Speaking at this year's Develop conference today, EA sports worldwide development lead Andrew Wilson said that game retailers are facing a serious disruptive challenge from on-demand digital content.
Despite the continued growth of the game market, fewer players are choosing to visit specialist retailers, instead turning to Facebook games and download services such as Steam, Xbox Live and PSN. 45 per cent of game revenues in 2010 were digital, according to Wilson.
He also drew attention to a shift away from paying for games in quantity, saying that shorter games and free titles are pulling players away from traditional retail purchases.
"There is still a business of $60 games sold at Game and GameStop – that's still legitimate for now," he said. "I won't predict when that will die. I won't prophesise when games on discs will go away, because the reality is that as long as gamers continue to line up and buy them we will make them.
"But the amount of people on Facebook, on PSN and Xbox Live is growing. There is a shift here. If we don't get ahead of it, we will find ourselves in trouble."
The aftermath of such troubles, he added, can already be seen in other sectors: "We have seen the Blockbusters and the HMVs change before our eyes. The corporate graveyard is littered with companies, mediums and entities that resisted where the consumer wanted to go."