EA’s Riccitiello: “No question” that digital will overtake retail this year

By Nathan Grayson, Saturday, 8 January 2011 05:19 GMT


Quick! Out of the GameStop! It’s going down!

But first, would you like to preorder this life-jacket-and-flotation-device bundle?

Speaking with IndustryGamers, EA CEO John Riccitiello bet the house (and, you know, the entire multi-million dollar corporation) on digital distribution.

“At the end of [2011], the digital business is bigger than the packaged goods business, full stop. No questions in my mind. Then, you know, I think that we’ll find ways to even sell our packaged goods content in chunks and in pieces and subscriptions and micro-transactions,” he said.

Big words, but can he back them up? Turns out, the answer is a resounding “yes” – and then some.

“Our highest ARPU (average revenue per user) are free-to-play games among paying users,” he continued. “You think about that and say, ‘how can a free game be the game they pay the most for?’ We have people who are giving us $5,000 in a month to play FIFA Ultimate Team. And it’s free. Dirty little secret.”

Now walk over to your coffee-maker. Don’t have one? Drive to some sort of caffeine-peddling establishment. Next, grab a mug of coffee, then head home. Are you back? Good. Now cozy up in front of your computer. Finally, take a sip, read that last Riccitiello bit again, and then spew molten mocha in every which direction. There: you have now reacted accordingly.

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John Riccitiello