The used game market is important to the viability of the video game industry overall, Electronic Arts CFO Blake Jorgensen said today during the UBS Global Technology Conference in Sausalito, California.
"I also think that used games are an important part of the industry. People think about the prices of games based on the fact that they can still return that game and they need a physical disc to do that," Jorgensen said. "And so that will probably keep the physical business around for some period of time."
Jorgensen's comments came as part of a response regarding the possibility of the game industry becoming exclusively digital. The executive said this is not likely to happen anytime soon, pointing to the record industry as an example of the staying power of physical products.
"We spend a lot of time looking at the record business and it's surprising, but despite the fact that probably no one in this room has bought a CD lately, there's still a lot of CDs being sold," Jorgensen said. "And so I think there will be a physical business [for games] probably for a long period of time."
Just because physical games will continue on, it does not mean digital revenue can't rise at the same time, Jorgensen argued.
"So you might still buy a physical disc, but you might extend the gameplay on that by 10 or 12 months based on digital extensions to it where all that comes via downloads coming in smaller pieces," he said.
Both the Xbox One and PlayStation 4 will allow users to download all retail games digitally day-and-date with their physical counterparts. However, an all-digital future for games is not coming anytime soon, despite improvements to bandwidth speeds made over the past years, Jorgensen said.
"The biggest impediment still appears to be bandwidth coming into the house. And while bandwidth speeds have improved dramatically over the last five years, unfortunately, because the processing power of the new boxes is so high, the size of games has increased dramatically. And so all of the benefits that we got from faster bandwidth was probably eaten up by bigger games. "
Battlefield 4 takes about six hours to download on PS4, Jorgensen said. And though users can begin playing while the game is downloading, "the average consumer still tends to want to to grab something and play it immediately," he said.