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EA COO Moore: Physical Media Isn't "Done For"

The digital vs. physical media debate rages onward and here at PSXE, we've often discussed the possibility of the disappearance of disc-based games. We don't like it and most readers don't.

But as services like the PlayStation Network continue to expand at a rapid rate and bigger games are available via download, the digital age is here, like it or not. However, that doesn't mean traditional boxed games are going to die out any time soon. That's the opinion of EA COO Peter Moore. He spoke to GameSpot about a variety of subjects, including the hit-driven market and the aforementioned debate. When asked if he thought disc-based media was "done for," Moore responded:

"I don't think it's done for. And you're right that it's starting to decline, but not massively. This is not 20-30 percent per year. This is not the music industry, which went in about two years from a powerful CD-based business to quite frankly one that was about digital downloads. Retail around the world and particularly in the UK has learned the lessons of music. They play a very important role still in bringing consumers in and educating consumers. And most importantly, they've embraced digital. If you go into any major game specialty retailer, whether it's Game in the UK or GameStop in the United States, you see the ability to buy digital download cards--what we call poster cards--that are a major part of the revenue now. They have figured out how to play in this eco-system."

He went on to say that millions of discs are still sold every year, and so many digital sales "springboard" off those discs. Therefore, Moore believes it's a "nice blending," although he admits that the traditional approach will continue to decline. Whether or not it will die out completely remains to be seen...or does it? Perhaps it's inevitable.

Tags: ea, ea games, digital games, physical media, gaming industry

8/18/2011 8:51:27 PM Ben Dutka

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Comments (49 posts)

WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 9:50:17 PM
Reply

I think it probably is inevitable, but like he says certainly not any time soon. Looking at the bigger picture I fear for the overall economy. I very much enjoy my netflix, but how many retail and rental brick and mortar stores are dead and jobs lost because of it? Everything will be digital eventually. Unless I get a wild notion to look for something old and cheap at Gamestop I do all my game purchases online already so that's just another step toward a purely digital age where the physical act of shopping is a thing of the past.

At some point when broadband is better established our collections will really just be a theoretical construct that could be wiped away at any moment. That's scary.

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Claire C
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 9:56:28 PM

It's still possible to buy any movie or music on disc. I don't think it's inevitable.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 11:25:02 PM

I'm taking the long view Claire, and my long view is that when the infrastructure exists, machines that even HAVE disc holders to play media will be extinct. In our lifetimes.

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Claire C
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 11:44:13 PM

I don't think they'll be extinct in our lifetime. If that did happen, and digital was the only option I had, I would probably spend less than a tenth of what I spend on games now. Thinking of the future sucks, and it sucks that is sucks.

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BikerSaint
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 12:40:39 AM

"Amen to that", Claire!

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 3:17:57 AM

I hope you're right.

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Sithis
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 4:11:17 AM

You know why I'm afraid of this transition to digital media? Because in my country, Pakistan, the internet speed is way slower than anywhere else in the world. On average, I get 0.6 Mbps and that will pose a major problem for me and fellow Pakistanis when we'll have to download massive files of about 30-40 GB.

At least, right now, I can go out and buy a game and be done with it.

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Beamboom
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 6:14:09 AM

I believe we will see games being distributed just like most other software are done now: An option between direct download and mailed on disc. Online download at a slightly lower price than boxed version. This will keep going as long as there is a sale of both distributions.

Simple as that.


Last edited by Beamboom on 8/19/2011 6:17:44 AM

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totozero18
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 11:26:34 AM

@World: I agree with you on the wiping out part. That's what I don't like of the so called digital era. I do buy digital music albums but the ones I treasure the most I go and get the physical CD's or in special cases Vinyl :)

Last edited by totozero18 on 8/19/2011 11:27:19 AM

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 3:02:24 PM

All I'm saying is by the time I'm an old man I'll have kids that think it was weird that we put discs in machines just like kids now think it's weird that we "taped" our television shows onto cassettes.

Seems reasonable enough.

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Kiryu
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 10:06:01 PM
Reply

Blu-ray is still required but not dvd.

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___________
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 4:21:53 AM

so where else are people going to be getting there games?
you gonna be forking out the hundreds of thousands of dollars for people to download them?
if so sign me up!

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Claire C
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 10:16:01 PM
Reply

Developers and publishers want all digital for obvious reasons; they'd make much more money. This is why we keep getting stories featuring quotes from them saying its going to happen. Just because they want it doesn't mean consumers do.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 11:26:09 PM

You're right, but at some point whatever saves THEM money will become the norm for all consumers. It will be forced on us just as surely as faster and dumber games.

Last edited by WorldEndsWithMe on 8/18/2011 11:26:42 PM

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Claire C
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 11:33:38 PM

If I represent the consumer and I don't buy then it doesn't become the norm.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 3:18:32 AM

I don't buy CoD and yet...

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godsman
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 6:52:46 AM

I prefer buying disc- based products. Digitizing will only encourage piracy.

Games are like movies. If movies are downloadable only, the difference between a pirated movie and a paid one is the "right to watch". I can see myself supporting in the beginning, but if everyone in school are pirating and piracy makes things SO much more convenient, I'll start questioning myself "why am I still doing this?" The only way I still feel like I "own" the product is if they support physical media only.

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tayizfire
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 3:36:40 PM

Yea if everything goes digital...say bye bye to the days of trading games with your friends...buying used games that were no where near the 60 dollar price tag that they stuck on it..but my biggest issue ..is what about the gamers with no internet ...i know a few without internet connections..and i know my internet gets turned off here and there...

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Cesar_ser_4
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 10:20:52 PM
Reply

They really need to lower the price of digital media first. It is unbelievable that I can buy a Bluray movie with full 1080p res, and lossless audio at a lower price than in iTunes or PSN or Zune.

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Russell Burrows
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 10:23:45 PM
Reply

Just one small problem with that scenario:


PS4 and the advent of either BD200 or BD500 Blu ray discs.

How long does it take to download five hundred GIGABYTES with internet speeds of now??

And most if not all ISPs are cap happy in that anything over a hundred gigs is saying bye, bye to your internet!!

I think that most games that are 50 gigabytes and larger wil be "downloaded" via purchasing a Blu ray disc.

If we get 500 gigabyte blu ray discs then imagine(ten games per month) trying to download ten games worth of data or FIVE TERRABYTES!! on todays internet!! Not! happening anytime soon if ever!!

Blu ray is here to stay.
Large capacity data discs for games are here to stay.

The only discs going bye, bye are SMALL capacity CD and DVD discs.

The uncompressed build of a new game like RAGE is One Terrabyte.

Large data capacity discs give the Game Developers the added flexibilty of not haveing to figure out how to compress a Terrabyte down to a paltry 50 GB disc.

It also means faster Game Development going from Go! to Gold status is the compression step can be avoided.

For Game Developers the faster a Game is developed and goes Gold, the better.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 11:29:32 PM

The future will probably be services like UltraViolet where you have a virtual presence that holds your collection in some nameless faceless server warehouse somewhere where your movies and games are downloaded to at rapid speeds and then you will have access to them via cooresponding devices.

But this won't happen until internet is capable of dealing with sizes and speeds in a reasonable manner.

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Oyashiro
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 10:29:57 PM
Reply

A all digital future will never happen. The reason? Internet Providers and there bandwidth caps that seem to be getting smaller and smaller.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 10:44:40 PM

Never say never. Media sizes and bandwith sizes keep increasing and leveling off in comparison.

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WorldEndsWithMe
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 11:30:57 PM

They will just force us to pay more to be gamers, meaning if you want to keep downloading games you will have to pay it. Gaming is hugely popular now and it will be squeezed from every angle as other forms of entertainment continue to die.

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LimitedVertigo
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 10:47:19 PM
Reply

I'm ready for the digital era. I think digital downloads compliment physical media quite well and I see it being like that for a while now. Just look at the Vita, if Sony doesn't fail on putting games on the PSN like they did with the PSP I will gladly buy everything off the PSN for it.

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Cesar_ser_4
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 12:12:46 AM

You got a point there LV. But there is a difference between 4-8 gigs Vita games require to the 25-50 most of the PS3 exclusives require. Now I say most because some of the games have made it to the PSN with a modest size. Besides not all of us have access to the higher bandwidth you city folks have...

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TheCanadianGuy
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 10:56:34 PM
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meh i hope it doesn't happens i'm old school i still buy all my games on disc & my music on CD. (and will do so as long as i possibly can). maybe that makes me a dinosaur but i just don't like the idea of spending money on something i can't physically hold in my hands. plus i like just being able to look over at my music & game shelfs & see my collection.

Last edited by TheCanadianGuy on 8/18/2011 10:57:48 PM

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Claire C
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 11:28:53 PM

Me too! Digital doesn't feel like you really own it, it feels like your renting.

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TheCanadianGuy
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 1:09:41 AM

you said it. i seriously doubt it'll ever happen. even though its droped the last several years i just don't see it going away for good. there are just to meny old school gamers that like having it in their collection outthere.

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godsman
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 7:02:19 AM

You have to consider the next generation. The new generation born now have no clue what CDs are anymore. They don't use it for storage nor for music. Physical media are here for the older gamers until we die and replaced.

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VampDeLeon
Thursday, August 18, 2011 @ 11:53:08 PM
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I dunno, I still have this little fear that should anything go wrong with the system or drive that's holding it, I can say goodbye to any money spend on digital stuff if it disappears. Even if there was a way to recover it via receipt, a hard copy would be much more difficult to misplace than a piece of paper.

Last edited by VampDeLeon on 8/18/2011 11:54:11 PM

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PSTan
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 2:35:39 AM

you have a sick avatar

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dmiitrie
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 12:06:58 AM
Reply

I'm all for digital distribution, but I don't see any reason for the industry to abandon disks any time soon. What I really want though is simultaneous release, digital and physical, on all major titles.

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Temjin001
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 12:56:29 AM
Reply

Interesting when Peter Moore says it's not like 20-30% per year just when I read at gamespot that Gamestop's revenue is down 25% from the same period last year, where they claim DLC content sales at their stores are up over 60%
There does appear to be a major shift happening with consumer interests. But to agree wtih Moore, I don't think physical media is going away anytime soon.

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StevieRV
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 1:13:04 AM
Reply

you can download albums because they are less than 100mb, thats no problem, but downloading 10gb or more for one game, thats huge, ISPs have a long way to go

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Russell Burrows
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 1:38:49 AM
Reply

And when we get 2160p movies in a few years its going to need a very big internet pipe to stream 250 gigs of data per movie.

A twenty Gigabit to a seventy Gigabit pipe will do.

But no ISP is going to give a service for one gigabyte per second service in the U.S.

Imagine the data tranfered in a month!??

1 day = 86 400 seconds or 86, 400 Gigabytes of data per day.

Lets see how many seconds in a month?

1 month = 2 629 743.83 seconds

2,629, 743 Gigabytes per month??

2, 629 TERRABYTES per month??

I can hear the screams of outrage from ISP saying the data caps are violated!!!

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Cesar_ser_4
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 2:43:42 AM

Why does everyone keep talking about these 2k 4k movie resolutions... I mean seriously. Isn't 1080p enough for now?

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PSTan
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 2:47:00 AM
Reply

Kids and their fancy digital distribution. Back in the day, buying a CD or a cartridge had sentimental value.

In all seriousness, I personally think discs won't die anytime soon; in my opinion, they're there to hold the data a hard drive doesn't have to, leaving space for more important things like install data.

Example: on PSN right now, Mass Effect 2 is a 12 GB download. With that amount I could easily keep the install data of 3-4 games without having to clear it out. Some would say "get a bigger hard drive", but then you're spending for more storage space, so why not just get a hard copy of the game instead? As dmiitrie said, the simultaneous release of physical and digital copies is the way to go. That way, the option is always there.

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Cesar_ser_4
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 2:59:01 AM

Just like old school records.

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totozero18
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 11:42:54 AM

Yep, buying a cd/dvd/vinyl has sentimental weight, I mean c'mon! I bet most of people here spent hours staring at the music cd's booklets while listening at the record. Again I really miss the 90's...
That and the "happy birthday" face when walking out of the store.

BTW, anonymous can't hack into a physical collection, cloud was already used for the PSN attack, eitherway I'm not afraid of them I keep my games in a bunker under the backyard <sarcasm/>

Last edited by totozero18 on 8/19/2011 11:44:30 AM

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 4:04:38 AM
Reply

My problem is backwards compatibility. For instance with the PSP I have always bought the UMD's... now with the PS Vita it seems to have a new card format for games which'll make all my games redundant for that console, while if I downloaded them of the PS Store I would have no problem playing them on PS Vita.

With the next playstation console, I can't see them letting you use your PS1,PS2 & PS3 discs on it, I have a feeling you will have to download the older games off the store. Which is lame.

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Cesar_ser_4
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 4:26:49 AM

You really see people downloading terabite after terabite of videogames?, like I said, there is a difference between the 1 gb size of a psp game, the 4-8 gbs of Vita games, and the 25-50 gbs of PS3 exclusives

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___________
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 4:34:53 AM

except most ps3 games are around 10GBs.
no way ps4 is going to be download only!
not even $ony are that stupid!
download only, especially for massive console games, is effectively cutting your install base by 99%!
go for a hour drive, or sit there staring at a sexy black screen for hours!
yup, i know which one id choose!


Last edited by ___________ on 8/19/2011 4:35:45 AM

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Vivi_Gamer
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 4:43:32 AM

I did not say 'PS4' games will be download only, But I just cannot see it having backwards compatibility for other PS discs. You can already download PS3 games on the store at the moment (even if the prices are ridiculously high.) So in a sense they're already planning it like PSP to VITA.

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___________
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 4:33:21 AM
Reply

hes right it is declining slowly, but the problem is unlike music games are not several hundred MBs and take several minutes to download.
there several GBs and take several hours if not several days to download!
hell, when i downloaded infamous as a free bonus for my + sub, it took me 5 F*CKING DAYS!!!!!!!!!!!!
luckily telstra screwed up and disconnected our service and because of that they doubled our usage, otherwise i would not of been able to download it in the first place!

tbh though i dont think will ever get a download only era, because the requirements of that pretty much meet the requirements of cloud gaming which is MUCH more convenient!
no matter how fast internet gets its always going to be faster to go to the cloud them download games.
not to mention by the cloud you can access them anywhere at any time!
not to mention that would help remove the cross compatibility issues.
download only makes no sense, its much more likley to go all to the magical cloud!
i heard onlive is going to the UK in a few weeks time.
interesting to see how well it goes there, then hopefully they will release it here.
hopefully that will give the government and ISPs the boot up the backside needed to upgrade!
come on, they did a survey a while ago and apparently 87% of australians only have access to cable because the copper lines are so old and deterioration!
i mean ADSL replaced that YEARS ago!
and ADSL2 replaced ADSL again YEARS ago!
we really are running in the 19th century!!!!!!!

thats another problem, in most countries internet is considered a nessessity.
here its considered a privlige!
i almost had a heart attack when i went to Hawaii last year and learned the hotel offered free WIFI to EVERY room!
here NO hotel does that, not even the really expensive 5 star hotels!
hell last time i stayed at crown towers which is one of aus most expensive hotels WIFI was costing me something like 50 bucks a hour!

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DrRockso87
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 9:21:33 AM
Reply

As much as I fear it's inevitable, I hope I'm wrong. I just don't see digital distribution replacing replacing retail as a good idea. Sure, developers will love it since everything is now digital so that's 100% profit but what about consumers? I can't spend $60 per title. How about a price drop once in a while? (which rarely happens digitally)

If Sony, Microsoft, Apple, and every other publisher on PSN/Xbox Live/App Store/etc. would take a note from Steam and cut prices once in a while, even for a DAY then then maybe they'd be able to start pushing digital more.

Still, I'd prefer if we have a future where everything is digital AND retail. That I would support.

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tayizfire
Friday, August 19, 2011 @ 3:41:18 PM
Reply

lmaooo has anybody thought about release day for these games...could you imagine trying to download battlefield 3 or call of duty ...the first day it comes out....are there even servers that can handle that load yet ...imagine the 20 million ppl trying to download call of duty at the same time ...ahhh the errors the errors ...no more midnight launches =))

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nath08
Saturday, August 20, 2011 @ 12:31:46 PM
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Physical media is by far the best form. As broadband/internet is not completely reliable. But when it is 100%, maybe thing's will change.

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Ather
Sunday, August 21, 2011 @ 3:11:37 PM
Reply

Maybe come the 2050's, but the 2020's wills till see discs. Porbbaly as the smalle rminority, but still going strong. Our grandkids will almost certainly be downloads only.

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