EA Believes Used Games Are Here To Stay
There was a time, around a year or two ago, when a number of publishers saw used games as an aberration that was robbing them of sales. That may not be entirely unfounded but the impact is nowhere near as big as any of them claimed. A big voice on this issue was EA but opinions change and now they’re singing a very different tune.
EA CFO CFO Blake Jorgensen said that physical copies of games aren’t going anywhere for a long time. This makes sense considering that while next-gen and PC are moving towards a digital library of games rather than a physical one, this is not feasible in a lot of the world given internet speeds in places such as South Africa.
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Jorgensen spoke at length about the necessity of the used games market to the future of the video game industry as a whole at the UBS Global Technology Conference in Sausalito, California.
“I also think that used games are an important part of the industry. People think about the prices of games based on the fact that they can still return that game and they need a physical disc to do that,” Jorgensen said. “And so that will probably keep the physical business around for some period of time.”
In response to a question on whether physical sales would fade out, Jorgensen pointed to the record industry which thrives both digitally and physically.
“We spend a lot of time looking at the record business and it’s surprising, but despite the fact that probably no one in this room has bought a CD lately, there’s still a lot of CDs being sold,” Jorgensen said. “And so I think there will be a physical business [for games] probably for a long period of time.”
Just because physical games will continue on, it does not mean digital revenue can’t rise at the same time, Jorgensen argued.
“So you might still buy a physical disc, but you might extend the gameplay on that by 10 or 12 months based on digital extensions to it where all that comes via downloads coming in smaller pieces,” he said.
The CFO also acknowledged the constraints preventing the industry from going fully digital.
“The biggest impediment still appears to be bandwidth coming into the house. And while bandwidth speeds have improved dramatically over the last five years, unfortunately, because the processing power of the new boxes is so high, the size of games has increased dramatically. And so all of the benefits that we got from faster bandwidth was probably eaten up by bigger games. “