They have to "wait and see" what the platform holders do with their next-gen hardware, said Ubisoft's Chris Early. Publishers can "already form a strategy" around it though.
Vita titles can be bought at retailers but also through PSN come launch day. Sony's last attempt at an all-digital platform, the PSPgo, failed terribly at market - but Vita combines both.
"We’re going to have to wait and see where the platform holders go with the next generation,” said Ubisoft's VP of digital, Chris Early. “But publishers can already form a strategy around how they approach a market where digital versions are available on the same day and date as retail ones."
“We’re starting to figure out our strategy now. We’re getting some good precursors with Vita and PlayStation 3, which means that however it changes in the future, we’ll be in a position to take advantage of that.”
Early doubts that digital will be replacing the physical side in the current market - the world just isn't ready yet and it would cut out too many sales. “I think we have to be able to service our players wherever they happen to be,” he said.
“Even in the US, there are pockets where connectivity is poor, so expecting someone there to download a 1GB or 2GB game would take them hours and hours. Can we push that? I don’t think the infrastructure’s there yet."
“There’s a bunch of other factors to be considered: are you going to enable the same types of pre-order packages? What if someone wants a collector’s edition that comes with extra goodies as well as the game?”