EA Labels boss Frank Gibeau has told GiBiz some interesting tidbits as to the plans for EA. This is Gibeau talking about how EA will be 100% digital in the near future:
“It’s in the near future. It’s coming. 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.”
However, this doesn’t mean EA plans to be “100% digital” in the sense that it’s going to leave retail behind. When I read the lead on this interview I assumed he meant “no more retail, we’ll be 100% digital.” But that’s not the case:
“But if customers want to buy a game at retail, they can do that too. 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 continued. “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 – much like your question about streaming and cloud – we’re going to be a 100% digital company, period. It’s going to be there some day. It’s inevitable.”
In other words, EA plans to at some point down the road be a 100% digital download company after it breaks the chains of retail stores and the vast majority of consumers buy games online rather than sauntering down the road to a game store.
The other slice from the interview is about NPD and how EA apparently doesn’t even pay attention to it anymore.
“Between Facebook, social, mobile, free to play on PC, Asia, consoles… it’s a vibrant, growing, huge market. An occasional bad report from NPD, which measures a sliver of what’s actually happening in gaming gives people an erroneous impression.”
“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.”
He’s full of it.