EA Sports President Peter More Talks Digital Distribution and Death

Peter MooreEA Sports’ Peter Moore has always been one of my favorite gaming executives. He’s smart, fun, and extremely quotable. In a recent interview with IGN, Moore laid the smack down on physical media and talked up digital distribution. He said:

I’d say the core business model of video games is a burning platform. Absolutely. We all recognize that, and we’ll recognize it 10 years from now when we tell our grandkids. We’ll tell them we used to drive to the store to get shiny discs that have bits and bites on them and we’d place them in this thing called a “disc tray,” and it’d whirl around…and they’ll go “What?”

I love this analogy, simply because I’ve been dreaming about telling my unborn children all about eight-track tapes. Moore’s example of telling grandchildren about physical discs is sort of the same thing. He doesn’t stop there though! Moore gets a bit more macabre by talking about physical media and digital distribution in terms of death:

As a concept, do you stay on the platform and face certain death, or do you jump into the water and face probable death? Most of you would choose probable death, so you start moving towards a hybrid model of digital distribution.

There’s nothing like telling consumers that the future of console gaming is probably death. Ha!

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Author: RPadTV

http://www.RPad.TV

17 thoughts on “EA Sports President Peter More Talks Digital Distribution and Death”

  1. im still not sold on complete digital distribution. i think the prices need to drop for hard drive space and for digital copies of the games. right now GTA4 is $29.99 on xbox live games on demand, and brand new in the store. i would like to have a digital copy of this game, i think it would be cool. but it is not cost effective for me because if i only have a digital copy i still can't resell my property whenever i decide.

    i forget whose twitter this was one, but they said, "downloadable games limit people's freedom to resell stuff they no longer have a use for"

  2. @bsukenyan I don't doubt that it is gaming's future (though I wouldn't equate to probably death like Petey did). However, I'm not even sure that it's 10 years away, like Moore suggested. There are still too many problems with ISPs in America to make digital distribution feasible any time soon.

  3. @rpad Ive heard some people say that digital distribution is coming in 2017, but i just dont see how that will happen so quickly. on the other hand technology always seems to come quicker than people expect it to. i definitely believe that it is the future, but i would like to see digital distribution prices drop a little bit to make my wallet feel better about the purchase.

  4. I buy all my PC games through Steam, and enjoy playing downloaded games on my 360. Not having a physical copy of the game, makes playing game more user friendly. Like, "changing the channel", friendly.

  5. @bsukenyan The technology is already here, it's the ISPs (in America) that are the problem. Digital distribution of full games — even Blu-ray sized ones — could work right now in countries like Korea, Finland, etc. In America, ISPs are happy to throttle your bandwidth and cap it, not to mention content to hold back technology deployment.

    Conceivably, the market can correct itself with digital distribution since shipping and retail costs would be eliminated. However, game budgets keep escalating and money would have to be spent on servers, customer support, etc.

  6. @rpad Yes shipping costs would be eliminated, which leaves some distribution companies out in the cold i would think, but the retail prices would HAVE to go down, and so far i haven't seen that happening. hopefully soon.

  7. the big scare of digi distribution is that you will only be able to buy from MS or Sony or N. They will keep firm prices. No more sales or buy 2 get 1 free deals. Example: Table Tennis on xbox. That is all. Won't happen here. If Itunes were the only place to get music, that would be a problem.

  8. @Smartguy I don't think it will pan out like that. For example, Amazon currently sells XBLA, PSN, and Wii games. At times, their prices are different than buying directly through the console. Then again, I might be thinking naively.

  9. @Ray

    You can only buy arcade games from them for 360. I don't see a section that sells normal games.

    Same with PSN. Only the "arcade" games are for sale on Amazon.

    I don't consider that a good litmus of pricing models since those games aren't sold in stores anyway so you can't compare how the prices will go.

  10. @Smartguy Why isn't that a good litmus test? It's the start of an online retailer selling codes for digitally distributed games that would otherwise only be available through consoles. I'd say as it becomes the norm, it will only expand.

  11. @Ray

    Because MS is the sole publisher of those titles since they retain rights to them being sold and distributed on their network. The real test will be when 3rd party developers agree to that. I think the PSPgo will be the litmus on how the digi goes.

  12. @Smartguy You're correct. The models have to and will change. Sony is going through that headache now with trying to please all of its UMD customers that now have a PSPgo. Due to the way the old contracts were structures, it would be extremely difficult — probably impossible — for gamers to get a digital exchange for most of their third-party games on UMD.

    Digital distribution wasn't planned for when these contracts were signed, but it will play a part in deals made today and those going forward. The market is changing and will have to adapt. Customers that prefer going to stores or buying from an online retailer will be considered, as will customers that simply don't have access to reasonable broadband speeds. I don't see console companies just abandoning them.

  13. @Ray

    Yep. I just don't see it being something that easily takes off. The used game market is quite big and can't just be brushed aside.

  14. The biggest problem with digital distribution is that retail prices don't vary. Not a big deal when the game has only been out for a short time, but when you see arcade games sit at the same price for years it starts to show. Steam does a good job of adjusting prices over time, but Microsoft and Sony don't lower prices the older the game gets. Maybe if Valve gets what they want, Steam on consoles, it would allow enough competition for Sony and Microsoft to change this.

  15. I am very much in favor with competing online stores on the machines.

    Another point to be made is that I expect the game to be cheaper since it isn't refundable or actually mine. No resale or ability to do a return should equal a lower price than 60 per title.

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