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EA CEO Facetiously Advocates Piracy

23 Jun 2009  by   Paul Younger
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EA’s CEO, John Riccitiello, has – presumably jokingly – suggested that people pirate more EA games.In an interview with IndustryGamers, Riccitiello commented on the news that The Sims 3 was released into the wilds of the internet prior to release, and is reportedly one of the most pirated games in history.”You identified our secret marketing program!” he joked. “That was a very large scale – concentrated on Poland and China – demo program.”Riccitiello went on to explain that the pirated version lacks a lot of content, as The Sims 3 features plenty of free downloads as well as an online store to buy additional components. “Sims 3 has a massive amount of content, and a lot of it is downloaded once you register with EA and join the online community,” he said. “So you get that content in addition to the second city, and that’s a major component,” he added, referring to the second city which can be downloaded for free following product registration.”So for the pirate consumer, they don’t get the second town, they don’t get all the extra content, and they don’t get the community. It was only concentrated on Poland and China, but I think of it as not being that different to a demo.”Moving onto the general topic of piracy, Riccitiello believes that “we’re moving to selling services that are disc-enabled as opposed to packages that have bolt-ons,” adding that “Dragon Age is probably a 100-hour game by itself, but what comes post-release is bigger still.””So the point I’m making is, yes I think that’s the answer [to piracy]. And here’s the trick: it’s not the answer because this foils a pirate, but it’s the answer because it makes the service so valuable that in comparison the packaged good is not. So you can only deliver these added services to a consumer you recognise and know.””By the way,” Riccitiello finished, “if there are any pirates you’re writing for, please encourage them to pirate FIFA Online, NBA Street Online, Battleforge, Battlefield Heroes… if they would pirate lots of it I’d love them. [Laughs] Because what’s in the middle of the game is an opportunity to buy stuff.”The question that occurs to us is whether or not the service adds enough value to be worth the price. While it’s probably an easier choice with The Sims 3, if Dragon Age is a 100-hour game, then hypothetically, will enough people finish it that “bigger” post-release content is essential? Food for thought.Keep an eye out for our review of The Sims 3, soon.

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