The gaming industry will become “100% digital” sooner than expected if assurances from Electronics Arts president Frank Gibeau are anything to go by.
In an incisive interview with GamesIndustry International, Gibeau spoke of the company’s position at the forefront of the transition to digital and its “inevitable” ubiquity. Last year, digital alone – downloadable games, mobile apps and subscriptions – earned EA over $1 billion for the first time and this figure is expected to climb close to $2 billion this year.
The time when all revenues are collected from digital products and services is in the “near future”. EA are going to be a “100% digital company, period”.
“For us, the fastest growing segment of our business is clearly digital and clearly digital services and ultimately Electronic Arts, at some point in the future – much like your question about streaming and cloud – we’re going to be a 100% digital company, period. It’s going to be there some day. It’s inevitable.”
Gibeau did point out that EA wouldn’t abandon physical retail stores just yet, but would “continue to deliver games in whatever media formats make sense and as one ebbs and one starts to flow, we’ll [EA] go in that direction”.
Direct digital sales is something that EA has “a clear line of sight on”. Selling directly to the customer or gamer in digital form has a number of distinct advantages for not just EA, but all games publishers out there. For one they retain a greater share of sales, but can also offer “a lot more personalized” content and do “some really interesting things from a service level”.
All that remains is for cloud and streaming to “come on line at scale” for digital-only to become a reality.