A digital-only games industry may yet still be a little way off, but retail bosses will take no solace from the giddy excitement with which EA Labels boss Frank Gibeau speaks of the company’s digital future.
"It’s in the near future. It’s coming. We have a clear line of sight on it and we’re excited about it,” he told Games Industry when asked if he could foresee a time when all of the company’s revenue came from digital.
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 per cent digital company, period.
It’s going to be there some day. It’s inevitable."
Having sent the chills up the spine of retailers across the world, Gibeau did at least offer a sliver of hope.
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 customers want to buy a game at retail, they can do that too. We’ll continue to deliver games in whatever media formats make sense and as one ebbs and one starts to flow, we’ll go in that direction
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."