According to a report today from MVC-UK, Microsoft corporate vice president Phill Harrison said he doesn’t see physical retailers going out of business as the video game industry slowly evolves into a more digital medium.
Despite the day-and-date digital released from Nintendo, Sony, and now Microsoft through the Xbox One, Harrison said video game retailers don’t need to shift the business model.
“From research we have done, consumers like to buy things from retail stores,” Harrison said. “What they might be buying is a time card or a store value card. Retailers have a very important part to play in the future of the ecosystem, but what they merchandise might shift slightly.”
Among the interesting potential scenarios for video game retailers is a consumer could purchase a game and have it digitally downloaded to his or her console by the time they made it home.
Harrison said the idea isn’t far off, though he couldn’t speculate on any of the tech yet, and he championed the idea that the connected console could be something to look forward to.
“The idea of a console that is connected to your network means that it can update itself. It can check in with the Internet, the cloud, and download content while you sleep. So that when you wake up, there’s something new to play,” Harrison said.
Right now, Harrison said its hard to say if he can foresee a time when there will be no Xbox discs, although markets like South Korea are already mostly digital due to their broadband infrastructure.
In most places, though, the switch to digital will be a “slow evolution, not a revolution,” Harrison said, but there’s no doubt that on a global scale the world is moving toward digial.