EA: A market trend?

EA: A marketing trend? (Sims3)Column originally featured on MediaPost

Electronic Arts is shaking things up and leading by example. The video game company seems to be evolving a new approach to game publishing, one that promises a cross-platform distribution model fortified against piracy.

The game worth looking at closely for following this trend is “The Sims 3.” The title launched but a few months ago, and has now seen over 3.7 million copies sold, outstripping the previous bestseller “The Sims 2.” What’s interesting about these sales is that they follow a torrent (pun intended) of pirated downloads from a leaked version of the game prior to release. Rather than lamenting the piracy, EA execs suggested that internally, they shifted the viewpoint to seeing the leaked version as an “extended demo.” The reason behind this was the sheer volume of additional content exclusive to registered users that didn’t ship on the retail disk.

EA has instead approached the Sims franchise as a content portal to additional downloads, some of which were free, and others for pay. They are now adding this same model to the iPhone version of “The Sims 3,” making use of in-app commerce enabled by the iPhone 3.0 software release. This brings up the other facet of EA’s burgeoning model that’s extremely compelling: cross distribution.  Read more.