EA has announced that it is moving into the world of digital distribution, a move that will put fear into retailers across the globe.

The new digital distribution system is thought to run in a similar way to Valve's Steam system that successfully distributed Half-Life 2 PC game last year.

If the scheme proves successful, then it will mean a bigger slice of profits for the largest games publisher in the world and less for retailers selling copies of the game in the shops.

EA has made the new expansion pack to its Battlefield 2 game available for pre-loading.

Pre-loading will allow players to download the software in time for the 22 November game release. On the day gamers who have downloaded the game will be able to activate their download and start playing without having to visit a shop or wait for the game to arrive in the post.

It is also thought that the next expansion to the popular The Sims series will be the next title available direct from Electronic Arts.

While the game will be available for download, gamers who chose to do so won't get anything extra for the effort, something that may cause gamers to avoid the offering.

The game will be the same price online as it is in the shops.