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EA: We are eventually moving to all digital distribution

Written by Andre Yoskowitz (Google+) @ 10 May 2011 12:21 User comments (26)

EA: We are eventually moving to all digital distribution Electronic Arts (EA) CEO John Riccitiello has noted this week that the company will eventually move completely to digital distribution, killing off physical discs.
Says the CEO during the company's quarterly earnings conference call:

Over the coming years, we will transform EA from a packaged goods company, to a fully integrated Digital entertainment company. We're transforming EA to a games as a service model by focusing on three new strategies.


Those three strategies are (via TechSpot):

#1: IP. We believe we are driving the strongest portfolio of IP in the industry with EA Sports, FIFA, Hasbro, Madden, Pogo, Battlefield, Need for Speed, The Sims, Tetris, Dragon Age, Mass Effect and more. We fully intend to make these properties into year-round businesses that lead their sectors across a range of platforms.

#2: Platform. Increasingly, we see ourselves as a software platform every bit as much as we see ourselves as a content maker for other companies platforms. We had a great start with 112 million consumers in our nucleus registration system, up from 61 million a year ago. And while we will continue to be a great partner to our best retail customers and our first-party partners, you will see the beginnings of a consumer game platform emerge at EA that complements and extends the console ecosystem and addresses the wider opportunity on other devices.

#3: Talent. To deliver on the 2 strategies above, IP and platform, we will expand on a model that is already working at EA, and only at EA. We are the only company with world-class teams working across platforms on social, mobile, and console development. We are integrating these teams and augmenting them with product monetization and marketing. It's a big change. As an investor, you can see this as a way to better manage our IP and drive up the ARPU for our core properties. As a developer, you can see this as the reason EA will be the most interesting and satisfying place to work in the game industry.
The shift, when it occurs, will be a massive one. EA is one of the largest video game publishers in the world. Its revenue relies heavily upon packaged goods selling at various retail outlets.


Earlier this year, EA announced they would no longer ship paper manuals with games, instead offering on-disc manuals that can be accessed by pausing the game, or through the main menu.

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26 user comments

110.5.2011 12:31

the 3 new strategies are
1)Money
2)Money
3)layoffs & Money


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210.5.2011 12:44

I see no problem at all.

If they had implemented this already, I would have a much easier time playing NCAA 11 because the media disc is defective (but out of warranty period.)

It's just bad enough that the game won't want to initially boot, so I have to keep ejecting/re-inserting the disc until it finally "takes." Once it authenticates, the game plays fine.

Just like with movies and DVDs, it's only logical that games would go media-less as well.

And to think, it wasn't so long ago folks were having the endless BluRay v HDdvd "debates"...

310.5.2011 12:52

Originally posted by pirkster:
I see no problem at all.

If they had implemented this already, I would have a much easier time playing NCAA 11 because the media disc is defective (but out of warranty period.)

It's just bad enough that the game won't want to initially boot, so I have to keep ejecting/re-inserting the disc until it finally "takes." Once it authenticates, the game plays fine.

Just like with movies and DVDs, it's only logical that games would go media-less as well.

And to think, it wasn't so long ago folks were having the endless BluRay v HDdvd "debates"...
The only problem I have with EA's decision (and other developers) is the death of the second hand market. You cannot buy a "used" digital download. You will always be at the mercy of EA for pricing.

410.5.2011 13:04

Yea... and If I wanna take my new game to a friends house I now have to pack my PS3?

What if the hard drive dies?

510.5.2011 13:13

Originally posted by m3_chris:
Yea... and If I wanna take my new game to a friends house I now have to pack my PS3?

What if the hard drive dies?
we dont have to buy their games if we dont like their distribution model

610.5.2011 14:03

like the idea of downloading, but I prefer HAVING the physical copies than digital. I like to SELL my physical copies or trade my physical copies for newer games, with digital, you gonna have to keep them in your hard drive as long as your drive can hold, and what if it can't hold anymore ? you then have to buy another hard drive for twice amount of the money that you have to pay for the games. If you going to make your game digital, then it better be cheaper than some $60/game, but you know thats not gonna happen.


Being nice always has its own consequences

710.5.2011 16:02

Oh good. Now we can get some nice cost saving measures passed on to us, being loyal customers and all.

/sarcasm

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 May 2011 @ 16:03

810.5.2011 16:14

I haven't used digital distribution methods like steam, but doesn't work in such a matter that once you pay for the game you can re download it in case you get a new hard drive or for some reason it needs to be reinstalled? I feel like the only valid argument in this thread is the killing of the second hand market which is what the industry has wanted to do for years.

910.5.2011 16:18

Yea, you can also move the entire Steam folder to a USB thumbdrive/Harddrive and transfer to a new computer, or another computer in your house and play in offline mode.

1010.5.2011 16:20

I've already lost access to several hundred dollars' worth of software distributed digitally because the companies no longer support my license codes and their software can't be installed on my newer systems without their support. The software I'm able to hang onto from a few years ago are the ones that I have physical copies of.

When people incorrectly refer to Copyright Infringement as theft, it gets under my skin a little. Nobody deprived them of their product. Nobody broke into their business and stole computers containing their precious product. They still have everything. Nothing was stolen from them.

In my case however, I'm left without both the money I paid for the product, and the product itself. I truly feel like I've been the victim of theft in these cases.

I'm very tight-fisted with my cash when it comes to purchasing software without physical media.


When laws allow unlimited ownership of ideas, it is to a society as iron fusion is to the core of a star.

When verified realities lead us to anger, we must learn to reevaluate our beliefs.

1110.5.2011 16:31

P2P the biggest Digital distribution source ever conceived, and you don't see people not using that.

EA cannot go strait into digital distribution, if they did they would flop.

the reason i like steam(and believe they succeeded) is its easy to crack, they let you backup your library locally to a medium of your choice and its a social laid back gaming community.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 May 2011 @ 16:34

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1210.5.2011 17:28

What about the fact that ISP's are now putting caps on their bandwidth. So i have a crappy service that allows me 75Gb a month and i have to spend almost a tenth of that on downloading a game? I think NOT!

1310.5.2011 17:53

HM. This would piss off some people that has only 20gb bandwidth us per month and not only that the ps3 owners will not be able to play EA game if PSN still offline. For Xbox 360 MS should allow people to use external hard drive up to 500gb or more if lots of company going digital which is really stupid. The reason company doing this is to save money on discs and make us pay for the game that cost the same if it was on disc and digital download. I really don't like the idea because I can't resell the games on ebay.

This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 10 May 2011 @ 17:58

1410.5.2011 18:59

not ready for this! preowned will be screwed & we will be at the mercy of EAS pricing not for me physical media is all I care for at the moment.

1510.5.2011 19:10

Nintenut: I am eventually moving to all non-EA titles.

I'm not paying for something that I can't physically own.

1610.5.2011 20:33

I knew this would be coming eventually. So the people that don't have their systems online would not be able to play any EA games. Seems like they would lose out on a lot of customers. It is definitely a win for them because they cut out all of the manufacturing, shipping, and employees it takes to produce physical disks. Seems like some company wouldn't want to get rid of bluray or dvd since they sell a lot of players and drives for discs. Eventually all data will probably digital.

1711.5.2011 4:14

Now maybe they can get rid of their online codes and stop penalizing gamers for not buying new copies of the media.

1811.5.2011 5:43

Originally posted by Clam_Up:
I've already lost access to several hundred dollars' worth of software distributed digitally because the companies no longer support my license codes and their software can't be installed on my newer systems without their support. The software I'm able to hang onto from a few years ago are the ones that I have physical copies of.

When people incorrectly refer to Copyright Infringement as theft, it gets under my skin a little. Nobody deprived them of their product. Nobody broke into their business and stole computers containing their precious product. They still have everything. Nothing was stolen from them.

In my case however, I'm left without both the money I paid for the product, and the product itself. I truly feel like I've been the victim of theft in these cases.

I'm very tight-fisted with my cash when it comes to purchasing software without physical media.
Completely agree...$ony banned my PSN account with several hundred dollars worth of content on it...what for? Because I installed Linux. When I bought that content, OtherOS was still on the system and there was nothing that said that using Linux would result in my account (and my purchases) being taken away.

Originally posted by dab0ne:
Now maybe they can get rid of their online codes and stop penalizing gamers for not buying new copies of the media.
Don't worry...they will find a way to do that anyway.

Originally posted by nintenut:
Nintenut: I am eventually moving to all non-EA titles.

I'm not paying for something that I can't physically own.
Even if you have the disk, you don't actually own it...software licensing is like that; the disk is just free installation media...what you pay for is a license to use the game.

As for avoiding EA, they are not the only ones doing this...99% of the industry will be download-only within 10 years.

Originally posted by wspdl:
What about the fact that ISP's are now putting caps on their bandwidth. So i have a crappy service that allows me 75Gb a month and i have to spend almost a tenth of that on downloading a game? I think NOT!
If it is a landline with a 75GB cap, switch to a decent ISP (even a tethered smart phone does more than that). If you are still on some prehistoric joke of a connection in the 5-10 years it will the industry to fully switch over, you are obviously so remote that there are no physical stores to buy from anyway.

Originally posted by DVDBack23:
Originally posted by pirkster:
I see no problem at all.

If they had implemented this already, I would have a much easier time playing NCAA 11 because the media disc is defective (but out of warranty period.)

It's just bad enough that the game won't want to initially boot, so I have to keep ejecting/re-inserting the disc until it finally "takes." Once it authenticates, the game plays fine.

Just like with movies and DVDs, it's only logical that games would go media-less as well.

And to think, it wasn't so long ago folks were having the endless BluRay v HDdvd "debates"...
The only problem I have with EA's decision (and other developers) is the death of the second hand market. You cannot buy a "used" digital download. You will always be at the mercy of EA for pricing.
Not true at all...if they kill the second-hand market, this will not create (many) new sales for them...it will just create a thriving piracy market. Some of their current customers buy both new and used titles...once they switch to piracy for used titles, they will probably do the same for new titles. To fight this, EA will put ever more crippling DRM into their games, and the pirates will pick up more steam as the pirated versions will have the DRM removed...at that point, even people who were only buying new titles will be using pirated software...even if they buy the games, they will still be playing the pirated versions because there are fewer problems.


1911.5.2011 12:23

Originally posted by Clam_Up:
When people incorrectly refer to Copyright Infringement as theft, it gets under my skin a little. Nobody deprived them of their product. Nobody broke into their business and stole computers containing their precious product. They still have everything. Nothing was stolen from them.

You forgot 1.

Were they PAID for the work they have released?

If not then it'd be classed as theft under law.

You can't pay bills or people, if there's no money coming in, if those people can't pay their bills and stuff then they won't work for that company and so on and so forth.

If the distro companies don't make their money back for buying X amount of copies what ever that software dev makes means nothing as they won't buy from that software dev and thus software dev gets no money and goes bankrupt.

Don't like it? then work for free then whinge how you still get charged for power/food/rent/buying stuff and one day it might allow software devs to work completely for free and never have to pay their own bills or stuff.

You can be tight fisted all you like but you tell that line to the judge when some company has you in court and is about to make you go bankrupt for not paying stuff.

People really need to wake to how the world really works, very little is free, deal with it.

2011.5.2011 14:04

Originally posted by xtago:
People really need to wake to how the world really works, very little is free, deal with it.

i do, by finding sources and outlets that are free. some maybe piracy or maybe borrowing a copy from a friend(which will soon be impossible). if you like the lubeless anal rape good for you.



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2111.5.2011 16:59

Originally posted by xtago:
Originally posted by Clam_Up:
When people incorrectly refer to Copyright Infringement as theft, it gets under my skin a little. Nobody deprived them of their product. Nobody broke into their business and stole computers containing their precious product. They still have everything. Nothing was stolen from them.

You forgot 1.

Were they PAID for the work they have released?

If not then it'd be classed as theft under law.
I didn't forget anything. The only ones that incorrectly refer to Copyright Infringement are corporate monkeys and the ill-informed followers of their diatribe. I'll classify you as the latter.

The law refers to Copyright Infringement as Copyright Infringement. Piracy and theft are terms used incorrectly by people who want the law to go even further out of balance in favor of the Copyright holder.

Originally posted by xtago:


...

You can be tight fisted all you like but you tell that line to the judge when some company has you in court and is about to make you go bankrupt for not paying stuff.

Jobs come and go. People know that computers make it ridiculously easy to copy software, yet they choose to make a living by writing software. I'm one of those people. I've been involved with the release of several free pieces of software, yet I still make a decent living. Go fig.

Now, explain to me why I should risk my money on software I may only be able to use for a year or so, up until the large corporation shuts off their support servers?


Originally posted by xtago:

People really need to wake to how the world really works, very little is free, deal with it.

I have no idea what this has to do with EA deciding to drop physical media as an option from their product line.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 May 2011 @ 17:02

When laws allow unlimited ownership of ideas, it is to a society as iron fusion is to the core of a star.

When verified realities lead us to anger, we must learn to reevaluate our beliefs.

2211.5.2011 18:22

if i have a crappy internet or no internet i cant buy the game and play it on my device????????
plus if i have a high speed internet i dont want to waste my time downloading
probably they are doing this to fight piracy bec. it will be hard to get pirated copies now

2311.5.2011 18:22

Originally posted by KillerBug:
Originally posted by nintenut:
Nintenut: I am eventually moving to all non-EA titles.

I'm not paying for something that I can't physically own.
Even if you have the disk, you don't actually own it...software licensing is like that; the disk is just free installation media...what you pay for is a license to use the game.

Technically, yes; but I do own the disk, and they can't take it or the data on it away from me. Digital files are a different matter entirely.

Plus it's just nice to have a tangible object when I spend $60 on something, but maybe that's just me.

Originally posted by KillerBug:
As for avoiding EA, they are not the only ones doing this...

But they are the only ones who have said it in this article I am commenting on.
Any company that goes all-digital will receive the same treatment from me.

Originally posted by KillerBug:
99% of the industry will be download-only within 10 years.

I would love to know where you pulled that figure from... provided my assumption that such an answer would be obscene is wrong, of course.
This message has been edited since its posting. Latest edit was made on 11 May 2011 @ 18:24


2411.5.2011 22:32

i personally have been buying digital media only (games, music and movies "netflix, hulu as well" for over 2 years, steam, eadm, amazon, psn, live have been all i need for games.
i got a huge library of games cause it cost much less(time, reshearch and hardware) then download illegally, looking back about 3 years i probably would not buy anything... Now i can say with fair prices and more options i can get all my media need EASY...



2512.5.2011 7:45

i dont buy anything online.all it takes is 1 keylogger on your computer and all the money in your paypal account or any other online account used for internet transaction could be gone.

I wont pay for an item i dont physically own.

@xtago the employer is responsible for paying the developers not the customers.if the developers signs a contracts that states they get paid $xx for making software they should get the $xx regardless of sales.

maybe all the pirates should stop downloading and go shoplifting its the same thing anyway.(btw thats sarcasm).


custom built gaming pc from early 2010,ps2 with 15 games all original,ps3 500gbs with 5 games all original,yamaha amp and 5.1channel surround sound speakers,46inch sony lcd smart tv.

2612.5.2011 12:12

Originally posted by xboxdvl2:
maybe all the pirates should stop downloading and go shoplifting its the same thing anyway.(btw thats sarcasm).
nah, there pirates they'd rather rob the seas of all sorts of transported goods.

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