EA reckons 40% of console game sales will be downloads by the end of 2017

Do you buy physical or digital?

It's no secret the video game industry is trending towards digital, with an increasing percentage of console game sales coming from downloads each year.

But for EA, that trend is moving faster than it predicted.

Do you buy games physical or download them?

In a financial call last night, EA predicted the industry will end 2017 probably above 40 per cent for full-game downloads. If correct, it means we're hurtling towards that magical 50 per cent milestone.

The debate about whether to go physical or download when it comes to buying a video game is a long-running one. Buying a disc means you can trade it in or sell it on. Typically, buying a disc is cheaper than downloading a full console game, too, with often prohibitive prices on the Xbox and PlayStation stores.

But clearly more and more people are going with downloads, despite these issues. If you've got a fast internet connection, it's pretty convenient after all.

EA's Blake Jorgensen said the company will probably lag behind the 40 per cent figure it predicts for the industry because of the kind of games it sells. FIFA, after all, is a huge, global product that sells in markets where internet speeds aren't quite good enough. So, when it comes to FIFA, physical is very much king of the hill.

Battlefield 1, however, seemed to do well when it came to downloads, sparking the faster-than-expected growth in digital. Full game downloads accounted for 33 per cent of EA's unit sales during its last financial year, up from the forecasted 29 per cent.

Speaking of video game consoles, EA said it expects the install base of the current generation to grow to 105m by the end of 2017. Currently the PS4 has outsold the Xbox One by around two-to-one globally. Microsoft plans to release Project Scorpio later this year.

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About the author

Wesley Yin-Poole

Wesley Yin-Poole

Editor  |  wyp100

Wesley is Eurogamer's editor. He likes news, interviews, and more news. He also likes Street Fighter more than anyone can get him to shut up about it.


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