Ubisoft Digital Publishing VP: “Retail Isn’t Going Anywhere”

Physical stores are a well-designed mechanism for discovery, according to Chris Early.

Posted By | On 14th, Aug. 2013 Under News

How ironic is it to have your digital publishing VP state that retail shops for games won’t be going away any time? Regardless, in conversation with Games Industry International, Ubisoft’s Chris Early believes that while the system may see some changes, it won’t be dying to digital distribution just yet.

“The underlying question is, ‘Is retail going away?’. No. And maybe that’s funny coming from a digital guy, but I think retail’s a strong part of our industry and it will continue to be so. Over time, when it goes to 50-50 or maybe beyond, will some stores close? Probably, just like some record stores closed. Maybe the store experience will morph. Maybe you’ll see more of an Apple-type experience store where you’re able to do things, but I don’t think it’ll go completely away.

“The physical store is a well-designed mechanism for discovery. You have expert help right there, a wide variety of products you can go through relatively quickly. That’s hard to do still on a console or a PC. There’s lots of content, but how do you easily discover what’s the best thing to do? We haven’t solved that.”

Nevertheless, with digital sales on the rise and platforms like Steam offering better deals over retail stores, one wonders how well an expert opinion will keep the latter afloat.

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  • Mary-Margaret Walker

    I wonder if we will come to a point where all stores will be like Apple for the experience or if the stores will find a way to cut costs (jobs maybe)? Retailers in almost every sector are increasingly frustrated by people who come in “feel” and then buy at home online, cheaper and express delivered. I don’t think it will happen soon but there is a big buckle and it will get resolved eventually. We are already seeing apps that let you scan an item and see the “store” with the lowest cost. Lack of inventory is already a result of this limists instant gratification. I’m not as educated on this as Chris Early. His business is product and people are my business. My husband and I disagreed for several years over the mobile market. I knew it would be a huge success. He knew it was going to fail. We were both right. The mobile market did succeed but only after they were freed from the carriers restrictions when Apple came on the scene. Mobile development became standardized, development tools appeared in abundance and profitability and small teams and companies emerged.


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