Atari's Phil Harrison is a man with his finger on the pulse and, although his former employer Sony is still pushing Blu-Ray heavily, Harrison thinks that the next generation of consumers will abandon physical media entirely.
Speaking to Edge Online
, Harrison claimed that the future of the industry would lie in digital distribution almost solely.
“There’s a generation of kids being born today and probably already alive who I’m pretty confident will never buy a physical media product,
" said Harrison. "They will never buy a DVD, they will never buy a CD, and they will never buy a game in a box.
With this in mind Harrison, who recently left Sony to take a senior position at Atari, has started moving the company to fit in with this idea. The publisher/developer is now increasingly focusing efforts on online games and digital distribution.
Former Electronic Arts executive David Gardner even claims that 90 percent of Atari's games will be published online within five years - though we hope that comes in a more reliable and friendly form than EA Store, frankly.
With digital sales through services like Direct2Drive, Steam, Metaboli and GameTap becoming ever popular Harrison may be right on the money with his prediction. We wouldn't go so far as to say that physical media will be eliminated within a generation or two, but it's presence will be severely reduced for sure.
What do you think about buying games online? Do you prefer a quick download, or a physical copy of the game and box? Let us know your thoughts in the forums