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Digital revenue to outperform physical media for Paradox

Europa Universalis publisher expects majority of sales from online distribution in 2010

Paradox Interactive, the developer of acclaimed strategy franchises Europa Universalis and Hearts of Iron, as well as publisher for those and a raft of other titles, is expecting to see revenues from digital distribution outpace those of physical retail for the first time in 2010.

That's according to CEO Fredrik Wester, who told GamesIndustry.biz that he anticipated the milestone this year, following a 40 per cent share of revenues for digitally-delivered titles in 2009.

"From the perspective of the number of units sold, we've never sold more on the PC than we did in 2009, so you could say that the rumours of the death of the PC are greatly exaggerated," he revealed.

"Digital download has really come in as a big commercial thing for us - 2010 will be the first year where we earn more money on digital download then we do in retail revenue, which is huge for us. It was around 40 per cent in 2009, so this year we're going even more towards digital."

Wester also believes that while PC gaming seems to be getting stronger, it's got more to do with levels of piracy receding due to better, more convenient ways for people to legitimately buy product.

"I think the reason for the growth on the PC market, that's happening on traditional PC games, is because a lot of pirates are being converted into paying users," he said. "If you take services like Steam and Gamersgate (that I was a part of founding in 2006), there's better accessibility, it's easier to download, there are services connected to the legitimate purchases - and that's led to less piracy.

"I don't think there's a revival for PC gaming, or that the number of users are actually increasing - but that's how I see it, at least," he added.

The full interview with Fredrik Wester is available on GamesIndustry.biz now.

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Latest comments (4)

Barla Von Designer 9 years ago
Doesn't surprise me at all. Physical media on the PC is almost dead as it's all digital downloads now.

Also, the fact that Steam is heading to the Mac now can only be a good thing as it'll expand the PC market even more.
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Buying digitally distributed games brings a lot of comfort like autopatching, easy transferability to other PCs and so forth. Also limited special offers have become the most popular and effective marketing tool. Most digital distribution platforms use weekends, midweek, Easter, spring, preorders and numerous other occasions to regularly put out attractive special deals to quickly attract new customers.

Deals4Downloads alone aggregated more than 200! special download deals from within the first 4 weeks since its Beta release.

With this this switching from pirated stuff becomes much easier. I assume that everyone has its own treshold. But the hassles with pirated stuff just gets to much compared to the rather low download prices.
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Andrew Jakobs Lead Programmer 9 years ago
Personally the reason why I stay away from digital downloads (which has DRM) is you never know if in a few years you can download the game again, OR even play the game. That's another problem these days, what if Ubisoft decides to close the DRM-servers in a couple of years for Silent thunder 5/assasinscreed 2, and you still want to play the game..
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Stephen Wilson graphic/web designer 9 years ago
Most of the companies concerned have issued statements saying that should they go out of business/ decide to remove a product from their servers that they will issue a patch to remove the need for server authentication. Note the the boxed products of Silent Hunter V & Assasins Creed also have the DRM not the just digital download versions.

I suspect the real reason for digital downloads overtaking retail sales on the PC is that retailers eg Game in the UK are stocking fewer & fewer PC titles these days in favour of their higher profit and "less troublesome" console cousins. Most consumers I suspect would still rather have a boxed product with printed manuals etc than a download especially as most downloadable software is actually more expensive than it's boxed counterpart.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Stephen Wilson on 15th April 2010 11:19pm

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