Electronic Arts Aims for 100 Percent Digital Distribution Model

Paul Lilly

Remember when you could walk into a store like Software Etc. and wade through aisles and aisles of PC games packaged in gigantic boxes? Those days are long gone, and though you can still find a single rack of PC titles at your local GameStop, boxed copies are becoming something of a rarity these days. For Electronic Arts, the demise of boxed games, PC and console, can't happen fast enough as it looks to go all-in with digital downloads.

Frank Gibeau, president of EA Labels, sat down for a chat with GamesIndustry International and revealed that his company has a "clear line of sight" on putting all its eggs into a digital streaming basket.

"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 percent digital company, period. It's going to be there some day. It's inevitable," Gibeau promised.

Going strictly digital means tapping into various distribution opportunities, like IP televisions and streaming, both of which Gibeau said EA is prepared for. He also indicated that NPD's monthly reports are largely irrelevant and erroneous in scope.

"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," Gibeau said.

None of this should be shocking to anyone who's followed EA. Company CEO John Riccitiello said a year ago that EA was transforming "from being a packaged goods centric company to a fully integrated digital model."

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