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Top game publisher won't say if it will embrace Microsoft's option to ban used games

In an interview with Polygon, Electronic Arts, Inc.'s (EA) chief operating officer Peter Moore the executive opened up somewhat about his company's controversial DRM efforts, while dodging other questions on the issue.

From 2010 to 2013 EA had embraced a controversial form of digital rights management (DRM) dubbed "Online Pass".  Consumers received a code that allowed them to access online content, while used game purchasers were locked out of add-on content.  The feature was killed off this month amid EA's financial struggles; rumor had it that the program was losing money.

Mr. Moore, claims the decision was not financially motivated but rather was made out of EA's deep compassion for customers.  He comments, "Online Pass was more trouble to the consumer than it was worth. It was a mistake. The consumer's feedback was that this thing gets in the way of a good experience so let's get rid of it."

Peter Moore
Peter Moore, EA COO [Image Source: Polygon]

He hints at more DRM may be on the horizon though, via Microsoft Corp.'s (MSFT"always-on" Xbox One.  He remarks, "[O]ur 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?"

But he denies allegations that Microsoft's new anti-consumer policy was the result of EA lobbying.  He states, "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."

Xbox One
EA's COO claims his company didn't ask Microsoft for more DRM.

"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."

The sort of good news for gamers is that should EA "opt-in" to Microsoft's DRM used game lockout, it may still be compelled to avoid extreme DRM on Sony Corp.'s (TYO:6758) PlayStation 4.  Sony does allow used game lockouts, but unlike Microsoft it does not offer game publishers the tools to do it, leaving them to their own devices.  That raises the costs of implementing such a scheme, and as EA's Online Pass scuttling shows, may ultimately mean the fiscal infeasibility of such a program.

Source: Polygon



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Rental on Xbox One???
By othercents on 6/12/2013 9:46:01 AM , Rating: 4
With the way Microsoft is doing DRM it would be easy for them to create a rental gaming market on the Xbox One. Allow daily, weekly, or even monthly rentals and a discount on purchasing if you want to keep the game. Depending on the price of the rental, it could be a good way of doing business. Beyond this, it would be nice to sell your games to friends or even allow friends to borrow your games. There are options, but it really depends on Microsoft allowing it.

Overall, I don't expect Microsoft to do either of those unless they start to listen to their gaming community. At this point only diehard Xbox fans or Kinect fans are going with Xbox. The market favors the PS4.

other




RE: Rental on Xbox One???
By kleinma on 6/12/13, Rating: -1
RE: Rental on Xbox One???
By JasonMick (blog) on 6/12/2013 10:19:09 AM , Rating: 5
quote:
"The PlayStation 4 won't have any DRM restrictions for Sony's first-party games, but third-party publishers will dictate their own DRM policies when releasing games on the platform" Sony America CEO Jack Tretton said on GameTrailers.
I agree it's misleading to say Sony's stance is pro-consumer, but it's equally misleading to try to characterize it as equivalently anti-consumer to Microsoft's.

The reality is that Sony is no angel, but this time around it seems to be less anti-consumer than Microsoft -- the lesser of two evils, so to speak.

Sony's like the guy who hears someone's going to rob you on the street and says "Fine, do whatever, but I'm not going to help you."

Microsoft's like the guy who hear's someone's going to rob you and offers them a Glock, a crowbar, and a lockpicking kit.


RE: Rental on Xbox One???
By Totally on 6/12/2013 10:27:58 AM , Rating: 4
Uh...no. You are choosing to read that wrong. He's just saying publishers/devs can still do what they want when when it comes to DRM e.g. like with they're online pass a little while ago. This is quite different from Microsoft that has a system in place and it is up to the publishers/devs wheteher they want to use it or not.


RE: Rental on Xbox One???
By Motoman on 6/12/2013 11:40:01 AM , Rating: 5
And MS created a console that's a brick unless you connect it to the internet at least every 24 hours - giving publishers a way to deny you the right to play a used game.

The PS4 has no such restriction.

MS has put the plumbing in place to make it easy for 3rd parties to abuse you. Sony isn't doing that.


RE: Rental on Xbox One???
By Xplorer4x4 on 6/12/2013 11:20:48 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
And MS created a console that's a brick unless you connect it to the internet at least every 24 hours - giving publishers a way to deny you the right to play a used game.

lol that’s like saying M$ could not limit you from playing games unless you were on a certain version of the OS. They pushed the updates via the game discs and also put DRM on the disc forcing you to install updates to play the game. In theory $ony could do the same thing with this DRM scheme. Supposedly the hardware is there from the sounds of it, so what is stopping them from activating it via an on disc system update?


RE: Rental on Xbox One???
By Totally on 6/14/2013 3:28:05 PM , Rating: 2
quote:
lol that’s like saying M$ could not limit you from playing games unless you were on a certain version of the OS. They pushed the updates via the game discs and also put DRM on the disc forcing you to install updates to play the game. In theory $ony could do the same thing with this DRM scheme. Supposedly the hardware is there from the sounds of it, so what is stopping them from activating it via an on disc system update? Oh wait...


FTFY


RE: Rental on Xbox One???
By karimtemple on 6/12/2013 11:22:26 AM , Rating: 2
I agree with Mick, but this can be stated even more simply than that.

Microsoft created a DRM disc sharing/selling restriction scheme. Sony did not.

That's it.

"They're doing what Microsoft is doing" isn't logically cogent, or even bordering on any vague level of truth value or relevance.


this is EA
By GulWestfale on 6/12/2013 9:39:59 AM , Rating: 3
they will use any and all options to make this worse for gamers. why? i don't know. why would a company do everything in its power to make games worse and lose customers? i really don't have an answer for that. but EA has been doing just that for many years now, and i no longer believe anything they say.




RE: this is EA
By DiscoWade on 6/12/2013 1:06:42 PM , Rating: 2
I find it interesting that the COO for EA looks like a douchebag in that picture with that smirk across his face. There is a reason why EA won Consumerist's worst company in America award two years in a row, it ain't because they produce a sorry NFL game. Look at the Sims franchise. They release an expansion every few months, and then when they run out of ideas for expansion packs, they release a new version of the game. Sims 4 is coming out next year, and you better believe it will follow the same model as the previous two.


They lost money on that?!?
By Wolfpup on 6/12/2013 9:58:27 AM , Rating: 3
Whaaaaat? So they try to screw over consumers with their back door activation, and then somehow lose money on it too? Brilliant lol.

Hopefully this means they'll quit chopping out 10% of a game to stick back in with downloads. Ugh.




Wishy-washy words
By eldakka on 6/12/2013 10:00:55 PM , Rating: 3
quote:
I can tell you that EA did not aggressively lobby ...


Very precisely phrased.

What about other than 'aggressive' lobbying practices?

quote:
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.


Again rather precise.

What about meetings where EA has asked for, advocated, suggested but fallen short of using 'must'?




Deep Compassion for consumers???
By JPForums on 6/12/2013 10:01:29 AM , Rating: 2
quote:
Mr. Moore, claims the decision was not financially motivated but rather was made out of EA's deep compassion for customers. He comments, "Online Pass was more trouble to the consumer than it was worth. It was a mistake. The consumer's feedback was that this thing gets in the way of a good experience so let's get rid of it."
So the official line they dropped their anti-used games system because their users didn't like it and definitely not due to costs.
quote:
He remarks, "[O]ur 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?"
Then the company immediately forgets their new found revelation on customer dissatisfaction and debates immediately re-embracing an anti-used game system contingent on (get this) the cost.
quote:
The feature was killed off this month amid EA's financial struggles; rumor had it that the program was losing money.
Sounds to me like Mr. Moore just inadvertently gave credence to this rumor while trying to deny it.




So...
By BRB29 on 6/12/2013 11:03:18 AM , Rating: 2
good save EA but I still don't believe you.




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