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EA: "Every consumer will ultimately go online"

Peter Moore hails digital downloads, believes that "progressive retailers" will play a part

Electronic Arts will be "totally digitally-focused" in the future, moving away from the traditional packaged goods model to embrace digital distribution in a bid to avoid becoming "another music industry".

That's the view of EA Sports label president Peter Moore, who has told he expects EA to "lead the charge" in that area - although not necessarily at the expense of "progressive" retailers who can also play a significant part.

"You're talking to a company here that truly believes that every consumer will ultimately go online, whether it's five years from now," he said. "You're talking to a company that ultimately believes that physical media goes away, that how we get our media - whether it's games, we're already doing it through music, or if it's TV shows - it's going to go through Internet Protocols more than it is through cable or satellite.

"And EA will lead the charge - by that I mean that we don't get marginalised because we continue to deliver physical discs. We have a cost there that's a drain on the industry, it's expensive, and we have every intention over a period of time - whether it's three years, or five years - of moving this company to be one that is totally digitally-focused, that sees a tremendous opportunity in interacting with our consumer twenty-four-seven."

Moore predicted back in 1999 that "a game will be primitive in five years' time if it's still offline" and championed the benefits of online play with the Sega Dreamcast.

But when asked about the impact that digital distribution could have on retail, Moore played down the negatives, claiming that more forward-thinking companies are already working on a business model.

"I think retail can play a great part in that - you're seeing retailers figuring out music, doing their own music sites - I think the progressive retailers either embrace what's going on, or the consumer just doesn't go there any more," he said.

"So you see Wal-Mart and Best Buy embracing that and finding ways to engage with their consumers online. Whether retail likes it or not, it's going to happen - so they either embrace it and find a business model that makes sense, or they become in the end monolithic.

"My belief is that the progressive retailers around the world right now are all figuring out how to make a business model out of it," he added.

The full interview with Peter Moore is available now.

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