EA Sports boss Peter Moore frequently discusses the migration of gaming to the online and digitally distributed environment -- and at a recent UK press event, he says "we're at [a] 65 per cent adoption rate online."
Moore expects gaming to go digital as gradually and as thoroughly as music has -- even though he sees present barriers to adoption in the console with the largest userbase.
"It's lagging a little bit because the Wii doesn't have a compulsive online experience yet, but I think they're going to get there," he says, as part of an interview with GamesIndustry.biz
"I think ultimately it's the same with the computer - who do you know that owns a computer that doesn't go online? I don't think in the world of consoles that we're going to be too far from looking at that in the future."
As publishers go digital, retailers have shifted somewhat toward the pre-owned market -- GameStop currently earns close to a 50 percent profit margin
on used games, far more than it earns on new software sales.
But Moore thinks retailers will still have a role to play, noting that iTunes cards are common sale items at music stores.
"We can look at the music industry and take our cues from that," he says. "I think retail has done well - I watch with interest what retailers in the U.S. do with music."
Among Moore's observations that set a course for the games business? Few people still purchase CDs at stores, and instead the music is an entrance to other kinds of merchandise and consumer experience.
"Look at retailers now who sell DVDs, exclusive DVDs that are of concerts, and you see retailers that are promoting concert tours," he says. "And you still see them doing iTunes cards, or Zune cards as it was when I was a Microsoft guy. I think they find ways of playing."