EA still undecided about next-gen DRM
At E3 today, Electronic Arts discussed the future of their games with EA’s Chief Operating Officer, Peter Moore. Moore was asked by Polygon about what their position on DRM is like for the future, which Moore happily obliged.
Moore stated that EA are currently focused on “new games” and their official position was, “‘I’ll get back to you”. Moore discussed the positives of Sony’s announcement and to them it’s “business as usual,” however with Microsoft, EA are essentially “looking at allowing a publisher to opt-in” to their DRM status. Moore noted that if they do go down that route, Microsoft charges them “a fee”, which at the moment remains undisclosed to publishers and the press. Moore admits, due to the busy state of the conference, “we have not internally even begun to sit down and answer those questions.”
When asked about the possibility of the new DRM decision being a response to developers lobbying against the used game market, Moore denies that EA had a part in pushing for such a decision. “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.”
Moore states that EA has never had a conversation with any console manufacturer, about the possibility of putting in “a system in place that allows us to take a piece of the action or even stop it.” When asked about how EA feels about the current generation and their business model, Moore said that the company “will figure out what we need to do.”
He admits that him and EA ” are not trying to back-pedal” but “need to reconvene and hear what people think.” While he was hoping to talk about the games, there was that pesky history of EA’s DRM in the way.
I don’t doubt Moore was asked several times about the DRM that EA has had in place in the past but it was good to see him being transparent about it. When asked about the death of Online Pass, Moore notes that it was not consumer friendly and this was apart of the reason it was cancelled. “It just wasn’t resonating with the consumer…It was hard work and it was as much work for the guy who would never trade his game in, even though we gave him some digital content, because you’re punching numbers in. We just made a decision. I was the chair at the meeting. We said enough of Online Pass.”
Moore states in a Dr. Evil moniker that EA are not going to go “back down the road” and that the Online Pass DRM was “more trouble to the consumer than it was worth. It was a mistake.”
The humility from EA is incredibly refreshing and I’m sure after being voted worse than the Bank of America twice in a row will stop and make you think.