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EA: Consumers afraid to cut out retail following PSN hack

Digital is growing, but retail remains a key part of the publisher's business

EA's chief operating officer Peter Moore has said the majority of the company's consumers haven't taken to purchasing digital content and as a result retail remains very important.

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Speaking at the Bank of America Merrill Lynch 2012 Global Technology Conference (via Gamasutra), Moore highlighted the opportunity retail provides for creating buzz and making a big splash.

"Once we get that disk installed in the tray of an Xbox or a PS3, we then look at our consumer on an ARPU [average revenue per user] basis," he said. "We love what retail does for us. We love its ability to create massive launches and create excitement. GameStop probably sees three million hardcore gamers walk through their doors every day, and that's a marketing opportunity for us."

According to Moore consumers are still perturbed by the PlayStation Network hack Sony suffered, which means they're less inclined completely cut out retail.

"A lot of our consumers don't own credit cards. A lot of our consumers are still afraid of what happened to the PlayStation Network when 77 million accounts were accessed by Anonymous in 2011," he explained.

"A lot of our consumers prefer to go into retail buy those Xbox Live or PlayStation Network cards, and retail gets a very strong margin on that. For retail, if they can evolve to be not just a physical media purveyor, but a digital media purveyor, it'll play a very strong role in our business going forward."

He also added that digital content performed well when delivered alongside a physical release, citing Mass Effect 3 DLC as an example.

"The other key thing is selling digital content on the day of launch...When we sold Mass Effect 3 back in March, we saw a 40 percent attach rate that first week to DLC at GameStop in the United States. Not only are you selling a $60 game...you're selling $20 DLC, so the sale becomes $80."

EA said this week that it's investing $80 million in next generation game development after a strong fiscal year ending March 31, 2012.

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