In an interview with Industry Gamers, SEGA West CEO Mike Hayes has claimed that while SEGA is looking to invest in digital distribution, as a company, it will continue to invest in AAA franchises. According to Hayes, "the death of packaged games is a total exaggeration."
"Net-net people are playing games more, net-net, the business is still growing, and in a way, some of the new businesses we’re growing are less risky," claimed Hayes. "So I think that the death of packaged games is a total exaggeration. But I think there’s probably going to be a lot of necessary pruning and good husbandry, which means that the quality for the consumer in the end is actually going to be better, because people are going drill into what they know is going to be successful."
Hayes also made reference to Cliff Bleszinski's assertion that the "middle-class" game is dead - the idea that to make money from packaged video games you have to go straight for high production, AAA values - or develop innovative game concepts in the digital space.
"I think everyone’s saying it’s becoming all digital and no packaged," he began, "I just can’t see that. I think both are going to coexist to a greater or lesser degree. I do like the comment I heard at GDC, which is that the day of the double-A game is over.
"I think that that’s something that we would absolutely agree with. If you’re not going to be in there with a product to really compete then your chances of making a return on that are going to be really limited."
Sega: 'Death of Packaged Games is a Total Exaggeration' [Industry Gamers]