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EA's Riccitiello: Digital Biz 'Offsetting' Game Retail Challenges

EA CEO John Riccitiello sees hope in digital markets' potential to offset a challenging year for packaged game retail, pointing to Beatles: Rock Band's iPhone success and calling mobile "the future."
The crystal ball is still fuzzy when it comes to how the games industry will finish out a challenging year. Traditional game sales and the $60 software price point have struggled, but Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello says digital sales have the potential to make up for sluggish retail. With the key holiday season still ahead, it's also too early to call a game like The Beatles: Rock Band a disappointment, Riccitiello asserted in a television interview with Fox Business' Liz Claman. "The bulk of video games, like Beatles: Rock Band, are going to pick up in a big way before the next holiday," he says. "I want to point out the number one grossing application on iPhone now is Beatles: Rock Band." Looking at the iPhone market, it's one of many digital arenas to which EA looks to recoup some of the damage from a cash-strapped consumer at retail. "The traditional packaged goods business has been a little challenged so far this year," he says. "The other end of the world, online games that you download, games you get by the way of iPhone for example, that totally digital business is up so strong that it’s off-setting the challenge we see at retail." In fact, Riccitiello has ultimate faith in the mobile model: "There are probably more people enjoying games on mobile devices than all the consoles put together," he says. "That is the future."

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