EA: We Will Be One-Hundred Percent Digital

Electronic Arts plans to be one-hundred percent digital, and according to one EA executive, and says that the NPD Group's monthly reports are "irrelevant." EA Games president Frank Gibeau told Games Industry International in an interview published today that the company is moving towards a digital-only future.

"It's in the near future. It's coming," he said. "We have a clear line of sight on it and we're excited about it. 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. It has a lot of enhancements for our business. It allows us to keep more that we make. It allows us to do some really interesting things from a service level standpoint; we can be a lot more personalized with what we're doing."

Gibeau emphasized that this transition won't happen overnight and that consumers will still be able to buy EA games at traditional retail.

"But if customers want to buy a game at retail, they can do that too," he continued. "We'll continue to deliver games in whatever media formats make sense and as one ebbs and one starts to flow, we'll go in that direction," Gibeau said. "For us, the fastest growing segment of our business is clearly digital and clearly digital services and ultimately Electronic Arts, at some point in the future…we're going to be a 100 percent digital company, period. It's going to be there someday. It's inevitable."

But the most startling comment in the interview delivered some harsh criticism to NPD Group, the research firm that has been monitoring retail sales data for a very long time.

"An occasional bad report from NPD, which measures a sliver of what's actually happening in gaming, gives people an erroneous impression," he said. "My point is it's an irrelevant measure on the industry. It's totally irrelevant. We don't even really look at it internally anymore. We're more focused on our services and how we're connected with consumers. The number of Nucleus accounts we're growing, the amount of engagement time that we have, the amount of services that we're running–those are more important metrics for us than unit sales according to NPD and North America."

Source: GameSpot

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  1. 0
    djnforce9 says:

    Hopefully. Then again, we both know how much Publishers frown on used games sales. EA did the online pass system for that very reason. This also seems like an excuse to force every one of their PC games through Origin. Since I use it anyway, it's not so bad for me personally but some people really hate the service quite a lot.

  2. 0
    Atrayo says:

    Too bad the consumers never demanded a discounted price for a digital download of a game. Versus a boxed game with a manual at a bricks & mortar retail locale.

    I'm not singling out EA since this is an industry wide practice. Now game publishers like EA have sufficient leverage to pull back from a middle man in a retailer distribution chain. Like the above statement they keep more of those dollars in revenue for themselves.

    NPD has always had difficulty tracking online sales and most recently micro-transactions. Its a void of commercial statistics gone missing every month. Albeit NPD is making progress, but at a snails pace.

  3. 0
    djnforce9 says:

    The only problem with going purely 100% digital is that not every gamer has access to a reliable internet connection and therefore would be alienated by EA. Unless they think that it's such a small percentage of the total population of gamers that it's not worth observing. Still sucks for those people though.

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