EA Exec Dismisses DRM as a ‘Failed, Dead-End Strategy’

EA labels president addresses DRM in SimCity’s wake.


EA labels president Frank Gibeau has told GamesIndustry the publisher consider DRM to be "a failed, dead-end strategy".

Gibeau, likely to be a frontrunner – along with Chief Operating Officer Peter Moore – to succeed resigning EA CEO John Riccitiello, said DRM had no role in shaping the development of SimCity.

"That's not the reality; I was involved in all the meetings. DRM was never even brought up once. You don't build an MMO because you're thinking of DRM – you're building a massively multiplayer experience, that's what you're building," Gibeau said. 

Speaking about SimCity the executive commented "At no point in time did anybody say 'you must make this online'. It was the creative people on the team that thought it was best to create a multiplayer collaborative experience. 

Gibeau went so far as to say he does not believe DRM is a viable option for any publisher.

"DRM is a failed dead-end strategy; it's not a viable strategy for the gaming business. So what we tried to do creatively is build an online service in the SimCity universe and that's what we sought to achieve. For the folks who have conspiracy theories about evil suits at EA forcing DRM down the throats of Maxis, that's not the case at all," Gibeau commented. 

With SimCity Gibeau says it was all about making a completely connected world with an MMO-like architecture.

"It started with the team at Maxis that had a creative vision for a multiplayer, connected, collaborative SimCity experience where your city and my city and others' were [working together]; for better or for worse, and for right or for wrong, the lead designers and the producers and the programmers felt like they wanted to tell us a multiplayer, cooperative city story around SimCity.

"We had built a bunch of these and you could've gone deeper and deeper into your plumbing and managing toilets and electrical posts, but we felt there was a bigger story to tell and a bigger opportunity to chase with an always-on connected experience built around that concept. That's what we set out to design and that's what Maxis created and brought forward into the marketplace," Gibeau concluded.

Despite the difficulties surrounding the release of SimCity and Diablo III upcoming Bungie title Destiny will require an always online connection. Bungie have expressed confidence in their ability to cope with demand once Destiny launches. The console version of Diablo III meanwhile does not have a DRM requirement.

Gibeau's comments may also be seen to quash recent rumours that the next Xbox will require a constant internet connection.