Electronic Arts Exec Says Boxed Games Are Here To Stay

Electronic Arts Exec Says Boxed Games Are Here To Stay

Blake Jorgensen

The chief financial officer of Electronic Arts says digital will dominate but the market for video games in boxes will always be around too.

Electronic Arts has for some time now been a big booster of a digital future for video games. EA Labels President Frank Gibeau went so far as to say a couple of years ago that it would someday be "a 100 percent digital company, period." It was a bold statement but not beyond the realm of belief, but today EA is softening that stance a little bit.

Speaking at the 2014 Wedbush Transformational Technologies Management Access Conference, EA CFO Blake Jorgensen affirmed the publisher's commitment to digital, driven by both mobile and microtransaction-based free-to-play releases. In fact, he said that "paid downloads" represent a very small part of EA's business these days, and he expects them to eventually disappear entirely.

"At the end of the day, the consumer expects to get the game experience on a mobile device for free, and they know they can grow that experience over time by monetizing or continuing to play for free," he said. "And you're going to see a little bit of both of those, but I do think the upfront fee for downloading is probably slowly disappearing."

What he doesn't expect to go away, ironically, are games in boxes. "I think the physical business from a publishing standpoint obviously will always be around," he said. "Right now people still buy physical records, even though most of us probably don't. At the end of the day, we'll probably always have a physical business and retailers will always be around as a way for discovery and interaction for consumers. But I do think the consumers will find themselves more and more buying digitally, and the process of buying is less about the actual game and more about the experience over time."

Jorgensen's stance is reflected in today's announcement of the Dragon Age: Inquisition Inquisitor's Edition, a monstrous, $170 limited edition box aimed squarely at fans who want more than just the game. That's the future of physical media as I see it (and, I suspect, as Jorgensen does): smaller, more expensive and catering to a niche clientele who believes that statues of Max Payne and Geralt qualify as tasteful decor. The supremacy of discs and boxes is over, but as long as there are people prepared to pay big bucks for specialized collector's editions, they'll never go away entirely.

Source: GamesIndustry

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Wow, everyone's changing their tune today huh?
First Microsoft now Eaaa...wait a minute the last time these two seemed to be playing nice with us the Xbone was pulled on us. I'm nervous...

Because if there's any company with its sights firmly set on the future, its EA.

Chester Rabbit:
Wow, everyone's changing their tune today huh?
First Microsoft now Eaaa...wait a minute the last these two seemed to be playing nice with us the Xbone was pulled on us. I'm nervous...

EA and Microsoft are playing nice, that's 2 signs of the apocalypse right there. I fear what will happen within the next month's time.

Chester Rabbit:
Wow, everyone's changing their tune today huh?
First Microsoft now Eaaa...wait a minute the last these two seemed to be playing nice with us the Xbone was pulled on us. I'm nervous...

Something horrible must be coming at E3. They are just trying to soften the blow...

On a more serious note, I'm happy to hear that the industry titans aren't pushing for 100% digital anymore. I'm currently on day 2 of downloading 12GB worth of FFXIV. There is no telling how long it would have taken me to download Titanfall and BF4 (50GB each) had I not been able to find disc copies. Stupid American ISPs... *grumble grumble*

"The game experience"
Wait, EA mobile software has a game attached to it? Since when?

Cow Clicker wasn't Citizen Kane, EA, it's closer to "The Day the Casual Market Stood Still"

So that means if you want a disc in a couple of years from now on, you'll have to buy horribly overpriced CE's.

That...doesn't really make it this much better.

Church185:

Chester Rabbit:
Wow, everyone's changing their tune today huh?
First Microsoft now Eaaa...wait a minute the last these two seemed to be playing nice with us the Xbone was pulled on us. I'm nervous...

Something horrible must be coming at E3. They are just trying to soften the blow...

On a more serious note, I'm happy to hear that the industry titans aren't pushing for 100% digital anymore. I'm currently on day 2 of downloading 12GB worth of FFXIV. There is no telling how long it would have taken me to download Titanfall and BF4 (50GB each) had I not been able to find disc copies. Stupid American ISPs... *grumble grumble*

Sorry to hear it's taking so long to download your game.

OT: Church185's sad tale is namely the main reason why I try and stick to boxed games as much as I can. Namely, due to crappy ISP's and the fear that god forbid my hard drive dies I'd lose everything on it as to right now when I'd just lose the saved game data and trophies I've gotten. That and.. I just like looking at all the boxes I have stack in neat little rows on my shelf. :D

"At the end of the day, the consumer expects to get the game experience on a mobile device for free, and they know they can grow that experience over time by monetizing or continuing to play for free,"

I think EA is moving into that realm of "Micro-transaction interface publisher" rather than game publisher. I don't recognize many mobile experiences. They are beginning to border on not being games and their creators are acting less and less like gaming companies.

Even if the internet isn't screwed over by the current FCC corruption, there are still people in rural areas around the world and also people always on the move like militaries and traveling contract workers who want games but can't download new ones or connect even for a minute for Draconian "I don't trust that you're going to pirate this game as soon as we disconnect" always online DRM.

Boxed games might someday be like records and super audio cd/ DVD/ audio blurays. Collectors like the feel and nostalgia of an item like a vinyl record or CD and audiophiles hate the lossy formats available in online music stores. There already game collectors and guys who hate the quality[1] and some of download services offered by game companies.

[1] Complaints include difficulty transfering content to another device (if at all) and content being tied to one device with the risk of all of it being lost if the device dies(Oh Hai, Nintendo).

Once both consoles take the leap and go full digital only, then EA will follow. Only problem with digitally downloading games on consoles that it costs the same or more than buying disc.

This news doesn't matter at all for regular edition copies, since everything is still going to require Origin to run anyway. Kinda defeats one of the primary reasons for buying physical copies.

Same goes for games that require Steam, or uPlay, or whatever.

I wonder how many shares of company stock Blake Jorgensen has sold recently...

http://www.marketwatch.com/story/electronic-arts-insider-selling-sounds-alarm-2014-05-13

Tuesday Night Fever:
This news doesn't matter at all for regular edition copies, since everything is still going to require Origin to run anyway. Kinda defeats one of the primary reasons for buying physical copies.

Same goes for games that require Steam, or uPlay, or whatever.

It allows people not to have to download 50 gigabytes of a game and someone like me who has been screwed over by their government to allow for ridiculously low bandwidth caps for many years it won't mean they have to sacrifice paying more money for extra bandwidth or changing their internet usage for a month.

Church185:

Chester Rabbit:
Wow, everyone's changing their tune today huh?
First Microsoft now Eaaa...wait a minute the last these two seemed to be playing nice with us the Xbone was pulled on us. I'm nervous...

On a more serious note, I'm happy to hear that the industry titans aren't pushing for 100% digital anymore. I'm currently on day 2 of downloading 12GB worth of FFXIV. There is no telling how long it would have taken me to download Titanfall and BF4 (50GB each) had I not been able to find disc copies. Stupid American ISPs... *grumble grumble*

Even if they pushed for 100% digital sales, it'd be at least 50 years before it actually occurred. ISP's, especially US ones, need to seriously up their bandwidth to make completely digital possible. Right now, Google is the only ISP looking to the future.

God damn it EA, it really doesn't take much to make people like Digital goods over Physical ones. You just have to get rid of your shitty DRM practices, and I mean completely get rid of it, after that get rid of those insane prices and crazy free-to-pay schemes and that's all it takes to make a better product. Or at least a better way to sell a product, the product itself still needs to be made by competent developers, whom you would do well to leave alone and not force your idiocy upon. But we all know you're never gonna do any of that, you're too chickenshit for something that bold and forward thinking. You don't want to see a glorious future because you are firmly stuck in the past.

I hope you fucking die EA. I hope to one day read the news of angry mobs burning down your offices to the ground and cannibalizing all who work there, it will be a day of celebration.

Hang on a minute...why is this guy talking like the only peeps buying physical copies are the "nichè" collectors edition crowd? Me and most people i know depend on physical copies, we certainly dont give a shit about over-priced figurines. What universe is this guy living in? Also shouldnt we be encouraging NON agrophobic behaviour?

Damn it EA. This news title had me prepped for some positive stuff. Guess i shouldve known better

Total bull, where are all the boxed PC games now? Boxed console games are headed out right behind them.

Who's listening to EA anyway, they run their business like an evil corporation as personified in an 80's Disney flick where children have to somehow fight against an evil corporation to save their parent's jobs.

Church185:

Chester Rabbit:
Wow, everyone's changing their tune today huh?
First Microsoft now Eaaa...wait a minute the last these two seemed to be playing nice with us the Xbone was pulled on us. I'm nervous...

Something horrible must be coming at E3. They are just trying to soften the blow...

On a more serious note, I'm happy to hear that the industry titans aren't pushing for 100% digital anymore. I'm currently on day 2 of downloading 12GB worth of FFXIV. There is no telling how long it would have taken me to download Titanfall and BF4 (50GB each) had I not been able to find disc copies. Stupid American ISPs... *grumble grumble*

Yeah and its not just the time it takes to download in the US. As bad as it is now the cable companies are trying to impose data caps just like the cell phones. With the way the FCC is talking I expect the cables companies will get away with it too. I think the odds are good that discs might actually make some comeback. unless google fiber comes to my town I doubt I'll ever even try to download a full size ps4/xbo game.

Valderis:
God damn it EA, it really doesn't take much to make people like Digital goods over Physical ones. You just have to get rid of your shitty DRM practices, and I mean completely get rid of it, after that get rid of those insane prices and crazy free-to-pay schemes and that's all it takes to make a better product. Or at least a better way to sell a product, the product itself still needs to be made by competent developers, whom you would do well to leave alone and not force your idiocy upon. But we all know you're never gonna do any of that, you're too chickenshit for something that bold and forward thinking. You don't want to see a glorious future because you are firmly stuck in the past.

I hope you fucking die EA. I hope to one day read the news of angry mobs burning down your offices to the ground and cannibalizing all who work there, it will be a day of celebration.

I doubt it's just EA out of the blue changing it's tune (though it wouldn't surprise me). With all the kerffufle about the net neutrality laws, Netflix taking it up the ass by one of the mega-ISP's and the gradual realization that Americas generally shitty internet isn't getting any better its not surprising that companies are beginning to abandon an Always Online future.

As bad as Gamestop is at taking a cut of the profit, the likes of Comcast and co would be much worse.

Ed130 The Vanguard:

I doubt it's just EA out of the blue changing it's tune (though it wouldn't surprise me). With all the kerffufle about the net neutrality laws, Netflix taking it up the ass by one of the mega-ISP's and the gradual realization that Americas generally shitty internet isn't getting any better its not surprising that companies are beginning to abandon an Always Online future.

As bad as Gamestop is at taking a cut of the profit, the likes of Comcast and co would be much worse.

Thank you, that had not yet occurred to me, funny considering the amount I hear on those subjects.

Whatever the future holds, its going to be a shitty time for the common folk.

Of course all that only affects people in America, EA has no such excuse in Europe. Not that its an excuse at all for a horrible service.

Sanunes:

Tuesday Night Fever:
This news doesn't matter at all for regular edition copies, since everything is still going to require Origin to run anyway. Kinda defeats one of the primary reasons for buying physical copies.

Same goes for games that require Steam, or uPlay, or whatever.

It allows people not to have to download 50 gigabytes of a game and someone like me who has been screwed over by their government to allow for ridiculously low bandwidth caps for many years it won't mean they have to sacrifice paying more money for extra bandwidth or changing their internet usage for a month.

Except even that's a moot point when many of these AAA games already have huge multi-gigabyte patches that need to be downloaded immediately upon installation anyway. Given that games are getting larger and the storage capacity of a DVD isn't, this might actually get worse over time.

EDIT:

Make no mistake, I'm very much pro-physical copy. The overwhelming majority of media I buy is physical. It just kinda grinds my gears that even the physical copies still require the owner to have a half dozen digital stores installed on their computers before they can play.

No other form of media treats its consumers with as much disrespect, and we constantly let these guys get away with it. Hell, we usually praise them for treating us like crap.

of course all digital is not possible. its going to conitinue not being possible as long as internet is allwed to be controlled by greed from ISPs. they have the infrastructure, they just dont want to let you use it.

Strawb:
Right now, Google is the only ISP looking to the future.

you mean google is the only ISP that is looking at last decade while still charging more than i paid for same service 5 years ago? I mean its good they are taking the steps and all but lets not act like they are spearheading anything.

Sanunes:
It allows people not to have to download 50 gigabytes of a game and someone like me who has been screwed over by their government to allow for ridiculously low bandwidth caps for many years it won't mean they have to sacrifice paying more money for extra bandwidth or changing their internet usage for a month.

you dont ever need to download 50 GBs of game though. even the Titanfall download actually was around 20 GB when compressed and it would uncompress it locally, just like every download service does nowadays. Titanfall was a fluke anyway, why would you need uncompressed audio nowadays is beyond me, unless you are using a 10 year old technology, cough, old consoles, cough.

SonOfVoorhees:
Once both consoles take the leap and go full digital only, then EA will follow. Only problem with digitally downloading games on consoles that it costs the same or more than buying disc.

That, and it takes forever to download stuff. I can manage to download some demoes, but when i downloaded Remember Me it took around 8 hours and that wasn't much more than 5GB. Maybe i don't have the best internet, but it's not THAT bad, i'd say it's just about average for what most people in Denmark got. So i'm guessing it would take around 3-4 days to download one single game on the new consoles.

I think this fits perfectly with this opinion

Sure, boxed games will be around, just as vinyl records are still around

Andy Chalk:
digital will dominate

To be fair, analogue computers have never really been as popular for gaming.

 

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