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Paradox CEO: 'We Don’t Really Need Retailers Any More'

For Paradox Interactive, the transition from retail game sales to a purely digital marketplace is almost complete, with nearly 90 percent of revenues coming from direct downloads for the PC-focused publisher.
Much has been made of the slow, painful transition from the retail-focused games market to one purely based on digital downloads, and for PC-focused publisher Paradox Interactive, that transition is apparently almost complete. Speaking with PC Gamer, Paradox CEO Fredrik Wester said almost 90 percent of the company's revenue now comes from digital sales, primarily through partners Steam and Gamersgate. "Retail sales are like a bonus for us now," Wester said. "We don’t really need retailers any more and that is a release because retailers have not been good for the industry. They've not been good for the creative part of the industry, for finding new cool games." Wester went on to say he was relieved not to be beholden to physical retailers' demands for endless sequels, which the stores believe are the only things that can sell. He added that it was "really relieving" to be able to share his thoughts freely, now that the company doesn't have to worry about depending on retail sales. In an April interview, Wester told Gamasutra that Paradox saw 50 percent year-over-year growth in 2010, and was on track to grow 65 to 70 percent more in 2011 on the strength of titles like action-adventure Magicka, which has now sold over 600,000 units. Paradox isn't the only publisher to express dissatisfaction with the retail market. Darryl Still, publishing director for Russian PC publisher 1C, recently accused UK and US retailers of severely underestimating demand for its titles, which he said are finding new audiences through digital distribution.

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