EA Says Going 100% Digital Is ‘Inevitable’

EA Labels president Frank Gibeau says that EA will be 100% digital in the near future and that boxed retail copies will fall by the wayside. Gibeau says that the fastest growing segment of their business is digital and digital services. Nintendo announced a few months back that first-party and third-party software will be available digitally on the Nintendo 3DS and Wii U eShop.

“For us, the fastest growing segment of our business is clearly digital and clearly digital services and ultimately Electronic Arts, at some point in the future… we’re going to be a 100 percent digital company, period. It’s going to be there some day. It’s inevitable,” he went on to predict.”


68 thoughts on “EA Says Going 100% Digital Is ‘Inevitable’”

  1. In that case, I predict a 40% fall in gamers. Because not everybody lives in a place where you can get a Internet with SUCH a bandwidth. That’s why OnLive isn’t mentioned much anymore.

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    1. and as a matter of fact, many people just dont trust online trade, accounts and so on. they just wouldnt join anymore…

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      1. Agreed. That’s precisely why I won’t go completely digital. There are a few online retailers I trust, like Amazon, Steam, and Nintendo. However, I can’t trust the majority of people on the internet due to how many hackers and identity thieves that lurk it. Heck, I wouldn’t trust Sony with any of my info after what happened last year, which is why I refuse to give them my credit card info on PSN. They made no efforts to protect anyone from getting that info stolen, and it put a lot of peoples credit cards at risk. Microsoft is more trustworthy, but I don’t trust them either. Because once you enter your credit card info into your XBL account, you cant remove it. I know Microsoft is pretty good with keeping your info safe, and if youre at risk they’ll tell you. But the fact that I can’t get my credit card info off my account is bullshit. I’m partially digital on my games now, but I don’t want to go all digital. I still want boxed copies.

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        1. I understand you want hard copies, because I also share on this view. But the digital trend is most certainly inevitable. And as for your mistrust in Sony and other companies to get your CC info, that’s why retailers have prepaid cards. You can get a PSN cash card, or a Nintendo/Xbox Live point card and redeem it online on your system, all without having to give anyone your CC info. So this isn’t an issue at all. We’re strictly talking consoles though, so if you’re a PC gamer and everything is digital, then we have a problem, but consoles will always (or at least I hope) have redeemable point cards.

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    2. WRONG!! WRONG!! WRONG!!

      Gamers will not decline, because in those places which DO NOT currently have Internet or the Bandwidth, WILL do get their Internet and WILL do get enough Bandwidth as ISP’s upgrade to newer systems like Fibre Optic.

      Hell……if in 5 or 6 years it’ll all be full Fibre Optic with over 1000 GB/s, while some places the minimum bandwidth by ISP’s will probably be around 100 MB/s.

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      1. you say that but wear i live they say they have no plans to improver the bandwidth and at the moment the adverage is normaly less than 1mb/s

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        1. “the average is normally less than 1mb/s”
          where the hell do you live, man? That’s ridiculously low, that ain’t normal.

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          1. It happens in some places, where I live the highest bandwidth you can get (as a normal consumer) is 10MB/s, but it’s extremely expensive, I have 3MB/s and it’s consider high for some people.

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            1. True, but still the amount of people with this issue is relatively low. Sadly just a handful compared to the full amount of those who have full bandwith speeds isn’t enough to tell these companies to go full digital. Nevertheless I’m pretty sure bandwith is going to increase in the next 2 years, prices for 10MB/s connections have gone down considerably from 2 years ago, and in my area where in this time the highest available speeds were 6 MB/s are now 12 MB/s. The change is noticeable, and I’m willing to bet in another two years it’ll double, if not triple.

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      2. Speed it not the big issue. The real issue is data caps. I went through three ISP’s before I found one that was unlimited. I have had the same ISP for two years now and they just announced they are upping their speeds, but will also be adding a data cap of 30GB per month. That is just about 3 game downloads. With future looking like it is headed for pay per use data, the Digital only gaming will die, it’s inevitable.

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    1. I think if there are Special Edition’s it’ll be just that. You’ll have to order online a Special Edition copy of the game, which would actually make them FAR more valuable.

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    2. You’ll still get Special Editions, just means they send you DIRECTLY the special promotions when they launch special editions of games.

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  2. EA is a very stupid company. They deserve that worst company of the year award they got.

    Going 100% digital basically removes half of your buyers, and it highly diminishes free advertising in stores. Parent’s aren’t getting on an online shop to order a Christmas gift for their kids. That can’t even work. And half of gamers don’t even have internet, nor do they care to. And the other half of those that do have internet have slow internet that won’t download conveniently. Plus, nobody wants digital. It’s like buying nothing. They want a physical item that guarantees their ownership.

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    1. EA is a very SMART company, you sir, are a very STUPID person. Digital is the way to the future, and the decline of hard copy retails which you buy out the stores will probably alot smaller due to the fact that everybody wants to play that new game instantly when they can download the game they want right there and then and play strait away.

      People DO want digital, why do you think things like Steam is such a big success? It’s because people like it, and want it as their main store for new games. Having a physical item doesn’t guarantee their ownership, they are still bound by the game companies regulations of Copyright Act 1998, Having a digital copy doesn’t deteriorate, whereas hardcopy would over time.

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      1. Sure CDs, DVDs, BRs and cartridges do deteriorate, but while they work you can play it anytime you want. You don’t need the company to still be on business for you to play. And, if everything goes digital the next step will be cloud gaming. And if the company close doors you won’t have the game anymore.

        Here in Brazil we have a very similar case to this one. There were a nacional console, Zeebo. Every game was sold digitaly, but the sales didn’t go well and the closed the server. So, you can’t buy the games anymore or download then again, in case your flash card stop working.

        Digital is inevitable. But I like boxes and special editions. They could still sell special editions and the games could come in SD cards or pen drives. I wouldn’t mind that, since, well that’s what Vita and DS/3DS games are.

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      2. Play the game instantly?? LOL bud, I have a pretty good internet connection, and it took me 5 hours to download Dragon Age on PC vs going around the corner to my local GameStop and picking up my 360 version and coming back, which took 10 minutes.

        Here’s the facts. Digital is only convenient if you have a truely kick-ass internet connection, which not a lot of gamers have, but that’s the thing. With some people, digital is more convenient, but with just as many people retail is far more convenient. Digital and boxed need to co-exist, because if you recall, recent surveys show that the majority of gamers still prefer boxed copies, many of which said they’ll quit gaming if games go completely digital.

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        1. Gamers will never quit gaming, they will just stick with what they have. I already made the decision not to buy the next generation on consoles, unless it’s for the resale value.

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        2. Same here, took me nearly 12 hours to download a 13Gb game, thats before i installed it. Although i think thats just playstation, their downloads are always very slow

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      3. Haha are you kidding? I still have every one of my nes and snes games still working in nearly perfect condition I might add. Some are worth less than they were, but some have doubled, hell, tripled in value since I bought them in the 80s and 90s. I treasure my copy of Earthbound and Final Fantasy 3 way m

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        1. Exactly all my Nes games, Snes games, Cds, Tape cassettes, etc still work. Hell in CD cases it says if you treat your CDs with care they will last a lifetime.

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  3. ” we’re going to be a 100 percent digital company, period. It’s going to be there some day. It’s inevitable ”
    I really think that is not good …
    I love games with box and manual. I only buy games used if I get the box and all manual included.
    I love games taking the room in my shelves away.
    I hate to download games. Never did it but I know I will since my download speed 1mb/s max (http://www.Speedtest.net/ says so) but my speed is aways 125kb/s if I download stuff.
    I do not want to download a game 10 hours before I can start playing it. And then the hard drive of the console is full and you have to delete the game and then you need to download the game again if you want to play it again.
    You cannot resell it and you cant take it to a friends house or give it a friend.
    And stores like EBGames/gamestop will have to shut down.
    You can get games cheaper as a download but when they start to only sell downloads I can see it coming that the games will go back to the original price.

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  4. Not going to happen.
    Why.
    Personally I LIKE to have a raw copy of my games it feels more “real”
    Like i have downloaded a few games on my PS3 but it doesn’t feel like I OWN them.

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    1. The problem is it will happen. I don’t want it to, but that’s the future. It will encourage people to make impulsive buys with the credit card

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      1. Ive bought nearly every title from the eshop virtual console because of the ease with a credit card. These pigs want your money, and they will find the way to squeeze out the most

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  5. Going digital only will kill any future gaming for me. Look at it this way everything will be linked to you by your account. Now if your account gets hacked like so many peoples do everything you bought is gone. I know Mircosoft won’t assist in getting your account back. Next if they feel you have violated their terms of use and suspend your account, you loose it all. Last but not least, You buy a game, beat it or just don’t like it forget about trading it for something you want. Because you own it forever. If you think game piracy is bad now, just wait until this digital phase happens. Going digital will kill the gaming industry. Look at the PSP Go, where is it today? History will repeat it’s self!

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    1. The difference is that whilst people weren’t ready for it in 2009, technological advancements mean that in the future, such as the next 5-10 years, download rates will be high enough worldwide that everyone will be able to download games at a good enough rate. Game cases will eventually just become an unnecessary cost for companies and production for any case at all will eventually cease to exist.

      It’s not about owning something, it’s about technology. Advancements in technology mean advancements in the way games are manufactured, sold, advertised, everything. History won’t repeat itself, because EA won’t go completely digital for at least 3 years, and 6 years of technological advancements will render the majority of arguments against physical copies pointless.

      I love physical copies as much as the next person, but digital copies are just easier for everyone, other than collectors.

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      1. I agree that it will cut production cost, but at what price? people losing jobs? Also if people think that this will make the cost of games cheaper, they are nuts. Here is another issue with games ranging from 8GB to 16GB in size and many ISP’s starting to add data caps on their service, this means maybe one game a month to download before your usage is used.

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        1. As I said, technological advancements will make that second point void. In the past 5 years, internet speeds worldwide has multiplied and the majority of people who use the internet in the UK and US have about a 30-50gb cap.This has grown from the average of about 10gb 2 or 3 years ago. Look how much it may increase in coming years.

          On the topic of making games cheaper, it will. You won’t have the added cost from shops such as EB Games and Gamestop (the price will eventually even out with these shops prices), and whilst people may lose jobs, once again, that means that companies aren’t paying as many wages meaning more profit.

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    2. It will make people angry and encourage piracy, I do agree with that. These hackers will always find away around the security measures.

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  6. Going 100% digital is inevitable, but it won’t happen anytime soon. The capabilities and ease of access is not there for a lot of people. A lot of gamers have no way to buy things online. There would have to be drastic, worldwide changes for that to work smoothly. Leave luck to heaven.

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      1. And how does the medium on which you interact with it change people’s opinions on downloading? You still end up having to wait for it, and they still would come in a box.

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  7. Id say a combination is Nice. You can save digital information on sd cards :) but all and all imo digital is much more suited and will likly kill the bluray sales

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  8. I won’t play as many video games digitally for the same reasons I don’t have as many digital movies as I used to on DVD. I will need to load the entire game onto hard drive space, thus requiring me to invest in more storage and almost none of the digital versions of movies have all of the extras that their counterpart on DVD have. I love the special editions and collector’s editions with free cells and figures from the game. When I buy movies and games, I love to collect the super duper editions with all the bells and whistles. It’s what I miss about records (showing my age there). When you bought an album, there was the book that came inside with great background stories and photos from the making of the album, picture discs, etc. It was an experience. CDs aren’t too bad, but they are limited. Digital music has no character at all. For me, games will be a dinosaur experience soon enough, I guess…

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  9. I don’t mind going all digital, but the physical copy of the game is still te beat option there is. It is better because then you can take the game to another location, such as a friend’s house, without taking the whole console.

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    1. Agreed, Im indifferent when i comes to digital or physical copies. If its on the online store at a good price (i just got the Ratchet & Clank HD trilogy for £23) then i’ll buy it, or if its a little bit more i’ count it as convienciance seeing as id have to take a bus or walk a fair while to get to a store.
      But id buy pyhsical for most of my AAA titles, because i know id go on them again later i life.

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  10. Yeah they are probably right, but there will always be exceptions. People assumed the CD would have died already, but it’s still hanging in there. It’s not completly a case of technology changing as need to psyically own it, and knowing if you lose or damage your console you still have the games. But the other major factor is that there’s still a hell of lot of people who play games who do not have an internet connection or pay by the Gigabyte and all these downloads are not exactly in their interest. Those who jump into 100% digital will find themselves cutting themself off from a lot of existing and potential customers, now and for a few decades to come.

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  11. if that shit happens then I’m out. I’ll just stick to current and older game systems. there’s enough physical games out there to last me a lifetime. I’ll only be pro digital if the console is hackable that way I’ll just download the iso and never pay for shit online. that will teach those worthless motherfuckers.

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  12. That’s not true, it has yet to get rid of books, DVDs or Music CDs and I doubt it ever will, so why would it be the same for games?
    Also there’s things like wanting to take your game to someone else’s house and play it with them, or lend it to them. Of course there could be the option of logging into your online account or something to play it on their console but then there’s the issue of people using that to split the cost of the game, so they only pay the price for one game but two people get to own it, and second of all the issue of you having to wait for it to download at said persons house

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  13. I think EA and any other company thinking about going all digital, needs to get on here and other places and do some research to see what people think before making such a decision. There has been hard copy of games for about 40 years and most people don’t deal well with quick drastic changes. Here is the next problem, can you imaging a new game comes out everyone wants and 50,000 or so people hit their server to download that game, what will your connection speed be like? Remember even if you have 100MB connection to the internet you are only going to pull as fast as they can upload. That many people connected at one time you might get 10kbs
    , if you are luck, because more then likely your connection will time out.

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