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Earlier this afternoon, a report surfaced online suggesting that EA GmbH was planning to cease physical distribution of its games across Germany, Austria, Switzerland, and Scandinavia due to the market's increasing shift to digital downloads and the subsequent impact on sales development. However, a short time later, a spokesperson from EA stated that this information was incorrect and that physical copies will still be available to purchase in all areas.

The original story, shared by video game industry analyst @MauroNL3 on Twitter, suggested that the company was to undergo an 'economic restructure' in which it would move away from the production of physical copies of its games such as FIFA and Battlefield and focus solely on the development of digital resources.

In a series of tweets, Mauro cites a story in GamesWirtschaft, a German industry magazine, which suggested that the company had announced the restructuring in its latest annual report. According to the source, EA's Cologne branch had seen its main task reworded from "Import, export, distribution, sale and manufacture of products of any kind related to videos, video games, computer software," to "Provision of services related to videos, video games, computer software and interactive entertainment."

Although the change in wording is slight, the substitution of 'products' with 'services' was enough to cause the speculation that EA would be moving away from physical publishing.

While this story was initially troubling — signalling a move away from physical media from one of the game industry's biggest publishers — an EA spokesperson has denied the story, stating that the company will continue to produce boxed copies of its games across the stated regions.

In a statement made to VGC's Andy Robinson (@AndyPlaytonic), the spokesperson claimed that the original report was an "inaccurate reflection of disclosures made in EA Germany’s statutory financial statements," confirming that EA has not ceased this branch of production in any way.

So, it seems EA is to remain developing games for both physical and digital distribution, with no plans to end either production arm.

The confusion caused by this misinterpretation will undoubtedly call for further statements to be made in the coming days. If EA was to make the move to digital-only distribution, it would mark a huge shift in the gaming industry as a whole. We will update this article as and when any further developments occur, but EA's saying your physical games are safe for the time being.

What would you make of a move away from physical media if a large publisher were to ditch the physical article? Let us know in the comments below.

[source gameswirtschaft.de, via twitter.com]