EA Using The Sims 3 DLC, Community to Curb Piracy

By Chris Faylor, Jun 22, 2009 6:30pm PDT The pre-release leak of The Sims 3 essentially served as a "demo program" for Electronic Arts to test its focus on "disc-enabled" services like community and downloadable content, CEO John Riccitiello recently postulated to IndustryGamers.

After jokingly referring to the leak as a "secret marketing campaign," Riccitiello noted that "Sims 3 has a massive amount of content, and a lot of it is downloaded once you register with EA." For example, registered users get an extra city as a free download.

"For the pirate consumer, they don't get the second town, they don't get all the extra content, and they don't get the community. [The piracy] was only concentrated on Poland and China, but I think of it as not being that different than a demo," the CEO added.

Use of free downloadable content as a piracy and used sales deterrent is a growing trend amongst the development community, which has been extremely vocal about the lost revenue that both piracy and used game sales can cause.

The key, Riccitiello claimed, is to offer "disc-enabled" services, not just packaged goods. As an example, he mentioned that BioWare's upcoming Dragon Age: Origins "is probably a 100-hour game by itself, but what comes post-release [for the games] is bigger still." BioWare has stated that it could support Dragon Age with DLC for up to two years.

"I think that's the answer [to piracy]," he explained. "It's not the answer because this foils a pirate, but it's the answer because it makes the service so valuable that in comparison the packaged good is not. So you can only deliver these added services to a consumer you recognize and know...I think the truth is we've out-serviced the pirate."

Riccitiello concluded by asking the site to "please encourage [pirates] to pirate [free-to-play titles] FIFA Online, NBA Street Online, Battleforge, Battlefield Heroes...because what's in the middle of the game is an opportunity to buy stuff."

"While we don't want to see people pirate Warhammer Online, if they're going to give us a year's subscription it's not exactly a total loss."

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  • This seems like a pretty good next step to me. I've never understood why companies come to the conclusion that pirated games are the same as lost sales. I'm absolutely sure there are people who pirate that would buy a game if they couldn't find it for free, but I have the feeling that most people who steal those games either don't have the money to buy them or would choose not to pay for them.

    This seems like a good step in the direction of giving those people who would pay if they couldn't pirate a reason to buy a game, and ignoring the problem of other pirates because not much can be done.