Today must be the day for better ideas. First it was the CEO of Time Warner who wants to actually add value to their services and now EA has come up with a novel way to stop piracy. OK, maybe not stop piracy but to make a buck off of those who pirate. Here is what EA proposes:

John Riccitiello, the gaming-savvy head of Electronic Arts, doesn’t want anyone to pirate games. But those who do, he told Kotaku, present a new market that EA needs to make money from.


By selling people who grab games digitally — without paying for them — post-release downloadable content.

What a novel idea. But do people actually want post-release downloadable content? EA thinks so:

Riccitiello spoke energetically about the popularity of the company’s downloadable content add-ons. Some of EA’s DLC has been free, such as the launch-day offerings of a new town in The Sims 3 or a nudity option in The Saboteur. Others, such as the paid DLC for November’s Dragon Age Origins, generated a million downloads in its first week, according to an EA spokesperson.

“The consumer seems to really like this idea that there is extra stuff,” Riccitiello said, while expressing surprise that some of this DLC is downloaded so soon after people start playing the games. “The consumer wants more, and when you give them more or sell them more it seems to be extremely well received.”

Some of the people buying this DLC are not people who bought the game in a new shrink-wrapped box. That could be seen as a dark cloud, a mass of gamers who play a game without contributing a penny to EA. But around that cloud Riccitiello identified a silver lining: “There’s a sizable pirate market and a sizable second sale market and we want to try to generate revenue in that marketplace,” he said, pointing to DLC as a way to do it.

I sincerely hope that EA can pull this off. It would be great for the software companies who can generate added revenues from those that steal. Plus, we consumers may no longer have to go through hoops when we buy a piece of software only to have a terrible time getting the software registered.

Comments welcome.