Madden Next-Gen to be Fully Featured; EA Didn’t Push DRM to Console Manufacturers

Posted June 12th, 2013 at 9:15 am


Time to clean up on some of the other news to break since the start of E3 which includes word from Cam Weber that Madden NFL 25 on Xbox One and PS4 will be fully featured and EA denying having placed any pressure on Microsoft or Sony to institute severe DRM restrictions and reiterating they got rid of the Online Pass for unrelated reasons. 

It was confirmed to me yesterday that the next-gen version of Madden NFL 25 would be fully featured unlike the attempt made at the last console transition with Madden 06. Weber later talked about that being the case in an IGN video showcasing the next-gen version.

This doesn’t come as a surprise – EA has essentially promised the same in the past – but hearing it now and in definitive fashion is reassuring. It’s unclear whether One/PS4 will have identical basic feature sets (next-gen obviously has extra stuff related to the Ignite engine) however it’s safe to now expect the big things like the complete Connected Franchise across all the systems. A tweet to a fan from Anthony Stevenson even suggests that the new Owner mode will make its way over.

In an interview with Polygon, EA COO Peter Moore discussed the concept of console DRM and the scrapping of the Online Pass.

“As the guy who is the chief operating officer of Electronic Arts I can tell you that EA did not aggressively lobby for the platform holders to put some gating function in there to allow or disallow used games. I am on record as being a proponent of used games. I like the ecosystem. I like the fact that it’s kept pricing at a good level for eight years. I like the fact that someone can buy a physical game and see some equity in that game.”

In an interview with Eurogamer, executive vice president of EA Games Patrick Soderlund was even more direct on the topic stating “we don’t have a problem with second-hand sales as they are today. We clearly articulated our stance when we abandoned Online Pass.”

It’s important to monitor statements from EA in the coming months to see if they plan to put something in place (new form of an Online Pass?) on the PS4 in order to try and reduce the value of second hand copies to make them comparable to what will be locked in for the Xbox One.

EA would have serious trouble instituting something restrictive on the PS4 along the lines of an Online Pass after dropping it back in May with their explanation that it wasn’t working for consumers and how they listened to their feedback. Moore and others in the company are now going on record that the plan on their end has not been to limit consumer rights so changing course on that would damage credibility for a company that can’t afford any more of that.

The potential problem then becomes consumer confusion as the company (and other third parties) will have two versions of the same game that could be handled completely differently. In the case of EA Sports the Xbox One titles will get some exclusive content but the PS4 will provide the ability to buy used copies and/or freely sell the games later and won’t require consistent online check-ins to function.

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