EA boss on DRM protesters: Half are pirates and the other half are stupid.

The folks over at Gamasutra.com landed an interview with Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello wherein he claims to hate DRM but says it’s necessary due to piracy. He goes on to address the massive online protest over Spore using SecuROM:

“So far, Spore has outsold Sims 2,” he notes. “Commercially, it’s doing very well.”

“Everyone gets that we need some level of protection, or we’re going to be in business for free,” Riccitiello says. But he sees a lack of understanding among “a minority of people that orchestrated a great PR program. They picked the highest-profile game they could find,” he says. “I respect them for the success of their movement.”

“‘I’m guessing that half of them were pirates, and the other half were people caught up in something that they didn’t understand,” he says. “If I’d had a chance to have a conversation with them, they’d have gotten it.”

Thanks John, for telling us you think we’re either thieves or fucking idiots. But let me give you a clue for free: The pirates were all busy downloading your game off of the torrent sites five fucking days before you even put it on store shelves. Why the hell would they bother protesting your game when it was already cracked and on the Net?

And I would absolutely LOVE to have a conversation with you on the topic. Not that I think I could change your mind with my stunningly persuasive argument, but just so you could hear my stance on why I’m not buying your games straight from me. I’d also love to hear you explain how DRM stops piracy on a title that was being pirated before it was ever released? I’d also love to ask you to man up and admit that this is less to do with piracy and more to do with stopping second-hand sales of your titles because you’re upset at how much money GameStop and other companies are making.

This becomes obvious to anyone who reads the Spore EULA which states that there’s no guarantee that you can transfer the activations over to whomever you sell the game to. It’s also clear by the fact that more and more games are coming with features that will only work for the initial purchaser of the title:

Game publishers and developers have long been frustrated by their inability to get a cut of used game sales at retailers such as GameStop.

Rather than just complain, though, game makers are now starting to provide gamers with incentives to not sell their games at all or, at least, not buy used games.

[...] For example, each copy of Gears of War 2 will ship with a unique, one-time-use code for downloading extra multiplayer levels.

Once the code has been used, subsequent owners of that copy of the game will be unable to download the levels.

And NBA Live 09 will include a similar free, one-time code for accessing daily roster and stat updates.

If you buy a used copy of NBA Live 09 and the previous user has already redeemed the code, you’ll have to pay $20 to get the updates.

Isn’t NBA Live 09 one of your company’s titles, John? Why yes, yes it is. At least have the balls to own up to the fact that what you’re attempting to do is to limit what legitimate customers can do with the games they buy from your company rather than stopping piracy. Because we both know that you’re not going to stop the pirates anytime soon and we both know how pissed off you are at all the money GameStop has been making off of second-hand sales.

I am not the fucking idiot you seem to think I am, John.

4 comments

  1. I hope you keep on their asses, Les.  I’m not really much of a gamer, and I use my crappy old Playstation 2 when I do play.  I do have one or two old EA titles on my shelf, but I don’t think I’ll be buying any more, even when I eventually upgrade to a PS3. 
    There seems to be a new paradigm in game sales these days…they’re not selling you a physical product, but an “experience.”  An “experience” that they want to milk as far as they can, and the technology is making it possible to milk their customer’s teats pretty dry. 
      Imagine how people would react if other types of publishers tried to tell people that they still own the content you’ve paid for, so books will be printed in disappearing ink that only lasts a year, and your new cd will only play on one stereo?  What’s next?  Can I still sell my used clothes at a garage sale?  If I lose a few pounds, do I have to pay an extra $10 before I can take in the waist on my slacks?   
      With today’s games, you can shell out $50 or more for the game, a few tens more for updates or extra features, and STILL not be able to use the “product” you’ve “purchased” as you see fit.
      And then the lies and condescending bullshit is just too much.  We all know John wants to make lots of money, and nobody faults him for that.  But I draw a big, bright line at being told what I can do with a product that I have bought fair and square. 
      Way to go, John Riccitiello!  I will certainly be spending more money on games in the future, but I’m not going to be giving any of it to you.

  2. For example, each copy of Gears of War 2 will ship with a unique, one-time-use code for downloading extra multiplayer levels.

    And whats to stop people from downloading those extra levels from a torrent site as well?

  3. The fact that we’re talking about the Xbox 360 version is what’s stopping them. There’s no easy way I know of to get the maps from your PC to the 360.

  4. Congratulations, John…  That has to be the stupidest comment I’ve heard since Jamie Kellner said that skipping commercials is the same as stealing.

    Way to lose customers douchebag.

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