In a recent interview with GamesIndustry, EA Labels president Frank Gibeau expressed his certainty in the company becoming “100% digital.” As bold as it sounds at first blush, it isn’t necessarily a change in direction for the company. They’ve been heavily invested in mobile and social platforms for a while now, and it’s proven to be a massive success for them financially. And let’s not forget the launch of the Origin platform.
Upon hearing the words “100% digital,” there’s a distinct possibility you picture employees of EA raising a collective middle finger at brick and mortar retailers everywhere. While that amazing mental image may come true one day, that isn’t quite what Gibeau is saying here. Rather, the company intends to provide players with choices in how they purchase their games.
“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,” Gibeau told GamesIndustry. They won’t abandon retail unless the industry at large veers that way, but they’ll certainly be doing their best to allow players to download their games if they’d rather not purchase physical copies.
Despite this current commitment to retailers, Gibeau is still confident a day will come when they’ll be out of the equation. “[…] we’re going to be a 100% digital company, period. It’s going to be there someday. It’s inevitable,” he said. His words echo a sentiment that many in the industry have harbored for years, although the model would certainly present some problems in the current climate.
There’s no denying that this is an exciting, tumultuous time for our industry. There’s a distinct possibility the boom in the mobile and social platforms will inform the design of future consoles, which is a sentence I never would have thought I’d write even three years ago. We’ve seen a lot of change, and I’ve no doubt we’ll be seeing just as much in the years ahead.
No matter where we go, it’s clear EA is bracing themselves for it.