Coming away from the first official day of E3, Sterne Agee & Leach Inc market analysts forecast average revenue per user on triple-A titles to reach $80 to $90 U.S. in the next console cycle.
"Our sense is next-gen games will launch at the same $60 retail price point as the current-gen games," says Sterne Agee & Leach. "However, increasingly, publishers are striving to enhance the ARPU [average revenue per user] closer to $80 or $90 for their triple-A titles through greater focus on DLC and in-game micro-transactions, etc."
Digital distribution including full downloads of triple-A games will contribute to this take, but not without facing significant technological challenges, analysts say. Inconsistent bandwidth availability across the market mean that full downloads of some of the larger titles could take as much as 24 hours, meaning that boxed retail is not likely to go away this console cycle.
"While the switch to digital is inevitable, it seems the conditions are not quite ripe for that yet and discs will likely dominate in the foreseeable future," says Sterne Agee & Leach. "This should benefit GME [GameStop], at least in the early part of the next cycle."