Nintendo

EA Believes That Driving To A Store To Buy Games Will Be A Thing Of The Past

EA CFO Blake Jorgensen is adamant that despite physical sales being a huge part of its total revenue, digital could soon overtake it. EA’s latest figures show that 25 percent of its full game sales came from downloads in the last fiscal year. Jorgensen believes this will rise to “closer to 30 percent” for the current fiscal year. However, he admits that there’s a number of factors at the moment that are prohibiting download sales from outpacing physical and that’s broadband speed, caps, and the need for a credit card. But he believes that full-game download figures for EA games could reach 50 percent over the next five years.

“Like in books, music, film, and TV, we see that the consumer will ultimately consume [games] digitally,” Jorgensen said.

“We’re careful to continue to work with our retail partners; they are very important in the mix, but we’re also ultimately trying to be where the consumer ultimately wants to consume the product.”

“Like everything else, the consumer is ultimately going to default to convenience,” he said. “If it’s a choice of getting in the car and driving to the store and the weather is bad outside, if you want to download it, I think you’ll see more people do that.”

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46 comments

  1. We may get to a point where enough people buy digital that it makes no sense financially to produce a physical copy. At that point it may still be possible to get physical copies for extra dough, but around that time it wouldn’t make sense for console makers to include a physical receptor due to the extra cost. So I can see it possibly going away especially if it continues to increase each year like the dude says.

  2. until you download a game like DDR S+ on ios buy all the dlc songs which was over 100 dollars and then konami decides to pull it from the store and thus making it unplayable as the game needs the dlc to play and the dlc is purchàed through konamis server and since the shut the server down. your game is unusable.

  3. We’ve already gotten to that point. I’ve seen a number of EBgames and local game stores shut down for that very reason. Between all systems having their own digital shops filled to the brim with games, and amazon fulfilling the needs of people who still crave physical copies without them having to wait, it makes a lot less sense to even have gamestop or ebgames anymore.

  4. Physical games is the only way to go, they are much cheaper than digital copy’s and you actually own the game instead of just the rights to play it like a digital copy, and say your system tore up after a gaming company takes down there gaming store you are just out of luck getting your digital copy’s back where as if you have a physical copy you wouldn’t lose anything but your game saves, you could just get another system either used or new and be back in action again, plus I like to collect them.

      1. I have recently gotten into collecting retro titles. The idea that there won’t be a market for physical seems laughable in the face of the fact that many “digital only” indy titles are getting physical releases by companies like “Limited Run”. This market will likely turn to homebrew when console manufacturers stop including media slots.

        Again, seems odd to bring up digital taking over when Nintendo is literally bringing carts back. On console storage solutions aren’t very practical at the moment. I’m constantly dumping saves and partial installs from my PS4, despite the fact that I have very few full games on it. 500 GB and even 1TB solutions aren’t practical when you can get SSD read speeds from carts/SD solutions.

      2. Actually they are cheaper. You can go on Amazon and compare any current gen game’s physical price to its digital download price. I can’t recall ever seeing a digital copy of a game for less money than its physical counterpart.

        1. Well, think of it this way. If digital games were always lower in price, that would most likely give retailers like GameStop serious trouble. Physical is what they do best. They don’t stand a chance when it comes to digital downloads.

          1. I was just letting baconstrip37 know that physical copies are in fact cheaper. Going off of your comment though, why should that matter to EA? If EA wants the future to be digital only, why should they care what happens to physical retailers? They have plenty of online retailers to distribute their games. If they want more people to buy digital, then there’s no reason digital should cost more than physical.

              1. That explains how digital titles are priced, but it presents a business reason for digital pricing. From a consumer perspective, it isn’t really a justifiable reason.

                He says that PC digital games see faster discounts than their console counterparts, but that’s because digital is a much more widespread format on PC. Many AAA PC games don’t even get a physical release.

                The pricing for digital console titles is a good idea from a business perspective. You wait until your physical stock is sold out and then discount your digital stock to continue competing with second hand retailers. But from a consumer perspective it makes absolutely no sense. If they really want gamers to go digital, like EA seems to, they should limit their stock of physical games and discount digital games more. If the pricing continues the way it is now, growth of the digital sector will be very slow; if it continues to grow at all. Digital games on PC are a requirement now because some devs stopped releasing physical copies of their big games.

                1. It isn’t just price. Many people buy the physical copies of games at full price on consoles all the time. That’s not the only the problem. Most people just prefer physical copies.

                  1. I’m well aware of that. See my comment below. I listed a few problems with digital games. Price isn’t the only problem, but it is one of the problems that need to be fixed before widespread adoption of digital console games becomes a posibility.

                    1. Ok. Well, regardless, I do believe driving to a store to pick up a game will be a thing of the past. In just the next few years? No. But eventually? Yes.

    1. “say your system tore up after a gaming company takes down there gaming store you are just out of luck getting your digital copy’s back”

      Also no. Digital games are often tied to accounts and can be redownloaded if necessary so long as access to the account isn’t lost.

      Physical games, on the other hand? If the disc gets scratched or the cartridge lost/smashed… you’re screwed.

      1. Your account won’t help if the store has been taken down. Or the game is pulled from the store for whatever reason. At least with physical media, it’s my responsibility. In terms of software quality, downloads were the worst thing to happen to gaming.

  5. Physical for me please. I buy digital when it’s a PC game or smaller eShop game. Plus it gives me far more incentive to buy a game when it is physical. Never had a problem getting my ass out of the house to get a game. When I can’t find it elsewhere, I get it on Amazon.

  6. I have a decent amount of physical and digital games. Just depends on my mood and the particular game. Sometimes I’ll just stop and grab a physical copy of something on my way home from work. Other times I just start a download before I go to bed. Tha said sales are the number one reason I pick digital over physical. Steam sales and even the digital Black Friday sales this past weekend are like the best part of buying digital.

  7. Yes, driving to a store is a thing of the past, and so are digital downloads! I want to OWN the game I payed for and digital downloads are nothing more than electric smoke. You can’t resell them or lend them to your friends, at least not without enormous effort, because companies don’t want you to!

  8. I will never buy a game digitally unless it is either A) the only way to buy it, or B) the best price

  9. Its pretty much a given. It became obvious around last generation that digital was the way of the future. Ill keep buying physical for everything I can, and digital for anything thats digital only (mainly indies.)

    The day everything goes full digital I will opt out of gaming, or go full pirate. If paying for linceses on digital goods means not owning the games then I rather not own them.

  10. I’m so tempting to switching over to digital in the future.
    It’s far more convenient and less of a hassle.
    I also dislike running needlessly out of physical space in my entertainment center when my 1TB External hard drive can spare me the trouble of that.

  11. I hate hearing talk like this. I take great pride in seeing my physical collection grow bigger and bigger. Digital gives me zero satisfaction, and feels like a complete waste of money. By the time digital games takes over the entire market, I hope I’m too old and senile to care. Digital games destroys the entire purpose of being a collector.

  12. No friggin’ way. Given the choice between physical and digital, I will ALWAYS pick physical unless there are extenuating circumstances (game is hopelessly sold out, game is digital-only, etc.).

    This guy is speaking with words he cannot back up.

  13. Nope.
    There are still many people who would rather physically own what they buy. I have friends and brothers that occasionally borrow my games – you can’t do that with digital games (unless you let them borrow your whole account.. and who does that?).

    I’ve always felt like the moment I buy something digital, it instantly loses its worth (excluding Steam, since they have a fairly good refund system in place). Can’t sell it, can’t trade it. What happens if I don’t like it? And if the console somehow breaks, or the hard drive fails on you, you have to go through the hassle of re-downloading everything. And on PS4 for instance, the download speeds cap out extreeeemely low. And the option to play while it downloads is always terrible – there’s maybe 5 minutes of content for you to enjoy while you wait.

    Of course it comes down to preference, but I’ll never go full-digital – unless for some reason I ever go completely PC.
    I personally enjoy going to the store and picking up a new game.

  14. “Like in books, music, film, and TV, we see that the consumer will ultimately consume [games] digitally,” Jorgensen said.

    This guy doesn’t know what he’s talking about. Physical games aren’t going anywhere and digital games will not take over any time soon. The same thing was said when ebooks came out. In 2015 they made up less than 30% of total book sales. In fact physical book sales have resurged recently while digital sales dropped. I think digital movie purchases still make up less than 20% of consumer purchases. Even digitally downloaded music, which has had a digital format longer than the other two, only just overtook physical music sales last year. In 2015 it accounted for 52% of all music revenue.

    I wouldn’t count on digital sales overtaking physical; at least not until the system is perfected. Digital games shouldn’t cost as much (and in some cases more) than physical. Digital games need to be free of restrictive DRM. Lastly, digital games need to be guarenteed accessible for the future.

  15. If by that you mean: physical copies of games will be shipped faster to customers’ houses via online stores than Amazon then you’re not wrong. But if you meant that digital games will overtake physical games, then I got some bad news for you. Not happening. Most persons will choose a physical game over a digital one anyday.

  16. Physical only for me unless it’s only available digitally. Although I ordered everything online this Black Friday and already got it (free shipping even) so if that is what EA means than I guess the are right. The only way I’ll go all digital is if they stop making physical. Not saying physical is bad it’s just that if I have everything digitally and 10 years from now if my system dies, I’ll lose everything. If it’s physical I can find a working system or get mine fixed and still play on. That’s my only “fear” of going all digital.

    People can say I could just rebuy it but why should I ? And in some cases like Marvel vs Capcom , they pull the digital copies and you can no longer buy them due to licensing disputes… I’d rather just have physical and not worry if I’ll lose the ability to download a title in the future… Although there will always be emulation I guess .😑

  17. They both have pros and cons. I love digital. It doesn’t take up any space at all in your home and the game is ALWAYS in one place after you download it. There is no need to go around looking for it. As for price differences, PC is my favorite platform and I can hardly remember the last time I payed $60 for a game. I mean, I could do that. Buying it at launch or something. But I’m usually always late to buying a lot of games and it’s already decreased in price or it pops up on a super huge discount. And even if I’m buying new games, PS Plus often gives a discount from the full price by digitally pre-ordering. Pre-ordering isn’t usually my thing, but if I wanted to, I could take advantage of that. But anyways, there’s also the whole “you can’t lend your game away thing”. Tbh, I don’t really care. I don’t even give my physical copies (seriously my games are too precious to me) to hardly anyone. The only time I see physical as better than digital is if there’s just absolutely no way I can obtain it digitally. It’s pretty annoying to have to hunt down that game I can’t download and then keep track of the case too. But one of the good things about physical (for most games) is that internet isn’t required, just the console. So they’re easier to get for most people. I think if as many people out there in the world had good internet as well, digital sales would surely soar.

  18. I have buyed a number of digital games: Zelda Ocarina of Time 3D, Metroid 2 Return of Samus (Virtual Console) and Hyrule Warriors Legends and other Virtual Console games. I also buy fisical games in e-bay and are currently plaining to buy games on Amason to also have games to don’t go completly digital because I like some games in fisical.

  19. Does anyone still remember how PCs were supposed to go extinct, because laptops take over?

    Didn’t happen but now it’s supposed to be tablets instead. Will not happen either.

    While we are at it, what about the 3ds having no chance because of Smartphones? Many now think that this will still happen with future handheld gaming.

    Regular gaming consoles are supposed to go extinct for quite some time now too.

    Seriously now, just because there is currently a trend, it does not mean this trend will go all the way.
    Especially business people do not seem to understand this even if there life dependet in it.
    Well, at least digital games taking over is one if the more believable scenarios, although not for the near future.

  20. Clearly they have a vested interested in the market heading that way as they will cut the cost of dealing with retailers and manufacturing costs out entirely. But it’s hard to deny that everything is heading in that direction.

    I don’t know what the driving/weather story is about though (unless it’s actually an analogy) because I’d imagine the majority of physical sales are done online.

    Either way, the certainly UK won’t go that way until digital prices come down, there’s no way it’s sustainable.

    Then there’s the matter of the second-hand market and game preservation. I notice ignorent comments popping up on this subject: games DO get pulled due to licencing issues and you don’t own these games. Yes, for the majority of big name titles it won’t be an issue… providing they continue to own licences and it actually makes money for them.

    The only problem with physical games this gen is that there are to many game-fixing or game-changing day 1 patches which render the disc largely useless. Nintendo games generally (and I mean generally, I know they’re not exempt) fair well on this front.

    The bottom line for me: I prefer physical copies being sold but anti-consumer practices and unreasonable reliance on AAA titles to carry the industry mean it’s days may be numbered. It will be a slower death than EA wants though.

  21. Was about to say that. You order the physical games in the mail. I don’t even have a car. It does make sense because tiny hard drive space. If I pick up my games in store I WALK or take the BUS. Or the SUBWAY. People do live in cities too.

  22. I haven’t bought a physical game in years.
    All my games get downloaded to a huge sd card, that’s also why I hope that Nintendo comes up with some kind of insurance program.

  23. Til you guys release your sports & racing games once a year & add on to that one game for 5 years or for as long as the console it’s on lives, only stupid people will buy your games digital every single fucking year! Seriously!? Why buy Madden games digitally when you know for a fact there will be yet another one the next year & the one you got now will eventually have it’s online component shut down? Same for FIFA. Same goes to 2K with the WWE & NBA games or Activision with the Call of Duty games. As long as these games release yearly, these games will never go digital only. And if they did, guess what? I guarantee you’ll lose millions & millions of customers in the process. Because like I said, only an idiot would buy these games digitally every year. … *thinks about that for a second* CRAAAAP!!! I forgot there actually ARE millions of idiots out there!

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