"Full stop": John Riccitiello predicts digital sales dominance in 2011

Out with the old, in with the new -- these words are often used every January, but for John Riccitiello they also signify the balance tipping between digital and physical sales. As Electronic Arts' CEO put it bluntly to Industry Gamers: "At the end of [2011], the digital business is bigger than the packaged goods business, full stop."

Riccitiello drew this conclusion after looking at the recent market trends of titles like Lord of the Rings Online and EA's own free-to-play games. In fact, he admits that the "dirty little secret" of EA is that some of its F2P titles end up being the games players drop the most money on per month, such as those who pay upwards of $5,000 a month for FIFA Ultimate Team.

With EA on the cusp of launching Star Wars: The Old Republic this spring (fingers crossed), the question of EA's MMO pricing structure is still up in the air. However, Riccitiello thinks that we're in for a year of transition to mostly digital purchases: "I think these business models are going to find their own feet. We're very careful about making sure we price appropriately for platform and also for the intellectual property."