EA doesn’t like retail. EA loves retail.
While some developers are wetting themselves with excitement over the possibility of digital sales replacing brick-and-mortar retail as the premier game distribution method, publishers – EA in particular – are quite happy with how things are.
“Once we get that disk installed in the tray of an Xbox or a PS3, we then look at our consumer on an ARPU basis,” COO, Peter Moore, told Gamasutra. “We love what retail does for us. We love its ability to create massive launches and create excitement. GameStop probably sees three million hardcore gamers walk through their doors every day, and that’s a marketing opportunity for us.”
So why favor retail over digital distribution? Because of hackers and people without credit cards, apparently.
“A lot of our consumers don’t own credit cards. A lot of our consumers are still afraid of what happened to the PlayStation Network when 77 million accounts were accessed by Anonymous in 2011,” Moore explained. “A lot of our consumers prefer to go into retail buy those Xbox Live or PlayStation Network cards, and retail gets a very strong margin on that. For retail, if they can evolve to be not just a physical media purveyor, but a digital media purveyor, it’ll play a very strong role in our business going forward.”
His statements happen to coincide with rumors that Valve is about to start offering digital currency cards at retail.
Moore went on sing the praises of day-one DLC schemes. Despite the controversy that surrounds the issue, day-one DLC seems to sell consistently better than DLC released later in a title’s lifespan.
“The other key thing is selling digital content on the day of launch…When we sold Mass Effect 3 back in March, we saw a 40 percent attach rate that first week to DLC at GameStop in the United States. Not only are you selling a $60 game…you’re selling $20 DLC, so the sale becomes $80,” he explained.