EA has declared itself happy with the experiment of releasing Mass Effect 2 for the PlayStation 3 digitally and physically in shops at the same time – and sparked hope that gamers could see more games launch in the same way in the future.
Mass Effect 2 launched in January as a Blu-ray and a 12GB PSN download – on the same day.
"Sony had never done a day and day release," CEO John Riccitiello told an audience at the Morgan Stanley Technology Conference (as reported by IGN). "They were very cautious about their infrastructure so it was mostly a technology test."
EA did "absolutely nothing" to market the PS3 version of BioWare's fantastic science-fiction action RPG, Riccitiello admitted, and yet the digital copy secured a double-digit per cent of total sales of Mass Effect 2 on PS3.
Sales were "meaningful", the EA boss said. "This was really more about proving it can be done than it was proving what the opportunity would be. So an unmarketed game one year after the original was done on the Xbox and the PC, we released the PS3 and managed to do very, very well with it."
While there are a number of full games available to download from the PlayStation Network and Xbox Live Marketplace, launching as a download and a retail title at the same time is unheard of.
Publishers don't like doing this because of the retail policies between Sony and Microsoft, Riccitiello said.
"They have got to manage both selling boxes at retail, and it's generally a pretty thin margin business.
"And so they basically negotiate and leverage shelf space on the promise of making retail margin on software."