In the wake of EA’s long-expected purchase of social network gaming specialist Playfish earlier this month, boss John Riccitiello has predicted that emerging online-based gaming models will overtake traditional console gaming to become the dominant force by next year.
“When people think of games they traditionally think of the Xbox, PlayStation and Wii,” Riccitiello told Reuters in a video interview.
“They forget about all these online services that are out there – subscription, microstransactions, games they find on Facebook or if they go to Pogo. If you add all that stuff up, it’s almost half of the industry now. It’s about 40-45 per cent.
“Next year it’s likely to be a larger share of the total industry and it’ll be bigger than the console games all put together.”
However, there were still words of comfort for those whose livelihood depends on the health of traditional retail models.
“We're the world's leader in packaged goods games, we make more of them than anybody,” he added. “We're not suggesting that business is going away but there's this other thing that's growing.
“It's our goal for that business to be as important as, and over time maybe more important than, our packaged goods business.”
The comments come just hours after EA unveiled a controversial revamp of its free-to-play Battlefield Heroes, the result of which means that players will be put under even greater pressure to buy digital good if they hope to compete in the game.