EA’s Soderlund: Digital Will Kill Retail “Sooner than 10 Years”
In an interview with CVG, Electronic Arts’ Patrick Soderlund didn’t offer much in the way of surprising revelations. He seems to believe that brand recognition is more important than quality, which isn’t shocking, and parrots EA’s ridiculous contention that providing brand products across many platforms is something gamers who aren’t Farmville addicts think is awesome. But what’s interesting is the way his comments reveal EA’s plans for the future.
EA, as we’ve seen recently, seems damned determined to bring about a world in which gamers are freed of all agency in how they consume games. No more ownership, no more modding, no more playing at their own leisure, they seem to be convinced that an inconvenient persistent-internet, multiplayer only, F2P Ghetto dwelling gaming environment is the thing we’ve been clamoring for. This world would obviously be in their best interests, since it would free them from having to create games people actually like, which might be why company bosses are increasingly talking up the conversion to an all digital marketplace.
Recently, EA Coo Peter Moore said that within 2 or 3 years the gaming marketplace will be mostly digital. Soderlund echos that sentiment. CVG discussed how the transition will come when it’s no longer economically viable to produce games on disc, to which Soderlund said “I think it’s going to be sooner than people think. I think it’s going to be sooner than ten years. That’s my personal opinion, and might not be what EA thinks.”
That is ridiculous. Though I’ve already explained at length why I believe so, it bears repeating that gamers are not going to willingly be forced to subscribe to several services to access their games, nor will they consent to rent what they once owned. Furthermore, America’s Internet kind of sucks. So there’s that too.
Anyway, EA is talking up digital gaming a lot lately, and it’s starting to take on an air of desperation. With their declining stock value and increasingly bad reputation, they must be desperate to shore up future business. But what eludes them is that gamers want fun, good games. EA could make all their problems go away if they just made them. In the meantime, pipe dreams about an all digital marketplace are just that. It’s not going to happen for a long time.