EA CEO Predicts Downloads Will Overtake Retail In 2011

Electronic Arts (EA), the world's largest video game publisher, has predicted that digital video game sales will overtake physical sales in 2011.

EA CEO John Riccittiello has claimed that the number of games sold on PSN, Xbox Live, Facebook and Apple's iTunes store will overtake those sold in traditional boxes by the end of 2011 and that games publishers will be offering full-priced digital versions of all games in the not-to-distant future.

In a statement to Industry Gamers, Riccittiello said: “At the end of [2011], the digital business is bigger than the packaged goods business, full stop. No questions in my mind. Then, you know, I think that we'll find ways to even sell our packaged goods content in chunks and in pieces and subscriptions and micro-transactions.”

He also announced that EA's free-to-play model has been a roaring success with an average user spending a huge amount of money even on free games.

"Our highest ARPU (average revenue per user) are free-to-play games among paying users. You think about that and say, 'how can a free game be the game they pay the most for?' We have people who are giving us $5,000 in a month to play FIFA Ultimate Team. And it’s free. Dirty little secret," he said.