The end days are upon us. Stock up on dehydrated food goods and batten down the hatches. Okay, maybe it’s not that extreme, but time they are a’changing and it’s going to have a serious impact on a range of gamers.
According to the good people of Super Data, digital distribution continues to grow. We already looked at how much it grew in the past month and how it might affect E3 in the future. However, there’s a whole lot more at play.
EA and Activision both surpassed the 50% mark for digital vs physical sales for the year. While we’ve seen from quarter to quarter that digital can surpass physical, the data for the full year is pretty staggering. Just last year, EA and Activision were at 45% and 42% respectively for the digital percentage of total earnings. This year? 52% and 51%. Take-Two and Ubisoft are also seeing the shift towards digital; last year they took in 18% and 19% respectively in digital versus physical, but this year it’s already up to 37% and 29%.
What does this mean for consumers? Well, in theory, it should mean more convenience as everything goes digital. No need to swap discs, everything will be downloaded and stored on your hard drive or in the cloud. However, long term, there could be some much more dire consequences.
Could this translate into new strategies for local distributors, or will they be forced into decline, leading to fewer local events? Will a shift in spending translate to changes in gaming media and focus? In the same way the eReaders changed the book publishing industry, and the internet completely revolutionised the way musicians are able to make money, it may be time for gaming to change its model. Publishers will probably still continue to see profits soar, but I’m curious how it will affect everyone else in the industry, and if consumers will see products that are better or worse as a result.
Last Updated: June 12, 2015