Fighting Piracy By Encouraging Illegal Activity: Can Pirates Be Potential Customers?

Electronic Arts CEO John Riccitiello is confident that EA can convert illegal pirates of games to potential customers. The reason: downloadable content that you can not access with a pirated copy.

“They can steal the disc, but they can’t steal the DLC,” Riccitiello said, referring to the downloadable content that is often available for sale after a game is released to the public.

In June, Riccitiello encouraged illegal downloaders to pirate games such as FIFA Online, NBA Street Online and Battlefield Heroes. His perspective was not prosecuting bootleggers and illegal downloaders, but offering them opportunities to download extra content for a price. Another perspective is that pirates could turn legal as a way of showing their support for their favorite game developers.

Even if EA did not generate any revenues for the original purchase of the game, the company can still earn monies on the downloadable extras, even on the day of the game release. Riccitiello says that when customers are offered more downloadable content to a game they are highly engaged with, they pay up. If a customer perceives additional value in the purchase of downloadable content of a game they bought or pirated, it is a win for the game developers and the bottom line. The strategy might seem counterintuitive. It is commonplace that software developers would offer a free trial demo to potential customers, hoping the users are engaged enough by the demo that they pay for the full product. In this case, pirates can have the full version of a game but opt-in to pay for downloadable extras.

Any value-added perceived by gamers, whether they are legitimate or illegal, can be profitable for the gaming industry. The key is for the game to engage them to the extent that they would consider paying for additional downloadable content. A great strategy to fight piracy: offer gamers additional value to the original purchase (or pirated copy) and then a convenient way for them to pay online and download the new content seamlessly. Could this strategy be duplicated in the music or movie industry?

In order to fight piracy, a new value proposition must be given to potential customers that would lure them to become paying users. Conveniency, pricing and value is the name of the game to fight pirates. However, a point-of-sale needs to be addressed. In other words, even if they are pirates, value-added, scarce content can convert them to buyers. What would increase the chances of getting a sale from an illegal downloader: shutting off their Internet access and suing them? Or is it better to bring them closer to your product and a potential point-of-sale location where they can download scarce/exclusive content that they would be willing to pay for?

Take the example of concerts in the music industry. How is it that music consumers are more willing to pay high prices for concert tickets than pay for music content? The answer is the social experience, perceived value, scarcity, and engagement created by the live interaction with the performing artist. Can this sort of engagement be replicated in movies and music content? Until that happens, fighting piracy in music and movies will be all about convenience, pricing, interoperability and most importantly increasing perceived value. One thing must be consistent across all content though, whether it is games, music, movies or software: having great product and finding ways to monetize it directly and indirectly.


Source: FightPiracy.org - Fighting Piracy By Encouraging Illegal Activity: Can Pirates Be Potential Customers?


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Fight Piracy - Music, Movies, Games, Software, Internet