According to Gamestop's Sterne Agee analyst, Arvind Bhatia, retailers have nothing to fear from digital distribution -- not for the next five years, anyhow. Speaking to Industrygamers
, Bhatia disclosed that Gamestop management has been conducting thorough studies on the capabilities of digital downloads and its potential adoption for several years now and that the findings are still in favor of brick-and-mortar establishments. Bhatia predicts that a market for downloadable titles won't put serious pressure on retailers until 2014, which he proclaims will be a time when "25% of the population" will have easy access to download technology and when price and storage capacity won't be such a concern.
Although Gamestop's study might sound like it's trying to combat digital distribution, Bhatia states it's not about competition but more on adaptation and learning how to profit from the changing distribution channels. We can already see retailers taking a slice, stocking network prepaid cards
in stores and offering DLC
and full game codes stuffed inside retail boxes
. If this is how digital distribution is already affecting retailers, how much moreso in 2014?