Sony says 90 percent of games will be bought online in 2018
Ten years from now, the vast majority of gaming software will be purchased via online transactions. This was projected by Sony Computer Entertainment UK boss Ray Maguire as he criticized the Tanya Byron report at the recent ELSPA press conference.
“While games are recorded media and we have something on a packet, the recommendations in the Byron Review are okay,” comments Maguire. “But ten years from now the ratio of games sales will have gone from 90 per cent in-store to 90 per cent online."
The Sony boss said that this means retailers are currently responsible for the material that come out of their outlets, but once online game sales take over, the areas of responsibility are blurred. Selling games according to age groups will be a bigger challenge.
"This isn’t merely a games industry issue," he adds. "It’s an issue for every industry with companies that have a website – and when we look at user generated content, it’s a people issue.”
If Maguire's projections come to pass, it will render a good part of the Byron report's recommendations obsolete due to the difference in the nature of online stores and brick-and-mortar retailers. Ratings issued by governing boards could be bypassed if transactions happen in the privacy of households, making it easy for children to access content inappropriate for them.
For her part, author Dr. Tanya Byron explained that her recommendations did not delve into such a scenario because “many key members of the games industry” opted not to talk about the future of online game sales with her as the report was being compiled.