The rise in popularity, and accessibility, of digital games has has quite the effect on how the gaming industry is evolving. Some if it is in incredibly positive, including cost efficient. Other effects, however, have a more negative association with it such as player-based storage issues and where industry jobs rank at availability-wise.
One of those downsides is evident with Activision announcing that they are closing down their Fresno, California distribution center - the only one based in the United States. The reason cited is that there isn't a big enough justification to keep up the cost with the general shift of how games are being produced.
The closure was announced effective as of January 5th and though an Activision spokesman told MarketWatch is was "unrelated" to the rising trend of digital downloads, a prominent analyst says otherwise:
“It’s clear to us (and many others) that console games will be 100% digital in the future, but the timing of this is hard to pinpoint,” according to analyst Michael Olson “It’s important to keep in mind that in the midst of the continuing trajectory toward 100% digital full game purchases, the growth of digital add-on content continues; the positive of digital add-on content is it both drives a higher digital mix and creates incremental revenue.”
As far as the Fresno distribution center, its main focus centered around titles such as World of Warcraft and other Blizzard titles, as well as the Call of Duty franchise. Both both umbrellas having an incredibly high digital download ration, it's not hard to see the wisdom in Olson's words.
Though the distribution center's closure does mean a loss of jobs for many, as far as consumers go - it isn't expected to have any impact on sales, especially not locally. As far as the families affected, it is reported that there were over 50 layoffs as a result. Our thoughts are with the employees and the family at this time as the market continues to shift in a direction that is less reliant on physical presence.