EA: ‘Retail is still relevant to digital market’

EA may be investing heavily in digital businesses, but that doesn’t mean retail will be left out.

It’s a familiar message, but one reiterated by EA Europe head Jens Uwe Intat during an interview with MCV – and it’s all the more relevant in a year where EA bought casual online game giant PopCap, turned The Sims into a powerhouse Facebook brand, and launched new digital services such as Origin and EA Sports Season Ticket.

In fact, he told us,physical product and online services can work together to secure growth.

For now [digital products and boxed product] are very additive,” he said. And for the foreseeable future the journey for many consumers starts with a boxed product.

Yes, you can also download games on PC or console, but most just want to have a physical copy, or give it away as a present – a gift is better than a voucher or a code. And impulse purchases, too, are very important.

Over time those models might evolve, but the journey still starts with the boxed product.”

Pundits have often said making boxed products introduces more costs, hence the attractiveness of digital distribution, but Jens Uwe Intat says it’s not that simple.

To put a boxed product into retail is creating another opportunity to buy and an opportunity for retail to sell. So the ‘value chain’ doesn’t necessarily mean you eliminate parts to get more percentage for – you have to look at the size of the pipe. And by putting boxed products out there you increase the size of the pipe and the overall market.”

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