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.”