PS4 and Xbox 720 will hurt retail

Next gen consoles will shun retail in favour of digital, says analyst firm Electronic Entertainment Design and Research (EEDAR).

The prediction was made by EEDAR CEO Greg Short duringa speech on the state of the games market, which he deliveredat GDC Europe today.

He said that digital is growing at a dramatic pace, boosted by a surge in the number of small studios. Short explained that the high number of redundancies over recent months has resulted in a growing number of independently-run digital-only developers.

However, despite the gloom, Short said that those predicting the death of the High Street will have to wait a long time, and that retail will continue to be a dominant force” for years to come.

He points out that retail is still vital in educating the consumer, in particular about DLC. He presented a graph that showed a huge proportion of consumers learnt about digital add-ons via in-store marketing and game packaging.

We expect digital revenue to make a huge impact with next-gen consoles,” he said. But added that digital is still some way off from reaching mass-market acceptance.

According to EEDAR research in an upcoming report on DLC, 35 per cent of gamers are still not interested in paid-for DLC. With many gamers confused over the value of DLC,” claimed Short.

He continued by saying full-game downloads are being held back by slow broadband speeds. He told attendees that the average PS3 game will take five hours to download based on average European download speeds. Meanwhile, gamers wanting to download Rockstar’s upcoming LA Noir – which reportedly uses a full Blu-Ray disc – may have to wait 14 hours.

Short underlined his point by asking the room who bought StarCraft II? A large number of the room raised their hands, and when he asked ‘who downloaded it’ everyone put their arms down.

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