EA Chief Hates DRM

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EA Chief Hates DRM

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Here's a twist: EA boss John Riccitiello hates DRM.

"I don't like the whole concept; it can be a little bit cumbersome," the EA boss said in a new interview with Gamasutra. "But I don't like locks on my door, and I don't like to use keys in my car... I'd like to live in a world where there are no passports. Unfortunately, we don't - and I think the vast majority of people voted with their wallets and went out and bought Spore."

Riccitiello and Electronic Arts have taken a lot of heat over the past year for the DRM built into some of its biggest recent releases, including The Sims 2, Mass Effect and, in particular, Spore. The company made small changes to the Spore copy protection following a rash of complaints from customers who had problems installing or running the game, but not without implying that gamers who demanded less stringent DRM simply failed to understand its need.

Despite the raging EA hatred that resulted from both the hard-nosed copy protection and the company's cavalier dismissal of complaints, Riccitiello maintained that game publishers have to defend themselves against piracy, and further, that people who don't like it are in fact simply failing to understand the need to combat piracy - or are pirates themselves. Claiming that without some form of protection, EA would be "in business for free," Riccitiello said, "I respect [DRM critics] for the success of their movement. I'm guessing that half of them were pirates, and the other half were people caught up in something that they didn't understand. If I'd had a chance to have a conversation with them, they'd have gotten it."

But he added that EA would be implementing new, relaxed account restrictions "any day now," which will allow users to deactivate one registered installation in order to activate another one. "There are different ways to do DRM; the most successful is what WoW does. They just charge you by the month," he said. "We're going to see an evolution of these things. I wish we didn't live in a world where we had to do these types of things. I want it to be seamless and easy - but I also don't want to have a bonfire of money."

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John, here's where your metaphor breaks down: the difference with locks on doors and keys for cars versus DRM is that those are actual deterrents for theft. The difference is that you can't use the same key for everyone's door or car. As opposed to when someone with dishonest intentions cracks your awful DRM, which they can use on any version of the game, ever. It's the equivalent of you putting the same lock on every house in the neighborhood. No wonder it's not secure.

Don't give us that guilt-trip bullshit about how you "hate to do these awful things, but we clearly can't be responsible w/o them." You can't be bothered to put together a DRM which isn't a hassle for the honest user but is a hassle for the dishonest user. I get why most (see Stardock) publishers view DRM as necessary. You're trying to prevent theft. Unfortunately, you're approaching it in the same way the Three Stooges would to prevent it. Only, I'm of the opinion they'd do a better job.

But it doesnt stop the pirates? If DRM stopped the pirates I can see the logic and I wouldnt mind so much, but they cracked it open within hours so they couldnt care less about DRM. The only ones who suffer are people who actually bought tthe game surely

HobbesMkii:
John, here's where your metaphor breaks down: the difference with locks on doors and keys for cars versus DRM is that those are actual deterrents for theft. The difference is that you can't use the same key for everyone's door or car. As opposed to when someone with dishonest intentions cracks your awful DRM, which they can use on any version of the game, ever. It's the equivalent of you putting the same lock on every house in the neighborhood. No wonder it's not secure.

Don't give us that guilt-trip bullshit about how you "hate to do these awful things, but we clearly can't be responsible w/o them." You can't be bothered to put together a DRM which isn't a hassle for the honest user but is a hassle for the dishonest user. I get why most (see Stardock) publishers view DRM as necessary. You're trying to prevent theft. Unfortunately, you're approaching it in the same way the Three Stooges would to prevent it. Only, I'm of the opinion they'd do a better job.

I wonder if he really stops at the escapist to read those comments.

But you do have a point.

Half of the people objecting to it were pirates and the other half just doesn't understand? Right, get real. I bought it, I understand DRM just fine and I do think that a mild DRM does hold a lot of effect in countering piracy.
Draconian type DRM however actually hurts the paying customer, something that is just fundamentally wrong. What I don't get is how he just doesn't understand that.

Random argument man:

I wonder if he really stops at the escapist to read those comments.

Oh, I know he doesn't. But he doesn't have seem to have an e-mail listing at EA for the public to present ideas that oppose his, either. So posting it here is just as good. Better, probably, because there's some reaction.

Hey he's right, I mean, my locks always explode after the 3rd time of use - then I buy a new lock.

This will have a Mass Effect on future releases.

Melaisis:
This will have a Mass Effect on future releases.

Ow... that hurts my soul.

Anyways, I can understand the necessity for DRM, but not to the point that EA has taken it.

Melaisis:
This will have a Mass Effect on future releases.

Zinnnnnnnnggggggg!

I can picture you grinning to yourself as you wrote that :)

So half of the people who complained were pirates? That doesn't make any sense at all.
Pirates had no reason to complain about the Mass Effect/Spore DRM, it made no difference at all to them.

Melaisis:
This will have a Mass Effect on future releases.

Mel, please...stop with the puns!

that gamers who demanded less stringent DRM simply failed to understand its need.

We understand game companies want to combat piracy. That makes sense, piracy means they lose sales which means they lose money which, as a business, they want to make.

What we don't understand is why you couldn't come up with a better solution than the "Rent-a-game" DRM solution which frankly doesn't even work considering the amount of pirated Spore copies and cracks there are floating around the net. I mean really, CD-keys were better than this and they're years old.

Malygris:
EA Chief Hates DRM

image

Here's a twist: EA boss John Riccitiello hates DRM.

"I don't like the whole concept; it can be a little bit cumbersome," the EA boss said in a new interview with Gamasutra. "But I don't like locks on my door, and I don't like to use keys in my car... I'd like to live in a world where there are no passports. Unfortunately, we don't - and I think the vast majority of people voted with their wallets and went out and bought Spore."

Riccitiello and Electronic Arts have taken a lot of heat over the past year for the DRM built into some of its biggest recent releases, including The Sims 2, Mass Effect and, in particular, Spore. The company made small changes to the Spore copy protection following a rash of complaints from customers who had problems installing or running the game, but not without implying that gamers who demanded less stringent DRM simply failed to understand its need.

Despite the raging EA hatred that resulted from both the hard-nosed copy protection and the company's cavalier dismissal of complaints, Riccitiello maintained that game publishers have to defend themselves against piracy, and further, that people who don't like it are in fact simply failing to understand the need to combat piracy - or are pirates themselves. Claiming that without some form of protection, EA would be "in business for free," Riccitiello said, "I respect [DRM critics] for the success of their movement. I'm guessing that half of them were pirates, and the other half were people caught up in something that they didn't understand. If I'd had a chance to have a conversation with them, they'd have gotten it."

But he added that EA would be implementing new, relaxed account restrictions "any day now," which will allow users to deactivate one registered installation in order to activate another one. "There are different ways to do DRM; the most successful is what WoW does. They just charge you by the month," he said. "We're going to see an evolution of these things. I wish we didn't live in a world where we had to do these types of things. I want it to be seamless and easy - but I also don't want to have a bonfire of money."
Permalink

This a-hole is really in the news alot lately isn't he? EA must be smelling blood in the air if they're actually deigning to talk to their customers. Unfortunatly he's full of corporate bullshit and nothing in there resembled an apology or an explaination. He says he "hates the DRM" but it's "Necessary". What a twat, thats the same arguement the Bush Administration has used to circumvent the justice system repeatedly and illegally spy on it's citizens and now EA is using the same inverted-terrorism they did.

"I respect [DRM critics] for the success of their movement. I'm guessing that half of them were pirates, and the other half were people caught up in something that they didn't understand. If I'd had a chance to have a conversation with them, they'd have gotten it."

What a smug, self satisfied mother this man is. Everyone who disagree's with you is ignorant or a pirate?

There is nothing in this world that infuriates me more then being condescended at. Does anyone have a list of the big titles being released that EA is backing/publishing? They're officially on a No-Buy list for me and I encourage you to do the same: don't pirate them, just don't PLAY them. I know the internet is full of Faux rage and angst, but I am genuinly offended and irritated by both this man and this companies behavior.

Amnestic:

What we don't understand is why you couldn't come up with a better solution than the "Rent-a-game" DRM solution which frankly doesn't even work considering the amount of pirated Spore copies and cracks there are floating around the net. I mean really, CD-keys were better than this and they're years old.

Not only that, but also, THEY HAD CRACKED IT BEFORE THE OFFICIAL RELEASE DATE! Some copys got sent out early in Australia by about a week if I rememeber rightly - and the result was it being cracked about 4 days before the EU release date.

ElArabDeMagnifico:
Hey he's right, I mean, my locks always explode after the 3rd time of use - then I buy a new lock.

And the lock jams up alot of the other doors inside your house even when you have a perfectly valid key, resulting in your bedroom being locked off from you.

Does anyone have a list of the big titles being released that EA is backing/publishing?

All Electronics Arts Games, published and/or developed, ever

Wikipedia has the answer.

Thats Alot of games...

Looks like I can't buy Dead Space now, or anymore Command And Conquor/Battlefield games- OOHH or Left 4 Dead... that hurts. Or Mercenaries 2... any biggies I missed?

TsunamiWombat:
Looks like I can't buy Dead Space now, or anymore Command And Conquor/Battlefield games- OOHH or Left 4 Dead... that hurts. Or Mercenaries 2... any biggies I missed?

Road Rash and Populous. ;D

TsunamiWombat:
OOHH or Left 4 Dead... that hurts.

Get steam, buy it there - Valve developed it and even though Steam is a form of DRM, its nothing like SecuRom, EA Download Manager, or any of the other infinitely poor services/viruses EA publish with. Plus, they don't milk the customer for cash every opportunity they can.

That said, I couldn't tell if you were geninunely interested or just being cynical.

I own an aweful lot of EA games ;\ Is boycotting even worth it? I was hoping to get Mercenaries 2 and Deadspace...

Maybe I got a little too hot under the collar- just, this and the Take Two story, WOW. The mans arrogance and condescension just hit a nerve, and I wanted to chew out his larynx. It really offended me- but I still want to play some of their games, so I dunno what to do. Just not buy them?

TsunamiWombat:
I own an aweful lot of EA games ;\ Is boycotting even worth it? I was hoping to get Mercenaries 2 and Deadspace...

Maybe I got a little too hot under the collar- just, this and the Take Two story, WOW. The mans arrogance and condescension just hit a nerve, and I wanted to chew out his larynx. It really offended me- but I still want to play some of their games, so I dunno what to do. Just not buy them?

Just boycott the DRM games if you're fussed about it. If they see a drop in game sales with DRM, they *might* get the picture.

Not likely though.

Anyway I apologize for the coarse language I used to describe Mr. Riccitiello and EA, he just jammed a button of mine REALLY HARD and it set me off.

It's hard to have your cake and eat it too. Dead Space looks really good but it's gonna have that unskippable "EA" every time I boot it up. It's gonna have DRM which I'll have to crack if I buy it. It's gonna have horrendous support. It's going to be extremely unpolished (for PC) - and it's success would warrant downloadable content that's fucking pointless. Oh yeah, Dead Space has a "Scorpion Suit" or w/e for sale.

EA has just surpassed "Horse Armor" - they have made "Armor Armor".

but it's gonna have that unskippable "EA" every time I boot it up.

Guarantee there'll be a crack to get rid of that within a week or two. There was for C&C3.

Yeah I had to do it for Ubisoft games. They don't let me skip their intros either.

What a brilliant argument... Half the people who hate DRM are pirates, and the other half don't realize what DRM is? FUCK YOU JOHN RICCITIELLO! Fuck you, fuck your wife, fuck your job, and fuck your company.

I hate DRM because as the paying customer, all the measures to protect against piracy come at the paying customer's expense. I don't pirate games, never have, never will. But I will do as he says, vote with my wallet. I'm through buying EA games. DRM in Farcry 2 and Red Alert 3? Well I'm not going to buy those titles. Spore, I returned for a full cash refund. EA is done in my books.

I'm sure as hell not getting any EA game with this new system for the PC. I might pick up one or two games for console.

MY problem with his argument (DRM is like a lock for my car or house)
no, it's not, see you own your car or house, DRM is like selling me your car but keeping the keys and saying I can only use it every second Tuesday even though I bought it for full price and I can't let any of my family or friends drive it (or two of them, then maybe four if I bitch about it and rate you as an one star seller on amazon a million times)

Problem is Game companies are trying to say they still own the product they just sold you. EULA's are scary, and unconstitutional.(also unethical, if the USA is not your home country)

I'm just flat out never going to buy an EA game again. Was he seriously implying that they may start charging monthly fees for their games? Fees for MMO's are fine...but single player games? I always knew that the powers that be at EA weren't very intelligent, but that kind of a business move is beyond idiotic.

My advice...if you don't want to dig your company's grave, don't try to charge people monthly fees for your games.

Now, I'm really offended. So, I'm a pirate or an idiot, is what this jackass is saying. He can take his stinking company and go to hell for all I care. I thought I was done with EA before, this just puts the lock on the door. What an ass.

Hey, wasn't this 'SecuRom' business more to do with companies trying to crack down on the pre-owned industry, and not actually pirates? It's more effective in that sense, as pirates have already cracked the DRM, while the DRM means people can't kend these games to their friends.

DRM like SecuRom is absolutely faulty. Pirates get around it, legal consumers suffer from it, and it comes to a great mess all in all. A great multiplayer component requiring serial registration and login has always been the best way to combat piracy in my opinion. I believe people are more likely to pirate a game like Spore, which has no real online interaction, than a game like Call of Duty 4, which has great online play. But what do I know? I'm just the consumer.

stompy:
Hey, wasn't this 'SecuRom' business more to do with companies trying to crack down on the pre-owned industry, and not actually pirates? It's more effective in that sense, as pirates have already cracked the DRM, while the DRM means people can't kend these games to their friends.

Yup - EA aren't trying to kill piracy with DRM, just cripple any chance of reselling a game later because they don't get any cash from that.

Its really sad that EA have so many titles under development and a fair few of the good upcoming ones - Mirrors Edge, FarCry 2 (ok, I didn't really like FarCry, but alot of people like it), the C&C series (although I think RA 3 will be bad with insulting virtually softcore porn cutscenes), and who knows how many millions of Spore expansion packs they'll release.

Combat piracy, fine, fair enough - I've no problem with that. But don't shoot your customers in the thighs whilst doing so, and use something that actually works on pirates, not on resellers.

Doug:
[Yup - EA aren't trying to kill piracy with DRM, just cripple any chance of reselling a game later because they don't get any cash from that.

Its really sad that EA have so many titles under development and a fair few of the good upcoming ones - Mirrors Edge, FarCry 2 (ok, I didn't really like FarCry, but alot of people like it), the C&C series (although I think RA 3 will be bad with insulting virtually softcore porn cutscenes), and who knows how many millions of Spore expansion packs they'll release.

Combat piracy, fine, fair enough - I've no problem with that. But don't shoot your customers in the thighs whilst doing so, and use something that actually works on pirates, not on resellers.

It's a shame that EA, the monolithic empire in the video game publishing industry, can buy out all this talent, and then kill them with things like DRM. People would love to help out developers that make great games, but they don't want to compromise the security of their computers, nor do they want to be lied to.

If you're going to fight the re-seller, don't punish the consumer.

HobbesMkii:
John, here's where your metaphor breaks down: the difference with locks on doors and keys for cars versus DRM is that those are actual deterrents for theft. The difference is that you can't use the same key for everyone's door or car. As opposed to when someone with dishonest intentions cracks your awful DRM, which they can use on any version of the game, ever. It's the equivalent of you putting the same lock on every house in the neighborhood. No wonder it's not secure.

I don't think it can be stated better than that. Absolute BS that he "hates it".

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