The vast majority of gamers are still buying physical discs, but publisher Electronic Arts is finding that more people are starting to go digital.
In a conference call with investors yesterday, Electronic Arts chief operating officer Peter Moore noted that full-game digital downloads are performing well for the company on Xbox Live and PlayStation Network. Both Xbox One and PlayStation 4 now offer every retail game as a digital download on the first day of release, and that is encouraging more players to opt into downloading their games rather than driving out to the store.
In the last quarter, EA made around $35 million from the sales of digital console games, and it expects that number to keep growing.
“We saw about $71 million in full game downloads, which excludes mobile, and that was split about 50-50 between PC and console,” said Moore. “And I had mentioned on the last call that we were seeing somewhere in excess of 10 percent now for full game downloads on the Xbox Live and PlayStation network. We’re seeing that continue to grow. Now it’s between 10 percent and 15 percent of the initial sales that is going digitally full game downloads on those platforms.”
Moore used the recently released EA Sports UFC as an example. That fighting game was in the “high range” of 10 percent to 15 percent in its first two weeks of sales. EA credits Sony and Microsoft for making day-one digital a priority.
“We’re continuing to see a progressive move toward gamers being able to download, because they can now get full games on day one and week one of the ship [on new-gen consoles,” said Moore.
Outside of full-game sales, EA is finding that GameStop’s push to sell digital content at its retail stores is also giving games like UFC a boost. The retailer sold a special version of the fighter that include $40 worth of digital content for $10, and that performed well. GameStop is especially progressive when it comes to digital. GamesBeat recently spoke to the retailer’s chief executive officer, Tony Bartel, and he explained how it is striving to make the process of buying currency cards for PSN and Xbox Live and codes for digital content easier for consumers at its stores.
“Our retail partners are able to play in that digital space as well, so I think we’re balancing out this transformation between physical packaged goods and digital well, and our retailers are able to play in that space,” said Moore.