E.A. Claims Retail Isn’t Dead Thanks To PSN Hack

E.A. Claims Retail Isn’t Dead Thanks To PSN Hack

Retail will “play a very strong role in our business”, says E.A. COO. 

Peter Moore, the Chief Operating Officer of Electronic Arts, has emphasized the important role of retail at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2012 Global Technology Conference, as reported by Gamesutra.

Speaking about the state of retail in the face of growing digital distribution, Moore said:

“Once we get that disk installed in the tray of an Xbox or a PS3, we then look at our consumer on an ARPU basis. We love what retail does for us. We love its ability to create massive launches and create excitement. GameStop probably sees three million hardcore gamers walk through their doors every day, and that’s a marketing opportunity for us.”

Moore then went on to cite last year’s PSN hacking fiasco as one of the reasons consumers are willing to stick with retail.

“A lot of our consumers don’t own credit cards”, he said. “A lot of our consumers are still afraid of what happened to the PlayStation Network when 77 million accounts were accessed by Anonymous in 2011. A lot of our consumers prefer to go into retail buy those Xbox Live or PlayStation Network cards, and retail gets a very strong margin on that. For retail, if they can evolve to be not just a physical media purveyor, but a digital media purveyor, it’ll play a very strong role in our business going forward.”

Moore also had a few things to say about the upshot of DLC.

“The other key thing is selling digital content on the day of launch”, he said. “When we sold Mass Effect 3 back in March, we saw a 40 percent attach rate that first week to DLC at GameStop in the United States. Not only are you selling a $60 game…you’re selling $20 DLC, so the sale becomes $80″.

He then began to laugh maniacally, drops of bloods dribbling down his chin, and after sprouting wings he flew out of an open window towards an ominous looking castle in the distance. In all seriousness though, this is the sort of thing that gets E.A. voted the “worst company in America”. For one thing, Anonymous is a broad and often divided movement with no central leadership, so Moore lumping them all in as perpetrators of the attack isn’t going to win him any favours. I don’t want to delve into that too deeply here, but Extra Credits have a pretty good take on the hacking fiasco and why it is unlikely Anonymous were involved.

Secondly, his description of DLC plays right into the hands of people who despise DLC. Where once consumers would pay a fixed price for a package and that was the be all and end all of a game, now they pay not a lot less for a game and find some of its content gets dangled in front of them after the initial purchase for a price, like a flimsy carrot in front of a stultified and under-fed donkey.

I think retail’s days are numbered. The convenience of being able to download or order online, often for cheaper than the prices available in the shops, outweighs the slight benefits of the physical retail experience. You can’t bank on people’s security insecurities to keep the shopping experience alive.

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