because I am sure somewhere down the line Steam will consume ALL. Gabe can have my money, just give me HL3 before I die!

          • Lu

            Hahaha If steam could consume Origin and U{Don’t}Play I would be very happy. HL3 will actually happen once the combine actually invade earth. The ultimate gaming experience.

        • Yea I also caved for BF1 on the offer.

      • Lu

        They should totally have that as a Glade spray. “New Cd Case”

        • Original Heretic

          *sniff sniff* smell the cancer!

          • Lu

            I said cd case not League of Legends XD

    • Captain JJ

      Yea, it’s much nicer, but only for titles that are special.

    • HairyEwok

      In the not so distant future hard copies will become the collector’s edition you pay extra for.

    • 40 Insane Frogs

      Amen brother!

  • Alien Emperor Trevor

    And the rise of cars killed the horse industry. It’s the price of progress. Adapt or die.

    If you want me to go to all the trouble of going to your store and buying from you, you need to provide me something that I can’t do for myself on the internet while sitting in my room without pants on, especially when that’s also cheaper.

    • Original Heretic

      Please, let’s not speak about you being pantsless….

      • Alien Emperor Trevor

        Is it because of my sock tan?

    • Lu

      Couldn’t have said it better myself. Especially since after putting on pants, driving, looking for parking, traversing a crowded mall, buying the game and rushing home I have to download the entire damn game anyway. I’d rather pay R100 extra digitally and skip the admin.

    • Skyblue

      Rofl, totally agree though!

  • Original Heretic

    It’s going to be tough for SA to become completely digital with game purchases. Until our internet speeds and prices are up to scratch, we can’t do it.

    • Nikola

      Pretty much but it is getting better Fiber is becoming more and more available I think in 5 years most of us will have it…I am still waiting on mine:(

      • Original Heretic

        The area I stay in doesn’t even have fiber yet, I’ve looked into it.
        And I’ve been trying to Telkom out to come and sort out my ADSL line for about 6 months now, still without luck.
        So yeah, five years might actually be when they finally decide to grace me with their illustrious service.

        • Nikola

          I feel you man, apparently my complex is getting fiber installed “early next year”… don’t trust them for shit…had Telkom LTE cancelled it absolute crap..

          • Original Heretic

            I have Cell C LTE. And I get better speeds with Vodacom 3G.

  • This headline would have been far cooler had it simply been “People will ultimately consume their games”

    • Original Heretic

      Om nom nom?

      • The ultimate VR experience.

        Play it, see it, feel it, eat it

    • Alien Emperor Trevor

      Ready Steady Cook?

    • Viper_ZA

      That’s what my other half told me a few days ago, considering we won’t be having any roast this Christmas xD

  • iusedtobe(a)regular

    EA said the exact same thing last generation but I doubt digital will surpass that 50% of physical sales any time soon or in the next 5 years as they predict, one of the main reasons are trade-in value, something we all know they are trying hard to wipe-out so I think EAs prediction is more hope than anything else.

  • Captain JJ

    Yea, pity EA stops support for their Origin games after a while and you end up with titles you can never play again.
    I’ve gone full digital, only I’m avoiding anything EA.

  • Captain JJ

    I don’t even have a rom drive in my pc, so there’s really no other option even.

  • BakedBagel

    >EA says A
    >Consumer’s should do B

    F EA. they dont care about anything else than a profit margin.

  • Bruce Bielie

    An EA article with a steam header image? Come on Geoff! Are you even trying??? 😛

  • Kpanteh

    Tell that to my cousin and his collection next to his Gundam models, only games he’s brought digitally are God Eater games for PS4, and the SAO games and that’s only cause of the deal.

  • DragonSpirit009

    I get digital is on the rise these days… But I still like to have a hard copy. But for someone like me who has limited connection it sucks sometimes.

  • Magoo

    I wonder how much that margin would increases for PC only. I assume you’re talking about both platforms of gaming?

  • 40 Insane Frogs

    Never! You will never take my disks away!!

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