Sega suggests digital distribution could surpass retail by 2015

Well, I guess it beats looking at a Gamestop storefront.

We’ve all been expecting it, ominously whispering its imminence for years now, but at the London Games Conference, Sega’s UK Managing Director John Clark put it out there, loud and clear–digital downloads could meet or surpass retail sales within the next four years.

He went on to argue that the retail market is still an essential tool, as the digital market needs the retail market to grow. “We are moving from a linear industry,” he said, “There are new business models. And every time a new content delivery method appears, a new business model appears.”

Perhaps this is kind of an obvious prediction, but hearing it spoken so plainly by an industry official just makes it feel that much closer. I’ve made it pretty clear on the Kids Table podcast that this stuff terrifies me. Maybe grandpa needs to get with the times, but I just don’t like how much power this steals from the consumer and gives to the publisher. What do you folks think? Anybody agree with Clark’s 2015 prediction? I know I do.

[Source: MVC]

  • grolt

    Honestly, I’d like for the gaming market to go the way of the movie market – that is to have discs with a digital copy included. I’m not ready to part with physical media, and I don’t think I ever will, since the appeal will always be that no matter what you’ll be able to plop that game into your old system and it will play without flaw. No digital rights management, hardware upgrade incompatibility, etc. At the same time, I want to be able to play the game on a system without having to worry about load times, or when I’m on the road the bulk of having to bring multiple games. I have a large PSP library, and I refuse to re-buy games I already own on UMD for that digital convenience — in a perfect world we should get both when we acquire a game.

    That said, I understand that problems still exist in policing piracy and those who would try to circumvent such a system by buying a physical game, installing the digital copy and then just returning or selling the physical game. I’d like to think that there should be some simple tagging feature or something that could easily tell if you still own the physical media. Until we get to that point I fear that we’ll still do this crazy battle between both formats, and I cringe thinking about the day when PlayStation or Xbox release a new system and cease backwards compatibility with all the downloaded games we’ve bought on their networks, or worse, remove our ability to play said games on the original systems, too.

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