Namco Bandai will have simultaneous retail and digital releases for some of its upcoming titles, including Dark Souls for PC and One Piece: Pirate Warriors for PlayStation 3. North American vice president Carlson Choi says retail will still be the focus for most consumers, but the shift between retail and digital has already begun.
"If you look at what retail is doing, it is also embracing a digital delivery platform, and have started selling DLC based on these cards. Retailers are also seeing the evolution, but I think the question is: Where are gamers going to acquire the content?" Carlson asked MCV.
"I still think you are going to see a lot of heavy acquisition being done through retail. Broadband speeds are not at the state where you can download an entire game. But I do see a lot of fans still doing that. The evolution is going to take a while and I think retail through that time will figure out how it can still acquire the revenue."
Carlson points to Apple's success in shifting consumers away from physical discs for their musical enjoyment.
"Steve Jobs changed the way people think in the music world. People were used to having physical discs, and he transformed that entire business to a digital goods business. And he started to do that with gaming. I think a lot of the core first-party console folks are wondering how they can bridge the worlds of retail and downloads. And I think they decided: 'You can do physical and digital.' That is the starting point. Now how does retail react?"
The change comes after the publisher's recent merge of its Western development operations into a single division.