Do you believe in a world where you won't be able to go to the store and pick up the latest version of Madden?
Believe it or not, that may be closer to reality than you think, as publisher Electronic Arts has a strategy to move its entire business of video game sales to digital distribution platforms.
In a recent interview with Gamespot, company exec Frank Gibeau said, "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."
Obviously, the retail channel won't simply disappear any time soon, but expect to see EA very rapidly transition away from that space as its primary focus.
"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," Gibeau said.
Digital distribution is certainly where the industry is headed. Whether it's streaming a game from the cloud on Onlive or downloading a multi-gigabyte title from the Playstation Store, gamers are less apt to go to the store these days.
And if a publisher can actually look at an individual consumer and know that he or she purchased specific games, it can optimize its business goa'ls and identify consumer behavior in a way like never before. It's really a win-win.