Physical retail is 'inefficient', says Epic Games boss

Tim Sweeney "looking forward to our digital future"

Current marketing and physical retail distribution methods are "inefficient", says Epic Games founder Tim Sweeney, who is "looking forward to" a more profitable all-digital future.


"The market is inefficient now," Sweeney said in an interview with Edge. "You run ads on television so that people walk into a retail store, buy a piece of plastic and stick it into their digitally connected device. I think we have a lot of latitude - publishers and developers alike - to increase the efficiency of that.

"Once you have a game, it's available pervasively online, and your devices are all Internet-connected, do you really need to run television ads to get people to find it at the top of the App Store?" he added.

Sweeney says future digital solutions will offer publishers greater flexibility with pricing and allow for budgets to be more tightly focused on development.

"I'm looking forward to our digital future. Development budgets are going to be the dominant cost in the industry, and [increasing] the efficiency of building games will directly improve profitability. As we move more sales of games out of retail, that creates a lot more flexibility for developers to make games at different scales and price them differently."

Sweeney said in the same interview that Epic is "more enthusiastic now than ever" over the future of next-generation gaming, citing "a substantial leap over the current generation".

EA CFO Blake Jorgensen said recently that the industry "will probably never be 100 percent digital" due to bandwidth constraints and the limitations of in-home storage. Retailers will continue to play an important role for publishers, contested Jorgensen, as he highlighted the 'benefits' of the much-debated used games business.