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EA Predicts End of Buying Games In Stores

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News Posted: Thu, Jul 21 2011 3:49 PM
Video games publisher Electronic Arts says that the end is coming for brick-and-mortar video games stores.

Speaking to Eurogamer in an interview yesterday, EA Sports Vice President Andrew Wilson made clear his thoughts on the future of game purchases.

"There will come a day where I think that people will stop going into GAME and GameStop. And I use those purely as examples of retail," said Wilson. "It's important for retailers and us to understand what the consumer wants in the future."

EA, of course, has something to gain in the possible demise of chains such as GameStop, as the company just launched a direct-download service named Origin last month. Compounded with the publisher's recent acquisition of PopCap Games, the evidence is pointing towards an intended bolstering of digital services. 

This falls in line with recent statements by CEO John Riccitiello that the company intends to move away from the traditional packaged goods model. "Over the coming years, we will transform EA from a packaged goods company to a fully integrated digital entertainment company," Riccitiello told investors.



Even GameStop itself seems to be preparing for such a future: the company launched a direct-download service last year and purchased the Kongregate.com gaming website. More recently the company acquired a streaming technology company as well as another digital distribution platform.

The move to digital seems to be paying off for both companies. EA's digital-games revenue grew by 46 percent year-over-year to more than $800 million with a projected revenue of over $1 billion in the next fiscal year, while GameStop's digital storefront generated $300 million in revenue with a projected growth to $1.5 billion in four years.

Many recent EA customers have seen the beginnings of this move to digital with the company's "Online Pass" system, which requires gamers with new copies of games to register online with an included non-transferable code in order to play online. Those that buy used games must pay a pre-determined amount (about $15) for a digital pass, which means that EA is now able to profit off of used game sales and even pirates that want to play their games online. Combined with constant downloadable content releases and cycling out servers for old games, EA seems to have their digital strategy set.
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LauRoman replied on Thu, Jul 21 2011 6:14 PM

I find this utterly hillarious because EA was one of the most reluctant publisher to go to Steam.

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Not gonna happen anytime soon with more and more ISPs putting caps on internet. Besides with current bandwidth speeds and the size of video game downloads it is a hell of a lot faster for me to drive 15 minutes to the store and buy the game at the same cost as the download.

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Star Trek was the last time I download a game!! Especially an Online only game!!! I didnt even get to play it! And the customer support wont even respond:P

If I am going to pay the same price, I will go to BB or WM and get a game that I can load and play just by unwraping a bit of plastic! And not having to buy online credit hours or points!

This is just another case of suits running around trying to figure out how to get more money into their pockets on the backs of everyone else! IF they actually had a brain cell left they would realize that when you put your game on steam and other downloadable sites, as soon as it is posted; there will be some russian kid who cracks it and torrents it...... that ends up losing five times the profit they projected in the first place!

Instead of trying to get rid of all those summer jobs for HS students at BB and WM, we should be doing what they did to the music industry! Get rid of all those corporate suits who are nothing but BS artists and take all the creadit for a good game!! At least with a disc, you still have jobs for disc and cover creation, boxing, shipping, sales, marketing!

Our games would look better if we had ten more artists for each game that equal the salary of one of those Suit AHoles:P

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No bandwidth cap for me and I get 85mbs down speed, so less than 20 min I have a full game installed and playing of course a nice 128Gb Vertex 3 SSD drive just for games helps with that too. My last retail store game was COD4 for PC and never looked back.

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realneil replied on Thu, Jul 21 2011 11:06 PM

I don't have any problems downloading games, but I prefer having a hard copy of my games on hand. The idea that one game manufacturer is going to try and steer PC gaming towards the online model that they envision is laughable. If online is the only way to get their games,...I'll live without them.

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

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Yeah soldier that is ok for now, but what happens when the new gvmnt regulations take effect and you are only able to download 5GB's a month?

Then you will end up paying more for the over DL fees from your ISP, than the cost of ten games? But I guess you will be fine with paying 300 dollars a month for 85Mbs if you want to download a 15GB game?

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rapid1 replied on Thu, Jul 21 2011 11:42 PM

One specific here is he is speaking to Eurogamer. In Europe for about 45 Euros a month you get a wide open pipe with a phone and television over Fiber. In the US it is all still run by monopolies basically We have Comcast, COX, Time Warner, ATT, and Verizon. In Europe in a city you have a number of service providers for all homes over one wire set, there cellular is the same about 50 euros monthly unlimited talk and data. It is kind of funny to hear politicians talk about letting the market decide and commerce when it is largely in America where much of that is limited now, and in Europe where the market, competition and consumers make the choice, it is all really kind of sad.

When a consumer has a 20-40Gbps pipe to their home of course this would be the choice. Most citizens in America have a max 10Gbps with a data cap at home for $100 or more a month.

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I have a 40Gbps pipe (burst around 50Gbps) with no cap.

Of course, I wish I was back in Louisiana where there is a little company in my home town named LUS Fiber that is offering 50Gbps up/down (100Gbps on intranet) for $57.95 a month.

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realneil replied on Fri, Jul 22 2011 9:56 AM

InfinityzeN1:
I wish I was back in Louisiana where there is a little company in my home town named LUS Fiber that is offering 50Gbps up/down (100Gbps on intranet) for $57.95 a month

That's quite the deal, but it's not the norm, here in the states. Not for most of us anyway,......

I think that the gist of this thread is turning out to be that the USA is dominated by corporate interests where they have successfully taken over our government with their unlimited pockets and their Supreme Court that says that they, (even though they aren't even people) are citizens.

Wireless provider's profits are obscenely huge, yet they clamor for more, more, more,.........and the same is true of the medical, automotive, pharmaceutical, food, and every other industry in the USA.

When we play competitive games and we do well at it, we say that we 'owned' the competition,......corporate America 'owns' us all.

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Inspector replied on Fri, Jul 22 2011 12:34 PM

I would actually prefer a disc with all its content and updates :D, less time required to wait and wait for the game to download :(

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OSunday replied on Fri, Jul 22 2011 2:36 PM

At the moment, the way games are sold is primarily through physical media, like the standard game edition with a disk, case and manual

But theres also the "special edition's that include extras"

I think soon the primary form of distribution will be online, which has alot of advantages like the ability to use your games across potentially multiple platforms, consoles or computer and re-download the games if you're hardware is ever damaged and you never have to worry about losing or damaging the actual game

From a collectors standpoint, when I read a good book, or play a great game I like to have it in a physical format to show off, and share with friends and such, so I prefer physical format most of the time but soon I think getting a game in physical format will be the "special edition" and digital downloads will be the standard form

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deinabog replied on Tue, Jul 26 2011 8:54 AM

Physical discs will remain viable for a long time. All of this talk of digital downloads is more marketing than anything else.

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realneil replied on Tue, Jul 26 2011 10:47 AM

deinabog:
Physical discs will remain viable for a long time.

Agreed

Don't part with your illusions. When they are gone you may still exist, but you have ceased to live.

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