16 January 2011

More Ways to Play - by Belinda Van Sickle

      Posted 01/12/11 06:14:00 pm  

“I think the consumer, at least in my view, doesn’t care what the technology is…; they just want it to work. …So, I think there’s different technologies for different purposes, and the consumer wants it to be largely invisible.”

Check out the second half of a recent interview with Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello. I’ve been saying (and hoping) for a long time that games sold are retail are here to stay—at least for awhile.

A lot of game industry analysts have been arguing back and forth about retail versus digital. Console versus PC. Browser versus Cloud, etc. But those binary arguments are too limited.

The business model is expanding more than just changing. It’s not like the game industry is moving from hard media to digital distribution like the move from floppy disks to CDs. The audience is growing and so are the sales opportunities.

There will continue to be games sold at retail, games downloaded digitally, games played on the cloud, mobile games, browser-based, what have you. What sells will depend on the market, the genre and a host of other factors.

“…we make services, we don’t make products…I don’t think people want a streaming game service. I think they want their games to work.”

This is a transmedia issue as well. The game industry needs to look at game sales with a more global perspective. The console mentality has limited publishers’ thinking—they only focus on the install base of the consoles they publish for.

But the world plays video games. They play on consoles, at internet cafes, on mobile devices, with browsers, on handhelds and whatever else they can get their hands on.

To stay competitive, publishers need to think not only retail versus digital, they need to bring in the world market and provide a service that can be accessed by more people.



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