EA CEO John Riccitiello said recently that 2011 would see digital sales overtaking retail sales
, but before you start trashing all of those $60 discs and plastic cases you bought, not so fast. Riccitiello also says that game discs aren't going away "any time soon."
Sometimes it's just easier to plug in a disc or buy a box than receive a huge download over a relatively slow connection, he says, and what the industry will end up doing is choosing certain cases out of all of the options for various uses. "I think it'd pretty silly for us to stream Scrabble
to you," he says. "Why would you want to pay for bandwidth for us to redraw a Scrabble
board sixty times a second? That's just sort of bad math, if nothing else."
Not to mention that "the disc can actually be a great starting point for a digital business, like an MMO, World of Warcraft
, for instance." While digital and streaming services will almost certainly see growth this year, it's far too early for game makers and retailers alike to completely abandon physical media. The consumer, says Riccitiello, "doesn't care what the technology is, what lives behind the veiled curtain; they just want it to work." Amen