EA CEO Chimes in on DRM, In-game Advertising

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello, speaking at the Dow Jones/Nielsen Media and Money Conference, acknowledged the game community controversies surrounding DRM and in-game advertising.

"I personally don't like DRM. It interrupts the user experience," confessed Riccitiello. "We would like to get around that. But there is this problem called piracy out there," he conceded, according to a report of the event on Yahoo!.

The CEO was referring to the controversial DRM measures in Maxis' Spore, which spawned a circus of Internet Rage for limiting users' installations of the PC edition as a means of fighting piracy.

"We're still working out the kinks," Riccitiello admitted. "We implemented a form of DRM and it's something that 99.8 percent of users wouldn't notice. But for the other .2 percent, it became an issue and a number of them launched a cabal online to protest against it.

In the slightly-less-flammable realm of in-game advertising, the publishing head honcho acknowledged his company's in-game ad campaign by presidential candidate Barack Obama as well as a potential future rivalry--or partnership--with Google. "I always pay attention to what Google is doing. Right now, the In-Game AdSense initiative isn't something that large. But when they want to take a meeting, we'll be willing to listen."

Riccitiello, speaking to the financial community, made clear that he had to balance profits with the needs of his users: "Some companies don't recognize that consumers paid $60 for a game. That said, we believe in in-game ads."

At the end of the day, however, Riccitiello is a businessman first. His in-game ad policy, summed up in nine words or less: "We would partner with anyone who writes a check."