Technologizer posts about Electronic Arts

It’s Come to This: Used Game Buyers Denied Questline in Kingdoms of Amalur

By  |  Posted at 1:38 pm on Monday, January 30, 2012

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Back when Electronic Arts started charging used game buyers $10 extra to play its sports games online, I figured that was just the beginning. Sure enough, over time the “Online Pass” concept has spread to multiplayer gaming in general, and to several other publishers.

Now, EA is taking the idea one step further with the Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning, an upcoming RPG that’s getting a lot of hype. People who buy the game new will get a voucher to download seven additional single-player quests for free. Folks who buy a used copy will have to pay extra for those quests.

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EA Sells iPhone Tetris Subscriptions, is Probably Genius

By  |  Posted at 9:23 am on Friday, December 2, 2011

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No one in their right mind would pay $30 a year for Tetris, right? Right?

Electronic Arts thinks people will. The publisher is relaunching Tetris for iPhone, iPad and iPod Touch, with an optional subscription for extra features, Gamasutra reports.

Here’s how it works: For $1, the basic Tetris app includes three game modes and a ranking system that allows people to level up as they play. For $3 per month, or $30 per year, players can join the “T-Club,” which provides performance-enhancing perks, faster rank progression and exclusive content. Yes, EA wants people to subscribe to Tetris.

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Hey, What Happened to Video Game Company Rivalries?

By  |  Posted at 1:46 pm on Monday, August 22, 2011

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Over the last few months, Electronic Arts and Activision have been fighting a war of words over their respective shooters, Battlefield 3 and Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3, which are set for a showdown this holiday season.

A small sampling: EA CEO John Riccitiello said he wants Call of Duty to “rot from the core.” Activision’s publishing boss Eric Hirschberg responded by saying EA’s negativity was “bad for the industry.” Most recently, EA spokesman Jeff Brown fired back: “Welcome to the big leagues Eric — I know you’re new in the job but someone should have told you this is a competitive industry.”

The bad blood has been good publicity for both games, I think (although EA’s Battlefield 3 probably needs it more, hence the harsher attacks). But it makes me wonder, where have the good old game console rivalries gone?

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EA Props Up GameStop With $25 “Season Ticket”

By  |  Posted at 7:19 pm on Tuesday, August 2, 2011

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File away Electronic Arts’ “Season Ticket” as evidence that video game publishers are in no rush to bury brick-and-mortar retail game stores.

The $25 per year program gives EA Sports fans three days of early access to the label’s biggest games — Madden, NHL, FIFA, Tiger Woods and NCAA Football — via download, plus exclusive web content and 20 percent discounts on downloadable content. (Kotaku’s Owen Good has a nice explainer with all the nitty gritty.)

But here’s the catch: Once those three days of early access are over, the game’s downloadable copy self-destructs. Players’ progress through the game will remain intact, but to keep playing, Season Ticket holders will have to buy the game on a disc at full price. Incidentally, GameStop is the program’s official retail partner.

That’s not to say EA and GameStop aren’t separately planning their own disc-free futures. GameStop owns the Flash game portal Kongregate, the streaming game technology company Spawn Labs and the game download service Impulse, and has talked about getting into the tablet business. EA has pushed into smartphone and tablet gaming and recently bought PopCap, the maker of Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies. Surely, both companies know that Season Ticket, as it stands, isn’t built for the long haul.

But for now, if they can milk a few extra bucks from sports game fanatics who crave early access to Madden 12, more power to them. I’d rather see publishers encourage new game sales with perks like this than discourage used game sales by withholding features — although EA still seems interested in doing the latter.



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EA Buys PopCap, is Dead Serious About Mobile and Social Gaming

By  |  Posted at 3:33 pm on Wednesday, July 13, 2011

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While most major video game publishers continue to treat mobile and social gaming with caution, Electronic Arts is doubling down.

EA will buy Popcap Games, creator of the popular Bejeweled and Plants vs. Zombies, for $650 million plus $100 million in common stock. That’s the second-largest sum that EA has ever spent on an acquisition. The largest was a $775 purchase of a holding company that owned Bioware and the now-defunct Pandemic Studios.

It’s hard to say exactly what EA plans to do with Popcap, but we’ll likely see its hit games expand to new platforms (many PopCap games aren’t available on Android) at a faster pace. EA CEO John Riccitiello also told All Things Digital that his company wants to take on Zynga, developer of Farmville, in social gaming.

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Maybe We Need New Game Consoles After All

By  |  Posted at 5:55 am on Monday, June 20, 2011

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Microsoft and Sony — but not Nintendo — would have you believe that we’re in for a long game console cycle, with no rush to replace current-generation hardware.

But after seeing the PC version of Electronic Arts’ Battlefield 3 at E3, and hearing how the console version will compare, I beg to differ.

Johan Andersson, a rendering architect for EA developer DICE, confirmed over Twitter that the console version of Battlefield 3 will be choked back to 30 frames per second and 720p resolution. On PC, Battlefield 3 runs at a silky smooth 60 frames per second, and it looked wonderful during a brief hands-on demo at E3 earlier this month. DICE is making compromises to the console version to allow for bigger levels, lots of vehicles and certain visual effects.

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In case you ever need an example of digital rights management that punishes paying customers, here you go.

Posted by Jared at 4:06 pm

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