As we all know by now, CDs are not cool. Music fans don’t want them in the age of downloading, and unlike vinyl, they may be off the market as a mainstream format within three years or less.
And in a day and age where we get games in so many different ways than buying them from stores, could the same thing happen with gaming? Put more succinctly, when will we hit the point where digital gaming overtakes the sale of cartridges, DVDs and Blu-rays?
Although movies and music are completely separate entities from gaming, you do often wonder about similarities, especially in the age of free downloading and piracy concerns.
According to reports on Reuters and Technology Spectator, Electronic Arts has predicted that downloads of games are going to beat out sales of boxed games in several years, prompting the company to shift its current focus to mobile and free-to-play.
Indeed, EA COO Peter Moore recently said: “There will come a point, whether it is two or three years from now, when we say, ‘We are doing more in digital media now than we are in physical media,’ and it’s clearly… not far away.”
Projections for the future? By March 2013, EA is expecting $2.6 billion from packaged products, $1.7 billion from digital, and that in the first quarter, digital revenue will go up 55%. As Bettor.com reports, there’s a bigger move these days towards social gaming and mobile gaming, which certainly isn’t surprising.
Moore also said EA “will never” stop physical media as long as the fans want it, but could there come a day when the fans reject physical product in exchange for downloading, like they have with CDs? Then again, with the demise of CDs, fans have been buying vinyl like crazy, which was initially left for dead decades ago, so maybe old school gaming packaging will stick around for a while.
Changes in the future may also be driven by the fact that companies could be spending less without having to make physical discs and boxes, cutting down on manufacturing and distribution costs. As Bettor.com points out, so far this hasn’t happened because digital games cost about the same as buying a physical disc.