Imagine a day when brick-and-mortar video game retailers are no more. No GameStop at the mall. No video game department in Best Buy or Target or Walmart. Heck, even Apple Stores without the handful of games they stock.
Instead, all video games are sold digitally, as downloads straight to your game console or computer.
Sound crazy? It could happen, and it just might.
EA Games just hit a major milestone that may point at the shape of things to come. For the first time in the company's history, digital download sales bested physical disc sales. According to the company's first quarter earnings statement for fiscal year 2016, digital sales accounted for 52 percent of its total revenue. Digital sales jumped a whopping $87 million year-over-year.
Investors should be happy to hear that net income rose from $335 million this time last year to $442 million this year. That's nothing to sneeze at.
We're a very long way from the day that video game sales go all-digital. And it could be argued that that day might never come. Retailers like Barnes & Noble feared they'd have to shutter their stores when Amazon popularized ebooks, but it turned out, not everyone wanted to read books electronically. There are still music stores around despite the overwhelming popularity of iTunes and newer streaming services like Spotify (though to be fair, many of the music chain stores did close up shop).
But video games are different. They've always been a digital medium, ready made for easy consumption via the Internet and use on devices already connected. Only time will tell, but for now, it seems as though digital video game sales still have plenty of room to grow.
h/t Game Informer