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EA CEO Sees Digital Distrubution as the Future of Gaming

January 9, 2011Written by Adam Wolfe

Unlike previous generations of console hardware, this generation has really started to focus on digital distribution. As each year passes, the amount of content gamers buy is swinging increasingly towards digital over retail. Whether that be on PSN, XBox arcade, Steam, or even mobile games, the digital offering is expanding at an incredible rate. According to one CEO, digital might increase so much that it’ll take over retail sales.

EA CEO, John Riccitiello, never has a problem speaking his mind, and on the topic of digital distribution he made some bold claims.

“At the end of [2011], the digital business is bigger than the packaged goods business, full stop. No questions in my mind.”

He then added”

“Our highest ARPU (average revenue per user) are free-to-play games among paying users. You think about that and say, ‘how can a free game be the game they pay the most for?’ We have people who are giving us $5,000 in a month to play FIFA Ultimate Team. And it’s free. Dirty little secret.”

These may be some wild claims, but he makes a valid point. Games like Farmville on Facebook have made millions of dollars in profit, and they’re free-to-play with a cash shop style model. This very well may be the wave of the future.

So what are your thoughts on digital gaming? Do you still prefer to do your gaming through retail, or are you more open to the digital side?