LGC 09: Luzio – Digital-only market would be geeky

A market that only offers digital video games would be geeky”, inaccessible – and undo the market expansion the industry has achieved in recent years.

That was the view of The Hut product director Gian Luzio at the London Games Conference today.

Speaking on a panel entitle ‘The New Food Chain’ – alongside Revolution software CEO Charles Cecil, Sega network director Nick Pili and Direct2Drive marketing director Rich Keen – Luzio pointed to the Christmas period, when he said 50 per cent of games product is sold.

We over-estimate the short-term impact and underestimate the long-term effect that digital distribution will have on the games industry,” said Luzio.

High Street retail gets boxed product out there and grows the market. If we just do downloads, we’re going to go back to the days of the gamer being geeky. Gaming then becomes exclusive again – it’s no longer mainstream. It’s just for the people who are comfortable with the technology.”

He added: I don’t think you can take [games] retailing off the High Street. HMV and GAME, for example, do a great job of directly influencing the consumer decision. Every consumer in the UK is spoken to about product by that channel. Triple-A title must be released as physical product as well as digital.

Discussing the Christmas period, Luzio said: Just reciving a voucher in an envelope doesn’t make for a fun Christmas Day.”

Cecil said that he believed the future of the majority of new games was digital-only – with the exception of a handful” of huge triple-A releases each year, which would continue to be boxed and marketed in-store.

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