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EA Exec: Physical Game Retail Won't Last 10 More Years

Most analysts and industry insiders say it's inevitable. The only question is, when?

Well, EA Games executive vice president Patrick Soderlund told CVG that he believes digital distribution will continue its march while physical packaged goods won't last more than a decade. Said Soderlund:

"We know that packaged goods work today, and the majority of our current revenue comes from that. That's still a viable business model. But in the long term we'll see more and more people gravitate to downloaded content."

As for when, Soderlund says he thinks it'll be "sooner than people think" and to be more specific, "sooner than ten years." He did add that this is his personal opinion on the subject and that he's not speaking for the entire Electronic Arts company. He further said that he's a fan of physical content but the new generation of gamers may not share his sentiments:

"I happen to think that there's something about physical content, like books, that's collectable and satisfying to own. I still want physical content but I'm not part of the new generation of gamers. I remember a time when I bought a cartridge and excitedly read the manual on my way home, imagining what the game was going to be like. Maybe kids don't have that anymore."

No, they don't. Things are different now. But we can't be bitter, now can we? It makes us sound old if we're bitter.

Tags: gaming, video games, gaming industry, game stores, digital gaming

8/21/2012 8:38:48 PM John Shepard

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Comments (31 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 @ 9:41:14 PM
Reply

He could well be right but I'm not confident that high speed internet will be where it needs to be in 10 years to supplant physical copies. I think it's more likely we will see both physical and digital copies on release day by then.

I'll always have fond memories of cartridges and manuals too :) So sad to see lame black and white inserts that say the manual is on the disc.

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LimitedVertigo
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 @ 10:59:10 PM
Reply

The digital divide is too vast and too great to shorten enough in the span of a decade. He is wrong.

Last edited by LimitedVertigo on 8/21/2012 10:59:25 PM

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Beamboom
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 4:08:35 AM

I disagree. Do you remember how your connection were ten years ago, back in 2002?

Let's do a time travel:
The Playstation 2 has launched not too long ago, those of us who did our gaming on PC struggled with network lagging and timeouts during all multiplayer gaming sessions, and only very low bitrate online *audio* streams were possible to listen to without choppy sound, and there was some talk about "WAP" technology to access info from the internet on your mobile phone but noone used it cause it was too expensive.

It feels like an eternity ago but It's just ten years back. A *completely* different online world.


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/22/2012 4:11:01 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 8:54:15 AM

I see your point Beam but LV mentions the divide; things may have gotten better for those of us who have been online for the last 10 years but people in out of the way areas with poor or no high speed internet haven't had the same experience. There's still a high population of gamers that can't count on their internet.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 3:27:40 PM

I can guarantee you that by far the majority of people with poor or no internet connection today will have cheap access to the net in a few years time, should they choose to.

If they then get connected or not is their choice, but I firmly believe that for the absolute majority of people in the western world being connected or not is not even a question. It will be as obvious as electricity.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 3:58:14 PM

Have you been to America? It's mostly wide open ranges with people scattered all over that have terrible net. The closer you get to big cities the better your internet, which leaves a lot of people out.

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Jawknee
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 @ 11:15:32 PM
Reply

I call bs. I read the other day that of the total New Super Mario Bros 2 copies sold, only 5% were distal copies.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 @ 11:23:25 PM

Love Mario 2. Tweeter anybody?

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556pineapple
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 12:22:44 AM

I was tempted to buy a 3DS pretty much just for this game, but I think I'll get a Vita first. I'll have to wait a little while for either; hopefully I can get a decent job right out of college in a few months.

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Jawknee
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 10:25:21 AM

Mario 3D Land looks to be a better game to me. For the hardware anyway.

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556pineapple
Tuesday, August 21, 2012 @ 11:45:39 PM
Reply

Am I the only one who's getting tired of EA constantly talking about the future being almost entirely digital distribution? I can understand why they like the idea, as they wouldn't need to pay for pressing discs, packaging, printing and shipments, but I don't really want to hear about that future, when it's still not really feasible yet. Let's worry about crossing that bridge when it's actually in sight, ok?

/rant

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Beamboom
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 3:52:51 AM

Tired of?
I am more tired of people only wanting to hear how they *want* things to be, to be honest. :D (Not aimed just at you, but generally speaking. People tend to preach how they want things to be, not how it objectively speaking most likely is. Just look at that whole Vita affair and how that is "analyzed" by the Playstation fans)

The guy here is just saying how he see things progress forward, coming from someone from the inside. He even state that he himself prefer physical media.


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/22/2012 3:55:46 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 8:55:08 AM

I want Vita to be cheaper

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AcHiLLiA
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 1:18:17 PM

U know what I was tired of, getting spam mail from AOL and their stupid discs back then.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 3:28:59 PM

Clever, World. Clever. :)

I think you may get your wish granted in this case. ;)

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dmiitrie
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 1:41:18 AM
Reply

While I recognize just as much as anyone that current broadband is nowhere near ready to convert to digital primarily, 10 years is an awfully long time when it comes to tech. I remember trying to download stuff that would take several days on a brand new university signal 10 years ago. Now, on a relatively inexpensive home network, I can get competitively sized things in less than half an hour. Obviously such predictions must be taken with a good sized chunk of salt, but given how far we've come since '02, it doesn't seem completely outside the realm of possibility.

Last edited by dmiitrie on 8/22/2012 1:43:49 AM

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Beamboom
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 3:27:34 AM

That's exactly it, Dmiitrie. Consumers tend to judge every future prediction based on current day reality and that is per definition wrong.

I have a faster, cheaper and more stable internet connection on my MOBILE PHONE today than I had on my stationary PC ten years ago.

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Fane1024
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 10:46:01 PM

There's a difference between downloads being standard (or even dominant) and retail sales being extinct. I think that the prediction of *no* retail/physical versions *within* ten years is a bit too ambitious, but not impossible.

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BikerSaint
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 2:09:46 AM
Reply

Sorry EA,

D/L games should be 1/2 the price of what the disc version is.


So stop trying to stick up our butts with your high digital prices, especially when you know all this new-found money you're hoarding by not supplying discs, manuals, cover art, or cases.

Plus besides fronting the game, your overhead almost nil, thanks to no more warehouses, utilities, transportation shipping, and material supplies, etc.

And the same sentiments above, are also aimed directly at anyone, & everyone, else who is price gouging us on D/L titles too.

Last edited by BikerSaint on 8/22/2012 2:12:34 AM

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ProfPlayStation
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 3:08:24 AM
Reply

After having a nasty brush with Internetlessness in the past week, and having a recently fresh PS3 HDD and Steam having a broken Offline mode (nice one, Valve), I want even less to do with digital goods than I ever have before, and I was never a fan. I doubt I'll be making many more digital purchases. Hard copy or no copy, for me. Gaming execs are continuing their march away from my business.

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matt99
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 3:30:16 AM
Reply

I think it could be mostly digital within a decade, I mean itunes launched around a decade ago and I don't know anyone who has bought a CD recently.

Although maybe that's due to torrenting and limewire.

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___________
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 5:41:11 AM

yea, except music is not 15GBs+ now is it?
downloading music 10 years ago was pretty much the same as it is now, instant and uses VERY little of your download usage!
games, well, its taken me 19 hours just to download 72% of skyrim off steam!

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Fane1024
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 10:49:57 PM

I will counter that with the fact that I don't know anyone who has *ever* bought a song online.

Downloaded for free from the artists or other legitimate sources, but never purchased.

edit: I'd bet that casual acquaintances have, but I am not aware of anyone I know personally doing so.

Last edited by Fane1024 on 8/22/2012 10:53:38 PM

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___________
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 5:39:39 AM
Reply

sure patrick, so ill be sending my ISP bills to you then from now on?
disgusting how greedy this industry has become!
its not enough that you pay 100+ bucks for the game, 150+ if its a CE, its not enough that you pay 10+ for DLC, its not enough that you pay 20+ for merchendise such as Tshirts and guides, you now have to pay for a internet connection so you can download the game too?
where does it end!?
next there going to charge us every time we want to turn the fudging thing on!

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Ludakriss
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 7:51:26 AM
Reply

Bitter? Shiieeee... Do you even know how long ago I was excited enough to actually read the manual?

xDD Actually thought about it now...it was when Dark Souls came out xD

Still. GAMES TODAY ARE POOO!!!!! Winy, winy, yes, fuckin winy! xD

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 8:56:41 AM
Reply

Landing on the moon in 1969 pretty much solidified the idea that we would have bases on Mars by now. And yet... no bases.

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Beamboom
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 3:30:21 PM

Well, we got a RC car running around up there, a mobile base with science equipment and feeding us live images and doing missions on request for ten YEARS ahead. That's pretty much cooler than the few steps we did back then, before we had to return. :)


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/22/2012 3:31:20 PM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 3:58:56 PM

There's a chance you missed my point :)

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Lemon_Saint
Wednesday, August 22, 2012 @ 10:08:35 AM
Reply

I remember those days. My brothers and I would hop on a bus, (at 11 years old in a city), and ride to the mall to pick up a new game. Then, on the way home, the three of us would huddle around and read the manual cover to cover before we got back ... the anticipation was one of the best parts of a new game.

It's sad that everything is so instantaneous now. Sure, there are a bunch of perks, but the mystery is gone.

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Rogueagent01
Thursday, August 23, 2012 @ 3:38:15 PM
Reply

I kinda have to laugh at the people that believe this to be a possibility. 10 years?? Not a chance, unless the industry doesn't mind cutting off millions of customers. Many people are using their internet or their experiences to make a judgement on this. But there is a large portion of the world that has either bad or no internet, and then there is still the matter of caps which unless the videogame industry buys these ISPs and removes the caps this is not possible. Unless bandwidth caps are removed and actual highspeed internet is available for a very large portion of the world this will not happen, this is a true pipedream.

Let alone, I am sure that these companies can't wat to get rid of these collectors editions which can bring in double what the game is worth for a tiny investment /sarcasm

I still like throwing it in the faces of people who said all music would be bought digitally, as we have dozens of Music Stores around here. And the best part is those in the music industry that still release on vinyl, yeah to some of use that is a known medium which music was and STILL is made on.

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jugheadjones
Sunday, August 26, 2012 @ 12:36:12 AM
Reply

Considering that everytime you buy a game on opening day, bring it home and have to download an update immediately, they had better fix the fact that, for a large portion of gamers, it takes forever to load it.

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