Yesterday, Electronic Arts reported its full year financial results for the period ending March 2017, and they made for very positive reading in terms of downloaded games. Digital net sales reached $3.034 billion, which equates to a 20 percent increase over the previous year and 61 percent of total net sales (which includes non-console platforms).
With EA now selling more digital than physical games, you won't be surprised to hear the company believes the console games market as a whole is heading in the same direction. The prediction made by EA, as reported by Eurogamer, is that by the end of 2017 over 40 percent of full-game downloads for the console games industry will be above 40 percent.
EA may not achieve that percentage itself due to the types of games it sells on console and the markets it operates in, but the evidence points to downloads becoming preferable for a lot of console owners.
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Anyone who prefers to buy physical copies of games take note. If this prediction ends up being correct and the trend continues, it won't be long before it moves above 50 percent. At that point, physical game releases will likely decline rapidly. They are, after all, more expensive for a publisher than the same game in download form.
Games retailers will certainly not be happy about this trend as it will ultimately mean fewer games for them to sell and no obvious way to react. Longer term, this trend is sure to influence the hardware decisions Microsoft, Sony, and Nintendo make. If digital sales are well above 50 percent by the time the PlayStation 5 arrives, what will that mean? Could we get a 10TB hard drive and no Blu-ray, for example?
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