The speed at which digital content has grown over the last 12 months has been phenomenal, but all three platform holders have told MCV – or more precisely, the guest editor of 2009's final issue, Activision's UK boss Andrew Brown – that retail will remain the driving force for some time to come.
I don't think that digitally distributed product will overtake our boxed product for a long time,” Nintendo UK general manager David Yarnton stated. Consumers have taken up downloading content in some areas but we still see retail being a vital and valued partner for some considerable time to come.”
SCE UK MD Ray Maguire added: Whilst it may be convenient and straightforward to download relatively small files, it's unrealistic to expect the vast majority of consumers to access and store the 25GB or 50GB of data that make up a Blu-ray release.
Therefore, whilst the popularity of and demand for bite-size content will continue to grow, there'll still be a need for a storage medium that's both convenient and accessible to the majority, not the minority, for some time to come.”
Microsoft's senior regional director of Entertainment and Devices for Northern Europe Neil Thompson agrees about the ongoing importance of retail: I expect digital distribution of game content to explode in the next three years as more publishers encompass the value of Xbox Live.
However, from a value perspective, I still see boxed product through retail as playing the lead role during that time horizon.”
To read Andrew Brown's full feature, click here.