EA Will Eventually Go 100% Digital

By William Usher 2012-07-03 16:11:44 discussion comments
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Forget hard copies, physical media or the potential discovery of disc-locked content, EA wants to bypass all of that and embrace a truly digital future. In a new interview with GameIndustry.biz, EA's label president lets it all hang out on how they want to maximize the most for the minimum.

According to Frank Gibeau, EA is going all-out on the digital front, with the label president saying...
"It's in the near future. It's coming. We have a clear line of sight on it and we're excited about it. Retail is a great channel for us. We have great relationships with our partners there. At the same time, the ultimate relationship is the connection that we have with the gamer. If the gamer wants to get the game through a digital download and that's the best way for them to get it, that's what we're going to do. It has a lot of enhancements for our business. It allows us to keep more that we make. It allows us to do some really interesting things from a service level standpoint; we can be a lot more personalized with what we're doing,"

I love that line "It allows us to keep more that we make." because obviously there is no resale on digital trades, thus completely cutting off the used game market...right? Wrong.

The only thing EA will be cutting down on is shipping and manufacturing costs as a distributor. They'll still have to deal with used games thanks to a new European Union law that overthrows single-user copyright ownership laws for digital media. In other words, over in the EU you can trade digital games or resell them, according to Blues News.

Nevertheless, that probably won't stop EA from doing what they do best and finding ways to screw people over. Just like you can trade in hard copies of a game right now but features like the multiplayer are completely useless due to Online Passes. You can bet your bottom dollar these kind of shenanigans will pervade their "100% digital" experience to keep resale as low as possible. Could you imagine if the movie industry did that?

Regardless, Gibeau is only concerned about the emerging markets, the potential revenue streams from established markets and the absolutely undeniable growth of the industry as a whole. EA will continue to support the retail chain for as long as it proves to be profitable.

However, when GI.biz hits the president of labels with the cold hard facts that the retail AAA industry isn't faring so well on the NPD charts, and points to the decline in year-over-year sales as we pointed out in a recent article we published, Gibeau waves it off with slight indignation, saying...
We're more focused on our services and how we're connected with consumers. The number of Nucleus accounts we're growing, the amount of engagement time that we have, the amount of services that we're running - those are more important metrics for us than unit sales according to NPD and North America. So your original question is about what comes next. It's growing. It's booming. It's big. Things are good. If cloud and streaming come on line at scale, we'll be in the position to do it and we're excited about it."

Well I'm glad Frank is excited because obviously investors are not and gamers aren't too happy either.

You can check out the full interview with EA's label president Frank Gibeau over at GameIndustry.biz International.
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