EA Chief Sees a Digital Future

EA Chief Sees a Digital Future

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Electronic Arts boss John Riccitiello says the publisher plans to significantly reduce the number of boxed games it releases next year and will focus more heavily on growing the digital side of its business in the future.

A reduction in the number of titles it releases might seem to make sense given the hard times that have fallen on EA, but the cutbacks planned for 2010 actually appear to be more of a continuation of a long-term trend. The publisher released more than 60 boxed games in 2008 but only 50 this year; for 2010, the plan is to put out 40 and Riccitiello suggested that number could be cut even further as the market continues to change.

"30 wouldn't shock me at some point in the future," Riccitiello said yesterday at the Reuters Global Media Summit. "We're the world's leader in packaged goods games, we make more of them than anybody. We're not suggesting that business is going away... [but] there's this other thing that's growing."

"It's our goal for that [digital] business to be as important as, and over time maybe more important than, our packaged goods business," he added.

The statement echoes comments Riccitiello made in a Reuters interview in which he pointed out that digital revenues now account for almost half of the videogame industry. "When people think of games they traditionally think of the Xbox, the PlayStation and the Wii, and they forget about all these online services that are out there - subscription, microstransactions, games they find on Facebook or if they go to Pogo," he said. "If you add all that stuff up, it's almost half of the industry now. It's about 40-45 per cent. Next year it's likely to be a larger share of the total industry and it'll be bigger than the console games all put together."

"If EA's digital business were a stand alone company it would be the darling of Wall Street," he continued. "It's in a larger company right now, but we're building it very quickly and our goal at Electronic Arts is to have a very profitable packaged goods business, but also to have a digital business of a similar scale over time."

Sources: Edge, GamesIndustry

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I'm assuming by 'Digital business' he means, 'nickle and diming us for everything'

Sigh... Goodbye, new game smell. I shall meet you again in gaming heaven...

DOES NOT WANT.
I dont mind having Download games, the wii, 360, and DSi are doing it great in my opinion but, nothing beats owning a hard copy of the game.

Until they figure out how to sell used digital games, I'm not buying. I was looking at the Games on Demand recently and most are still $30 like Saint's Row 2. I can get one used on Amazon for less than $20, and even some sellers have new ones for about $22.

Digital distribution is just another way of saying cornering the market. Of course, if they follow the lead of Steam and do weekend deals, it might make me interested once again, but we are talking EA here.

If digital distribution had been around in 1982, there would be much less clutter in a New Mexico landfill.

Whilst I agree digital downloading is probably the future, I see problems with it in the here and now from a business point of view; specifically, how are you going to get non-enthuiast gamers to buy games online? I presume the majority of them don't constantly watch the market channels and so forth frequently enough to match their impulse buying becase of box art.

CantFaketheFunk:
If digital distribution had been around in 1982, there would be much less clutter in a New Mexico landfill.

Sadly true. I just wish digital downloads wheren't the same price as retail 90% of the time.

Sadly, this is but one more nail in the coffin for my third favorite hobby. I will give up gaming entirely rather than buy digital copies of games. No disc, no sale, no compromise.

I've always been a physical copy person myself, but there is no escaping the future. I'd be happy if this stunning realization by EA means that there might be other realizations about crippling their games prior to releasing them or preying on their user base like carrion birds, but I won't hold my breath.

Quesa:
but there is no escaping the future.

Tell that to South Carolina...
Oh Snap!

Gigaguy64:
DOES NOT WANT.
I dont mind having Download games, the wii, 360, and DSi are doing it great in my opinion but, nothing beats owning a hard copy of the game.

Agreed. 100%. I like having a physical, hard copy of whatever I own...as we all know terrible things can happen to digital data.

All the sports games should now be handled as DLC. It is the same game with minor improvements and a different roster every year. So let's stop wasting plastic and turn new games into 20 dollar DLC. To make it worthwhile, make the start up cost 100 dollars or something.

Jaredin:

Gigaguy64:
DOES NOT WANT.
I dont mind having Download games, the wii, 360, and DSi are doing it great in my opinion but, nothing beats owning a hard copy of the game.

Agreed. 100%. I like having a physical, hard copy of whatever I own...as we all know terrible things can happen to digital data.

sniff....sniff.
i know that pain all to well.

Yeah it's just like with locking save files. I like to go over to a friend's house and say "hey, look at this game." With a locked save file and a digital copy, there's no hope for doing that. We should be long passed the days of having to lug our entire system over to a friends house just to play.

 

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