Could it be that EA is actually figuring this stuff out? It's been one of the most maligned video game companies when it came to mistreating fans with things like draconian DRM -- but perhaps that's changing. Earlier this month we quoted EA's CEO, John Riccitiello, putting a positive spin
on the fact that people had downloaded and shared unauthorized copies of The Sims 3, finally recognizing that it was like a demo version of the game. Reader Jim alerts us to the news that Riccitiello was apparently so happy with the response to The Sims 3 sharing, he's now going even further, telling people to "please pirate our games"
"By the way, 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 just pirate lots of it I'd love them."
It's not clear Riccitiello is totally comfortable saying these things. As with the quotes earlier this month, you sorta get the feeling that there's a lot of nervous laughter around the quotes -- but at least he's trying. And part of it is because EA is, in fact, putting in place smarter business models, such that unauthorized downloads can actually lead to more sales:
"Because what's in the middle of the game is an opportunity to buy stuff. I increasingly believe that's the way the market's going because that's how the consumer wants to consume. And by the way, [regarding] my competitor, do you think Blizzard gets upset when someone pirates a disc of one of their online games? While we don't want to see people pirate Warhammer Online, if they're going to give us a year's subscription it's not exactly a total loss."
Indeed. He's getting there. If the real opportunities to make money are from buying stuff within the game, then you want the game itself to be as widely spread as possible...