John Riccitiello, CEO of publishing giant EA, says its experimental day-and-date digital and retail release of the PlayStation 3 version of Mass Effect 2 has been a success.
Speaking at last week’s Morgan Stanley Technology Conference in San Francisco, Riccitiello said that the digital release of Mass Effect 2, which was available as a 12GB download from PlayStation Network on January 18, accounted for a “double-digit percentage” of sales, despite EA doing “absolutely nothing” to market the release.
“Sony had never done a day-and-date release,” he said. “They were very cautious about their infrastructure so it was mostly a technology test.
“This was really more about proving it can be done than it was proving what the opportunity would be. So an unmarketed game one year after the original was done on the Xbox and the PC, we released the PS3 and managed to do very, very well with it.”
Riccitiello went on to explain that simultaneous digital and physical releases of games are not the norm because of hardware manufacturer retail policies, saying: “They have got to manage both selling boxes at retail, and it's generally a pretty thin margin business. And so they basically negotiate and leverage shelf space on the promise of making retail margin on software.”
Mass Effect 2 was released for PS3 in North America on January 18, almost a year after its January 26, 2010 debut on Xbox 360 and PS3. The release was not without its problems, with users reporting a bug that corrupted game saves and in some cases entire PS3 HDDs, with developer BioWare apologising and fixing the bug with a patch.