THQ CEO Brian Farrell said at the Cloud Gaming USA conference in San Jose today that cloud gaming is the future and that – to paraphrase what he actually said – will inevitably cannibalize traditional retail, with console makers dropping the need for discs on the next generation of consoles.
"No physical goods cost for game makers,” said Farrell. “No inventory, no markdowns, and all the money spent by the consumer would go to the developer or publisher."
Farrell also noted that in this new environment company's like his would have a better opportunity to offer customers top-level service:
“Our games are always on and our players are always connected….We have the opportunity to interact with players in new ways that can be reactive to their desires, play habits, and buying habits. The box, ship and done model are transitioning to: observe, measure, and modify."
And with this paradigm shift into the clouds, THQ's top executive says that his company would be willing to tinker with new pricing models. Using MX vs. ATV Alive as an example. instead of selling that game at the normal price THQ sold the game for $39.99 with lots of optional content.
"But what we found was unlike free to play, $39.99 just wasn't low enough to drive a big enough install base to push the level of DLC we had initially hoped for."
Farrell concluded by saying that technology alone is not enough to steer the ship to the magical journey into the cloud:
"Technology alone will not give a clear benefit to the consumer," Farrell cautions. "Cloud computing and data storage could potentially do a lot, but it's what we do with it as game designers and publishers that really matters most."