There’s no denying the rise of digital gaming these days. With last month’s reveal of Sony’s PlayStation 4, we saw a huge emphasis on digital downloads and streaming capabilities, with instant downloads of games and other nifty cyber features. But now we have some real numbers from one of gaming’s biggest retail publishers to reinforce the fact that digital gaming is here to stay. SuperData Research is reporting that Electronic Arts’ digital revenue is expected to overtake their physical game sales by the end of 2013, which would be a first for one of the big retail video game publishers.
With the anticipated release of EA’s Battlefield 4 later on this year, the added boost from digital downloads of the new entry in the popular series might give EA the push it needs to see digital sales come out on top in Q3 2013. EA’s digital sales saw a steady growth last year, reaching $407 million by Q4 2012, and more than tripling its $114 million digital earnings at the end of 2010. All being said, Joost van Drenunen of SuperData Research predicts EA’s digital sales will overtake physical by the end of 2013, and reach a whopping total of $2.1 billion.
So what does this mean for EA? Well not surprisingly, a stronger shift to digital is on the horizon, with the speculation that EA may opt to go all digital one day. EA’s CFO Blake Jorgensen hints towards as much: “Without a doubt, you’re going to see more digital business and particularly more digital components of the gameplay allowed because the ease of it will be much better and the storage capability better.”
EA has been under a lot of scrutiny by the gaming community lately from their overuse of digital microtransactions in $60 console games like Dead Space 3, and the comments made by EA employees that suggest in Battlefield 4, players will be expected to pay if they want to reload. But hey, I guess their strategy is working because those numbers don’t lie.