It may seem like we're moving toward a world where it's more common to have your library of videogames stored on a hard drive instead of a shelf, but Ubisoft's VP of digital publishing doesn't quite completely envision that scenario. He thinks that retail stores are here to stay.
Chris Early told GamesIndustry International that he "think(s) retail's a strong part of our industry and it will continue to be so, and maybe that's funny coming from a digital guy." Early elaborated that "the physical store is a well-designed mechanism for discovery. You have expert help right there, a wide variety of products you can go through relatively quickly. That's hard to do still on a console or a PC. There's lots of content, but how do you easily discover what's the best thing to do? We haven't solved that."
For all the kind words he had for brick-and-mortar stores, he didn't discount digital sales either. Early explained that digital lends itself extremely well to episodic publishing. He cited this year's Far Cry 3: Blood Dragon as a great success for Ubisoft in that the company was able to take an existing engine and tweak the experience to result in tremendous sales. Early continued by explaining that Ubisoft intends to experiment more with episodic gaming in ways similar to Blood Dragon.
Retail isn't going away - Ubisoft digital head [GamesIndustry International]