EA has announced they will no longer be distributing physical games in German-speaking countries like Germany, Austria, and Switzerland, instead moving to a digital-only model for those markets. The move comes amidst falling revenue from sales of physical games, but the move is still expected to cause a “significant decline in sales” for this financial year.
EA goes digital only as physical sales decline
Sales of physical games have been declining for all companies over the past few years, while digital sales increase at a phenomenal rate. EA is one of these companies and has been gradually shifting its priorities to a digital model. In the latest statement from EA Deutschland, as reported by Games Wirtschaft, the company explained how the shift from physical to digital was having a large impact on sales development so the team was forced to go through economic restructuring. The result is that EA will “no longer generate sales with packaged goods” in German-speaking countries like Germany, Austria, and Switzerland. This is still expected to create a “significant decline in sales” for the current financial year, though.
This doesn’t mean physical sales will stop immediately. It Takes Two on Nintendo Switch and Need for Speed Unbound are both due to be released by the end of 2023 and will still be available at retail. There is also the chance that EA may compromise if they find the impact to be too big and find an external distributor to handle physical games in the future. However, this does seem like the first sign of things to come in other regions in the future.