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