John Riccitiello, CEO of EA, certainly thinks so. Speaking to Industry Gamers he claimed that by “the end of  , the digital business” would be “bigger than the packaged goods business.”
We’ve seen a massive growth in digital distribution over the last couple of years, and of all the major publishers it seems that EA are leading the charge in this regard – in terms of both mobile and console gaming.
According to Riccitiello, the future of digital distribution is allowing the consumer a certain level of flexibility in how they choose to play and purchase games.
“I actually don’t think that there’s a lot of mileage in trying to decide exactly how consumers want to buy their entertainment content,” he claimed. “They may want to buy it on an iPad; they may want to get it through the social network, they may want to pay for it through micro-transactions and monetizing, or they may want to pay for it all at once. They may rather pay a subscription price in order to count on what their costs are going to be, but they may want to pay for it all at once and never have to pay for it again. We’re in all of those businesses and I think the way this is going to work is that the models that the consumers like the most are going to grow the most.”
Even in the conversations we’ve had with EA locally, we’ve never heard such a bold prediction. In our extensive mobile gaming feature we discussed the rapid rise of digital distribution, but it was always tempered with a reliance on retail and the sale of AAA titles on console. It’ll be interesting to see just how much resources the big publishers will be pushing towards mobile gaming and digitally distributed games or additional mini transactions over the coming year.
EA CEO: Digital to Overtake Retail This Year [Industry Gamers]