A digital-only future for the games industry may be closer than you might think, EA labels boss Frank Gibeau has suggested, saying that a shift towards selling digital-only product will happen "in the near future".
"It's in the near future. It's coming," Gibeau replied when asked by Games Industry when the company will see most, if not all, of its revenues coming from digital products.
"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. 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."
Gibeau says that bypassing retail and selling directly to the consumer has its advantages:
"It has a lot of enhancements for our business," he continued. "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."
Back in April, EA said that it was in the process of transferring all of its franchises into "online universes... where the consumer plays how he wants, when he wants, and on the device that he wants".
However, despite rapid growth in the digital sector, EA will continue to sell games via any media formats that "make sense".
"But if customers want to buy a game at retail, they can do that too," Gibeau added. "We'll continue to deliver games in whatever media formats make sense and as one ebbs and one starts to flow, we'll go in that direction.
"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% digital company, period. It's going to be there some day. It's inevitable."
According to a recent report, Sony considered developing a digital-only PlayStation as the successor to PlayStation 3.
Last night, VideoGamer revealed that Sony has been developing PlayStation 4 since August 2010.