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EA CEO John Riccitiello has a new message for people who want to pirate EA games: go ahead and do it. "By the way, if there are any pirates you're writing for, please encourage them to pirate FIFA Online, NBA Street Online, Battleforge, Battlefield Heroes..." he told IndustryGamers. "If they would just pirate lots of it I'd love them. [laughs] Because what's in the middle of the game is an opportunity to buy stuff." Welcome to the new EA, where you're not being sold a game, you're being sold a store.
EA thinks this is the secret to stopping—or at least curbing—piracy: games should be services, not products. Or at least products that should be selling other products. We already knew that EA would like to turn Tiger Woods into a subscription-based product, and Sims 3 is a game that wants you to constantly be creating, downloading, and buying new virtual items. The old business model was selling expansion packs, but that was too complicated: why not cut out the retailers and turn the game into its own store to sell the products?

"I'm a longtime believer that we're moving to selling services that are disc-enabled as opposed to packages that have bolt-ons.... So the point I'm making is, yes I think that's the answer [to piracy]." Riccitiello told IndustryGamers. "And here's the trick: 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... So I think the truth is we've out-serviced the pirate."

The community and the service is more important than the client software.... hmm. this reminds me of the compuserve model.

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