American McGee has stared into a crystal ball (or something) and has seen a future without physical stores.
American McGee, the man best-known for his dark games like Alice, Grimm and Alice: Madness Returns has recently opened up about where he sees industry retailers heading, and the outlook sounds pretty grim. If McGee's prediction comes true, real-world stores will be replaced by online retailers.
Speaking to IndustryGamers, McGee explained that places like Best Buy have turned into "nothing more than places to fond physical goods you're going to buy online anyway."
As a result, big chains will probably need to get rid of their physical locations:
"In the (not so?) distant future there wouldn't be much need for a bricks-and-mortar retailer. Why waste resources on a physical location and unreliable employees when the entire experience can be made sharper, cleaner and more entertaining in the virtual representation?"
Accordingly, McGee also spoke about how he believes other developers and publishers will probably take a note from casual game makers, most likely adopting free-to-play models. On top of all this, believes that smaller titles made on a faster development timetables would allow game makers to target larger audiences.
While digital distribution has definitely proved itself as a viable way to sell games, stating that physical stores are going to vanish seems more like wishful thinking than anything else. That said, retail chains are going to have to change their tactics if they want to compete with the cheaper prices and wider inventory selections of their online competitors, and it'll be interesting to see what the end result turns out to be (spoiler alert: GameStop's recent handling of Deus Ex: Human Revolution will not be the model everyone else mimics).