Update 10/28/2022: EA has provided a statement to IGN denying reports that it will stop selling physical games in some parts of Europe, meaning business will continue as normal.
“We have not stopped physical distribution of our games in Germany, Austria or Switzerland and players will continue to be able to buy our games from retailers across the region,” an EA spokesperson said. “Recent reports stating otherwise are an inaccurate reflection of disclosures made in EA Germany’s statutory financial statements.”
IGN has reached out to EA to clarify how the change of policy, mentioned below, will affect its business in the region, and regrets the error as published on October 27.
EA games including FIFA, Battlefield and more will no longer be sold physically in Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Scandinavia.
Industry analyst MauroNL shared a report from Games Wirtschaft on Twitter (below), which states that the German-based Electronic Arts GmbH will no longer sell physical copies of its games in these countries, leaving digital downloads as the only option.
“The ongoing shift from physical goods to digital downloads continues to have a negative impact on sales development,” EA Germany’s latest annual report reads. “Revenue from digital downloads is not processed through EA, but through an affiliate.”
We’ve contacted EA to see if this policy may roll out more widely.
Electronic Arts GmbH, located in Rheinauhafen in Germany, has announced it will no longer sell physical copies of its games across the supply area in Germany, Austria, Switzerland & Scandinavia.
Games like FIFA & Battlefield can only be bought digitally.https://t.co/y6bEbvHTbz
— MauroNL (@MauroNL3) October 27, 2022
EA will “no longer generate any sales from packaged goods” as a result, and the publisher restructured its German business and scrapped local contracts to match the new business plan.
Buying games digitally has slowly but surely become the norm for a lot of players, especially since the launch of the PlayStation 4 and Xbox One. Street Fighter and Resident Evil publisher Capcom said back in 2020 that 80% of its sales were digital, while later that year Cyberpunk 2077 reportedly saw the biggest digital launch of all time.
Industry analyst Dr. Serkan Toto also told IGN in 2021 that “COVID-19 has of course been a strong accelerant for that trend, as some physical locations were simply forced to shut down or people generally were not eager to go out anymore.”
GameStop is one victim of this after struggling in the physical gaming space for several years, prompting the company to pursue new ventures such as its NFT marketplace.
Ryan Dinsdale is an IGN freelancer. He’ll talk about The Witcher all day.