Is EA Realizing That Pirates Are Just Underserved Customers?
from the that-would-be-nice dept
However, the biggest change may be (possibly?) in the attitude of execs at the company -- who at least appear to be trying to become more accepting of the fact that some people will always download and/or share unauthorized versions of games. In an interview with Kotaku (thanks William for sending this in), the CEO of EA tries to put a positive spin on things:
And speaking of pirates, no matter what EA charges for a game, there will be people who want to make EA's games free-to-play on their own terms. That's the nice way of saying what happened to The Sims 3 recently. "We got pirated three weeks before the game launched," Riccitiello said. "And we were really quite nervous about it. We had a lot of telemetry about what the pirates were doing because the launcher was in the version of the disc [that got out.]... There's a lot of Chinese and Polish among those consumers. We know what they're doing. And we finally concluded that we were very happy that almost a million people downloaded the Fight Night demo in the first couple of days we put it out. And in a weird sort of way, the behavior we're starting to see based on sell-through and registration [with the Sims 3] is that we really might have just put out a really good demo."It's clear he's not entirely comfortable with this position, but perhaps that will come over time. It seems like he's beginning to recognize what folks at Valve had said for a while: "pirates" are just underserved customers. Focusing on giving those underserved customers more reasons to buy seems like a much better strategy than punishing all of the legitimate customers.
Riccitiello laughed at his own remark, because he doesn't quite mean it seriously. I pointed out that he might not want to hold his breath waiting for all those Sims 3 pirates to convert to paying customers. "I don't think they will, based on their geography," he said. The point he was making, he said, is that EA's concern over being pirated gave way to a new, more constructive thought: "We were like, 'I think they've demoed the game.' That's probably good. We probably should have posted it on our website."