To what degree to us gamers actually use physical retailers? Sure, the appeal of being able to walk into a store like, say, Best Buy or Wal-Mart and see the physical object appeases the fetishism that we all crave in a special edition, but with digital sales from companies and outfits like Steam, the demand for physical retail has dwindled. Apparently physical retail is down enough to draw the attention (and slight ire) of Fredrik Wester, CEO of Paradox Interactive.
“Retail sales are like a bonus for us now. We don’t really need retailers any more and that is a release because retailers have not been good for the industry. They’ve not been good for the creative part of the industry, for finding new cool games,” he said in a recent talk with PC Gamer.
Citing the recent news that nearly 90 percent of Paradox’s sales come from purely digital mediums, the news that digital’s boon has influenced sales strategies should come as no huge surprise given the recent rash of severe sales on Steam hosted games and the reliance of most consumers on purely digital services like iTunes and Amazon. Wester also went on to admit his relief at the news, saying that Paradox will now be able to breathe more freely with the burden of physical retail lifted.
The question remains if retail will see a spike in interest with the literal dozens of new titles planned for the year, especially given increasingly large bonuses for pre-orders and limited editions. True, games have yet to meet the niche market of super limited releases like signed/lettered books but in the quest for immediacy the pleasure of receiving more for a longer wait could pull retailers up by their bootstraps. Then again, Paradox did just offer their entire catalogue over at Steam for a ridiculously discounted price, so Wester may just be celebrating his own windfall.