When Sony announced the PS4 just two months ago, one publisher that was noticeably absent was the largest third party, Electronic Arts. As we get closer to Microsoft’s reveal of the next Xbox, it has started to look more and more likely that EA will be offering some type of exclusive deal with Microsoft.
The latest nail in the coffin comes as Respawn Entertainment, a new studio under the wings of Electronic Arts, announced that their anticipated multiplayer shooter will be exclusive to Microsoft consoles. Respawn was founded by the original creators of the Call of Duty franchise.
Other evidence comes as Microsoft has begun to actively promote some of the EA Sports games on their twitter account. EA has been very quiet on next generation games coming to the PS4, despite the console likely being released in less than seven months.
With the rumors that the next Xbox will require an internet connection in order to even play a game, it isn’t surprising that the kings of DRM will do what they can to back that philosophy.
Microsoft would have quite a bit of trouble selling consoles with all things being equal other than an anti-consumer DRM policy such as an always online console. There are absolutely zero benefits to the consumer, who would otherwise be fine with online being optional. The only people that this helps is the game developers and publishers.
Electronic Arts has a history of trying to push DRM on their consumers. They came up with the idea of limited installs for PC games, online passes required to prevent used game sales, and they had the bright idea of having a historically single player franchise be forced to be played online, only for the launch to blow up in their face.
It all seems to fit together. Microsoft knows that they will seriously hinder the size of their consumer base if they had an always online console. They need exclusive games to convince gamers to still buy their console. EA doesn’t like used game sales and piracy eating into their profits, so they’re likely willing to take a short term loss in order to get rid of these practices. With Peter Moore being in such a prominent position at Electronic Arts, it’s likely that he was able to negotiate with some of his old buddies in Microsoft’s console division to make such a deal happen.
Although nothing is official yet, it’s looking likely that we’ll see some type of exclusive deal between Microsoft and Electronic Arts for the next Xbox when the console is revealed in just three short weeks. Here’s to hoping that our worst fears aren’t realized.