Saturday, 27 February 2010

Have EA finally done something that all gamers won't be upset about?

I think that something really big and world changing has just happened. Maybe hell froze over, the planets aligned or George Lucas choked to death on a Jar Jar Binks action figure. Whatever the heck has happened, it was something powerful, as I might, dare I say it, actually start to think positively of EA.

Long have I ranted externally and internally about how they are a company out, would you believe it, to make profit from their customers! I have usually been a gunner on the front lines, spouting anger at their poor choice of DRM and completely pointless and endless releases of The Sims expansions that give people a few new tables and hats.

Lately however, I think they have started to get things bang on, and are letting other people cock up. Yes, we’re all looking at you Ubisoft.

For example, their approach to anti-piracy measures in Mass Effect 2 using the Cerberus Network is brilliant. In a nut shell, the Cerberus Network is an online component for Mass Effect 2 that lets you download new content for the game, such as new characters, weapons and missions.

To access it you need a code that comes with the retail copy of the game. If you pirate it, you will of course not get the code to join the network, and lose out on a lot of the content (which admittedly, there is not a huge amount of at the moment).

Now, this might have upset those who acquire a second hand copy of the game, but fear not, as you can buy a unique code to join the Cerberus Network for around a tenner, meaning you will not miss out. The true genius in this however is that pirates will be able to buy the code to access the new content for their copy, therefore becoming less unlawful, and instead, some kind of pirate/customer hybrid. A pustomer if you will.

Offering incentives, such as the Cerberus Network to try and combat piracy, I believe is the best way to go about it. That way you are not challenging the pirates to break your ridiculously intrusive software safe guards that usually upset genuine paying customers.

I can appreciate that for one man to start truly appreciating EA, it would take something more than this. Well, how about some free content including five missions and a vehicle (please let it handle better than the angry shopping trolley with a wonkiness fetish we know as the Mako).

As the friendly people at Eurogamer reported yesterday, the new pack is called Firewalker and will be available over the Cerberus Network free of charge in late March. How lovely is that?

Please keep it up EA, as I’m sure a lot of people will agree, you have a lot of upset gamers to make up with. Remember what happened with Spore? You hurt us.

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