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Digital distribution still "foreign" to many consumers - PopCap

PopCap CEO, Dave Roberts, says publishers and developers must work to include retail

Bricks-and-mortar shops are still the only retailer for many consumers, according to Dave Roberts, CEO of PopCap, saying that publishers and developers must develop ways to include them in online projects.

Speaking to GamesIndustry.biz, Roberts explained why, when most other publishers were pursuing digital distribution, PopCap was looking to expand its retailer operations.

"I think, for certain products, there's a lot of comfort for buying a disc and having it," he explained, adding: "We kind of all forget about that."

"A large percentage of Wal-Mart customers don't even have credit cards. This whole idea of putting in your credit card and downloading something is a little bit foreign to a lot more people than we'd like to think."

Retailers would have to find ways to adapt to the growing online market, he explained, while publishers would have to find a way to encourage offline buyers into their products.

"I think retail is going to try to figure out how it can participate in online stuff in much the same way that Blizzard with World of Warcraft figured out how retail could participate in that game's success," he said, referring to the pre-paid subscription cards.

"They've managed to prove that there's a way to work in a partnership with retailers, where each party can do what it does best. And I think that's incumbent on us as developers to figure out how we work with our retail partners. What Blizzard does is certainly a model that's pretty interesting."

Roberts went on to comment on the success of the iPhone's app store, suggesting that the volume of content could cause problems for Apple.

"There's this worry that Apple will eventually have to curate its store a little more or change the way discovery works because there's just too much stuff for people to find effectively," he said, concluding: "Presumably, it will tip itself over if they don't figure that out."

The full GamesIndustry.biz interview with PopCap CEO Dave Roberts is available here.

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