By Jared Newman | Wednesday, December 9, 2009 at 5:18 pm
Electronic Arts chief executive John Riccitiello is no hard-liner when it comes to software piracy, and in an interview with Kotaku’s Stephen Totilo, he’s back on the stump for pirate-as-potential-sale.
“They can steal the disc, but they can’t steal the DLC,” he said, referring to downloadable content that’s often sold after a game’s release.
Riccitiello’s tone is less extreme than it was in June, when he told IndustryGamers that “if there are any pirates you’re writing for, please encourage them to pirate FIFA Online, NBA Street Online, Battleforge, Battlefield Heroes…” but the idea is the same: If you don’t demonize the bootleggers and illegal downloaders, there’s a chance they’ll purchase some extra content, and that’s better than nothing. They may even go legit as a way of showing support for developers.
Minus that last part, it’s essentially the same view Riccitiello — and much of the games industry — takes towards buyers of used games, from GameStop or other second-hand sources. Even if EA didn’t make any money off you for the base purchase, they can still get you on the optional extras.
I like Riccitiello’s dovish stance, but there’s a dark side in just how much DLC has become available, to the point where it seems like legitimate buyers are eating some of the costs of piracy and used games. Where extra content was once an afterthought that came months down the road from release, it’s not uncommon now to see additional content available on the day of purchase. Dragon Age: Origins, published by EA, is a recent example, where some of content was free, but some cost money. At least the publisher rewarded buyers with some free content as well, which pirates or second-hand purchasers would have to pay for.
Still, it’s hard to argue that you’re not getting your money’s worth from a game like Dragon Age, which boasts over 100 hours of play. And Riccitiello says that when customers are offered more DLC, they lap it up. He may be on to something.