Gamestop has something to fear now. Electronic Arts has officially declared that they plan to go completely digital in the near future. That means big time franchises like Madden, Battlefield, and Mass Effect will not have used physical copies available to purchase.
EA president Frank Gibeau stated that a move like this is “inevitable” but will obviously take time to make the transition.
“Retail is a great channel for us. We have great relationships with our partners there. At the same time, the ultimate relationship is the connection that we have with the gamer. If the gamer wants to get the game through a digital download and that’s the best way for them to get it, that’s what we’re going to do.”
Despite the very PC comments made, it’s been hinted at lately that game companies have an increasingly strained relationship with Gamestop. Used game sales makes up a huge chunk of their business so having one of the biggest publishers in the industry make a move like this could potentially be disastrous. It would force Gamestop to rethink their practices in order to survive.
Let it be known however that EA isn’t making this move purely out of spite. Last year, digital sales brought $1.2 billion in revenue with Battlefield 3 Premium contributing a huge part to that. With numbers like that along with the fact you can’t resell digital downloads, EA may end up being the “head of the pack” among all other game companies. Being able to shed the lost sales in used games will be very tempting for others to follow their lead.
What does this mean for the average consumer? There are some concerns that this could seriously cut gaming out of a lot of people’s lives simply because costs are too high to always buy new games. I don’t personally believe this. Steam has shown that digitally downloaded titles can sell at a lower price point than physical copies simply because you don’t have packaging and shipping costs to contend with. It saves the companies money to just have an online store front to sell their games so why not offer a discount? Let us know what you think of this move by Electronic Arts and how you believe it will affect your gaming lifestyle in the comments below.