Electronic Arts talks DRM
Electronic Arts recently abandoned its online pass requirement for multiplayer gaming on current-generation consoles, leading some to speculate that the company asked Microsoft for Xbox One's digital rights management technology. According to an EA executive, however, that isn't the case.
Polygon: A lot of people are talking about DRM and used games for the next-generation. You guys have been watching what has been going on with Sony and Microsoft in the last few days. First of all, what is the EA official line right now?
Peter Moore: "We're focused at this point in time in new games and our official position is, 'I'll get back to you'. Sony have announced what they are going to do which is, y'know, business as usual, and then Microsoft are looking at allowing a publisher to opt-in, should they choose to do so. But if we opt in, do [Microsoft] charge a fee, and if so, how much? We have not internally even begun to sit down and answer those questions."
The narrative I've heard is that EA lobbied hard to have the hardware companies come up with a solution so you guys are not faffing around with online passes and you're not losing potential used game profits to retailers.
Moore: "Absolutely incorrect. As the guy who is the chief operating officer of Electronic Arts I can tell you that EA did not aggressively lobby for the platform holders to put some gating function in there to allow or disallow used games. I am on record as being a proponent of used games. I like the ecosystem. I like the fact that it's kept pricing at a good level for eight years. I like the fact that someone can buy a physical game and see some equity in that game. That keeps GameStop vibrant and they are a great launch and marketing partner for us.
"EA has never had a conversation, and I have been present at all of them, with all of the manufacturers, saying you must put a system in place that allows us to take a piece of the action or even stop it. Absolutely incorrect."
Can I take from that, that EA would be happy for the status quo to continue, as we have seen in the past generation?
Moore: "We will figure out what we need to do. I'm not trying to back-pedal but this thing just happened and we need to reconvene and hear what people think and talk to our retail partners and our first party partners. We had no idea what Sony was going to announce. We'll reconvene next week and figure it all out.
So you have never had a conversation with Jack [Tretton] where he said, 'look Peter, we're not going to do this DRM thing'. That came as much as a surprise to you as to the rest of us?
Moore: "They reserve the right, and rightly so, that they will do what they need to do. I have run two hardware launches in the Dreamcast and the Xbox 360. There's a game that goes on where you are watching what the other guy does and you move, counter-move and figure it.
"But we are completely focused on getting our games right here, watching new Battlefield 4 builds come in and getting that right and getting FIFA right and getting Madden to the next gen level and figuring out what to do with Plants vs Zombies: Garden Warfare and we're focused on E3."
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