Ah, Electronic Arts; once upon a time they were one of the most reviled game publishers in the gaming world, with a reputation for needless money-grabbing sequels that never pushed the series on, swallowing up smaller developers and stopping superior games (like Pro Evolution Soccer up until about three years ago) from achieving their full potential through pure financial muscle.
That had seemed to change recently though, with the company offering a more sympathetic face, and actually listening to fans to improve their franchises. As such, FIFA is now the top dog in the football world, with a massive, happy online community. However, they’ve shown their bad faces again recently, by announcing their Online Pass, which will charge buyers of second hand games $10 to access online multiplayer.
Understandably gamers are up in arms, but EA CFO Eric Brown has said that they haven’t seen any real anger from consumers, and that sales of Madden 11 are up by six per cent. How he can possibly tell what reaction there will be until the game becomes a second hand fixture is beyond us, but hey, he’s been paid to put a positive spin on everything, hasn’t he?
‘There’s been no significant pushback from the user,’ Brown said at the Deutsche Bank 2010 Technology Conference. ‘People know bandwidth isn't free, so the fact that we’re diffusing online costs isn’t seen as unreasonable. At least we know we’re being paid for the access to those servers.
‘To the extent people purchase (the Online Pass), it is found revenue in the secondary market that we and other publishers have not traditionally participated in.’