Tuesday, June 17, 2008

EA makes a big strategic blunder...

I've been a little delinquent in writing of late, but will soon be updating this blog regularly again. A number of things have been sucking away at my time and it seems like there's never enough time to get to a few things that I've been wanting to do for a while. However, today I'm writing a brief PSA and a shining example of terrible strategy. It seems like the powers that be at EA have chosen to implement a new DRM scheme on their PC games that allows only three "activations" per license. Let me explain what constitutes a new activation in their books:
  1. Changing your hardware. Game running slow? Need a new graphics card? Oops! There goes an activation. Hard disk died? Oops! There goes an activation... etc.
  2. Installing the game on a new computer - even if you uninstalled the game from the old computer.
  3. Reinstalling your OS. None of us have *ever* had to reinstall Windows have we?
It's the most boneheaded piece of strategy I've heard of. Want to get more sales? Treat your customers like thieves and make them pay for the same thing over and over again. It also sounds illegal to me (although I am not a lawyer) - it appears to be, at the very least, a violation of the First Sale Doctrine - you won't ever be able to sell your game once you're done with it.

So, lest they forget that strategy is about customers (and competition that tries to steal them from you) ... vote with your pocketbook. You have a choice - avoid EA's PC games ... and any other publisher that foists this kind of ridiculously crippled product on you. 

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