Electronic Arts: All-Digital Future is "Inevitable"

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Electronic Arts: All-Digital Future is "Inevitable"

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EA Labels President Frank Gibeau says Electronic Arts will be a completely digital company sooner than you think.

There's no question anymore that the future is digital; all that remains to be determined at this point is when that future is going to arrive. There are obstacles, most obviously the lack of infrastructure needed to bring digital delivery to everyone, but in EA's estimation the era when the bulk of its revenues come digitally is closer at hand than a lot of people think. "It's in the near future. It's coming. We have a clear line of sight on it and we're excited about it," Gibeau told GamesIndustry.

EA has "great relationships" with its retail partners, he said, but added that "the ultimate relationship is the connection that we have with the gamer." And if gamers want to get their stuff digitally - which certainly seems to be the case - then that's how EA is going to offer them.

"We'll continue to deliver games in whatever media formats make sense and as one ebbs and one starts to flow, we'll go in that direction," he said. "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... we're going to be a 100 percent digital company, period. It's going to be there some day. It's inevitable."

He also claimed that NPD sales figures, which have painted a rather dismal picture of the industry in recent months, are "totally irrelevant" these days because they focus solely on retail numbers. "We don't even really look at [NPD sales figures] internally anymore. We're more focused on our services and how we're connected with consumers," he said. "[The industry is] growing. It's booming. It's big. Things are good. If cloud and streaming come on line at scale, we'll be in the position to do it and we're excited about it."

Source: GamesIndustry

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Just what we need, EA trying to force Origin down our throats. This is why I buy all their games used.

Why is it that every time EA says something, I end up laughing hysterically?

I mean, come on. That has been said SO MANY TIMES, they're just repeating what other people say.

Well, hes not wrong about an all digital future but it wouldn't be good for consumers or even that good for publishers if we ended up in a cloud/streaming only future.

EA apparently employed Captain Obvious as their research guy.

That's only going to happen when it stops being human nature to have collections worthy of boasting.

Really? You're only realising this NOW!? Christ EA.

Guys, guys, why are you complaining? If EA does this, they'll put all their time and money into Origin... And then, because no-one uses Origin, they'll fall flat and die! We need to do this. It's our best chance to get rid of EA for good.

kortin:
Why is it that every time EA says something, I end up laughing hysterically?

I mean, come on. That has been said SO MANY TIMES, they're just repeating what other people say.

Zipa:
EA apparently employed Captain Obvious as their research guy.

That's unfair. If you read the original source article it says he was explicitly asked about when their revenue was going to be all digital. It's a good enough answer even if, to many people, it's an obvious one.

I guess escapists don't want to let context get in the way of some easy hating.

Gearhead mk2:
Guys, guys, why are you complaining? If EA does this, they'll put all their time and money into Origin... And then, because no-one uses Origin, they'll fall flat and die! We need to do this. It's our best chance to get rid of EA for good.

Yeah only having 5 million+ daily users and garbing 5% of download market in 6 months means they will vanish in the blink of an eye.

albino boo:

Gearhead mk2:
Guys, guys, why are you complaining? If EA does this, they'll put all their time and money into Origin... And then, because no-one uses Origin, they'll fall flat and die! We need to do this. It's our best chance to get rid of EA for good.

Yeah only having 5 million+ daily users and garbing 5% of download market in 6 months means they will vanish in the blink of an eye.

Ok, let me rephrase that. No-one with half a brain cell uses Origin... so actually, yeah, that'd probably just mean an ungodly increase in profits as the vast majority of consumers flock to it. I am not doing well today...

*generic ea hate comment*

Oh great the two things I distrust most in gaming together in one article!

Why is everone rushing ahead with all this digital shite? The technology is still far to weak to simply support the demand, Steam servers crashed more than once just becuase of demand for ONE GAME.Just imagine the stress on computers and servers if there is massive demands for 5 or more games at a time.

Just tell companies to stop jumping around with all this new tech like a child with the first batch of cookies, sit them down, and develop the tech until it can finally stabilise.

Now that we know it is possible, it is inevitable we will reach digital distribution.

;)

As much as I love to hate on EA (and I do so love to hate on EA), the guy is just being honest. This isn't PR-speak. It's a simple reality. I guess EA wants to position itself as an alternative to Steam, but in the digital distribution arms race, Steam is miles ahead in addition to having garnered all the goodwill from intermediate and early adopters of digital delivery.

I never pay for stuff I can't get physically

bring it

wild encounter:
a wild solar storm appears.
solar storm uses solar flare.
its super effective...
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Solar_storm_of_1859
http://www.pcworld.com/article/229876/solar_flares_could_cripple_earths_tech_infrastructure_in_2013.html

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sorry but a digital only model is kind of stupid.
plus its just another excuse to implement cloud gaming.
and we already saw how diablo 3 turned out to be.

I keep saying next gen looks like it will be my last and articles like this reenforce that view.

I will NEVER go 'digital only'.
Once you go digital only you lose any rights you had as a consumer and if the company goes down, our game becomes worthless.

No thanks.

Unless the game is some monster download I'd say about 80% of my games are now digital purchases. I thought I'd miss my "box shelf" but truth is I like the organization of having my downloaded games stored away on a usb drive waiting to be installed when I want them. So while I have a problem with some of the details of the drm schemes some of these publishers want to use, going all digital is fine with me.

However, it does make me wonder. Since there is no longer the big cut going to the retailer and since there is no box, no manual and no disc shouldn't the price of the games go down? Yes, some of those retail costs will be offset by having and supporting the digital sales infrastructure but even then shouldn't it be possible to make money with a cheaper price? I know the prices won't go down. If I was publisher I doubt I'd lower a now relatively standard (and expected) price point by much but shouldn't it then stop going up? At least for a while? AAA development is expensive, I know that and accept that. I like the bells and whistles as much as the next gamer but wasn't the retailers cut of the sale pretty substantial as well? With that [email protected]@

EA has "great relationships" with its retail partners, he said, but added that "the ultimate relationship is the connection that we have with the gamer."

I just find that the funniest part of the article.

EA, anyone with a brain fucking hates you, give it a rest already....

I'm wondering if this is on their monthly to-do list labeled "PR about random stuff".

Hrm... "We do what we want, how we want, regardless of what the customer wants" and EA showing signs of decline and deterioration? Coincidental? I think not.

Heres the memo you guys missed EA. Digital distribution is NOT in your best interest. It actually will end up hurting you and the entire industry long term. The more you keep trying to shove it down peoples throats, the more they are going to resist it, and resent you for doing it. All your doing is hastening your own demise.

Can't do that until the infrastructure catches up. The connections in large parts of developed countries, let alone the rest of the world, are utter arse. Even then, given the option, I'd still prefer to buy a physical product. And before any company tries anything sneaky: not a box with a code in it. An install disc. With files. And no locked DLC.

Yeah, right. As long as there's money to be had in retail games, and there's going to be for a good time still, EA is gonna be there.

Andy Chalk:
but added that "the ultimate relationship is the connection that we have with the gamer."

*does a spit take*

WHAT? ....WHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA good one, EA!

....Wait....is he serious? Because if EA has a relationship with the gamer...It's an ABUSIVE relationship. Spyware, price gouging, watering down franchises of what made them fun, etc!

My impression of this is that EA is so jealous of Steam that they have convinced themselves that Valve is the evil corporation and that EA is the user centered company! 0_o

Gearhead mk2:
Guys, guys, why are you complaining? If EA does this, they'll put all their time and money into Origin... And then, because no-one uses Origin, they'll fall flat and die! We need to do this. It's our best chance to get rid of EA for good.

They wish that they will be the ONLY service available to force you to use Origin but can't like they did with the Madden and FIFA series through licensing, we have Steam, Xbox Live and PSN so screw them

They're getting cocky after the Battlefield 3 "Premium" success. So all this All-Digital Future talk is a plan to somehow be one of the first to establish their services and make it popular so that other All-Digital services that aren't EA couldn't compete, you'd have to be online ALL the time to play and if you cancel service you get NOTHING, so no playing at will while offline with your physical copies (since there will be none) and will have to PAY to use them again, CASH Guaranteed

That "one time payment" with Battlefield 3 Premium is just a test to see how much gamers will let them get away with while appearing to be a "reasonable" offer...

Digital distributions does not mean that every game needs to be connected to a server all the time. GoG distributes digitally. So does Gamersgate. I can play Minecraft (also without box copy) without an internet connection. Or Dwarf Fortress. All these send you an install which you can squirrel away safely onto physical media, should you feel moved to do so.

The real losers are going to be the big corporations. Who's going to need EA to publish when any indie company's web page is equally accessible?

Yeah Digital is the future. It'll probably be longer then you think to make it happen though. The pockets of the world that are resistant to any changes or advances in technology, for various reasons, are amazing resilient. I wonder if they still have that problem with people in China using IE6.

teqrevisited:
Can't do that until the infrastructure catches up. The connections in large parts of developed countries, let alone the rest of the world, are utter arse. Even then, given the option, I'd still prefer to buy a physical product. And before any company tries anything sneaky: not a box with a code in it. An install disc. With files. And no locked DLC.

Digital Distribution as a money spinner doesn't require everyone to have a high speed internet connection, it only requires enough people...and there are enough people now.
Digital Distribution is coming.

Origin is a good service EA, it is, but your prices are just stupid and over blown...but then again so are Steam's so you're in good company there. I fail to understand why I can consistently find retail copies of games on Origin and Steam cheaper than the digital downloads.

The future is in digital. I completely agree. But if you tell me the future is cloud, I couldn't disagree more. They shouldn't be confused as they are not nearly the same thing.

God, I can't wait for this company to go bankrupt. People just need to stop buying their games and we can say goodbye to the worst company in America. But chances are we don't have to wait for that easy (but somehow unobtainable?) miracle. Ea is so detached from both their consumers and reality itself, they will gladly kill themselves through their own stupid actions. All the signs are there; the arrogance, the GREED, the utter contempt for their customers and the honest belief that they are infallible and can get away with anything. If that's not the foundations of disaster, then what is!?

Once EA is toast I'll throw a party at my place, with streamers, fireworks and a BBQ....I really wish I was kidding.

Hopefully his "soon" is one of those weird definitions of soon that mean it will be in 25 years or so.

I never buy digital unless I absolutely have to. I can find no point to buying digital if there is a physical copy.

Fuck digital distribution if I'm gonna have to fork-out on spare hard drives to help store game collections. Not to forget my broadband quality, and the contempt I have for the idea of having to create log-in accounts for every game publisher I'd want to buy from.

This will only work out well for the consumer if business models gradually shift more toward something resembling a rental service; and EA is the last company I'd expect to do anything but the opposite.

It's crystal clear why they want to go digital. To kill off retail, used games, grab fat new margins for absorbing cash, snatch away consumer rights and shift that balance of power to favour them; and enjoy getting away with anti-consumer bullshit while having absolute market control over their products.

Want to pay less than £40 to try an unspectacular 3 year old game? that is sooo last decade.

Hopefully when it does come to a fully digital games market, EA will be punished for their greed; and more pro-consumer (and pro-developer) models and innovations find success.

Zipa:
EA apparently employed Captain Obvious as their research guy.

And they have Captain Hindsight for a janitor and refuse to listen to his ideas

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