Tuesday, August 09, 2011


A man, a corporate man, sought enlightenment. It was important for his career.

He traveled. He traveled far and wide. He learned to climb mountains.

At the top of the first four mountains he climbed, he did not find enlightenment. At the top of the fifth mountain was a vast temple, and inside the vast temple was a vast figure of Buddha, and inside the figure of Buddha was another temple.

I told you it was vast.

Inside the second temple was another figure of Buddha, and so forth, until a reasonably sized temple had a somewhat-lifesized statue of Buddha, and inside the statue, a very old monk sat cross-legged, peacefully breathing.

The corporate man was exhausted, but he sat down quietly.

Days passed.

On the seventh day, the monk finally spoke: "what can I do for you, my son?"

"Thank you, honored elder," said the corporate man. "I have come to seek enlightenment on behalf of my company--Electronic Arts."

"Go on," said the monk.

"I am an executive," said the corporate man, "and I have been told by the CEO that I must create something for our sports franchises called "Season Pass". It's a way to generate more revenue for our company, but I don't know how it should be structured. There are many incentives I could offer: discounts on full games, digital downloads at a reduced cost, beta access, access to developers--why, there are so many substantial things I could offer that I cannot choose between them. And even if I could, how would I know what to charge for such desirable incentives? I have thought about this problem for months, and I am unable to clear my mind, so I have come to you for advice. Can you help me?"

The old monk said nothing for three days. Then, he spoke. "Before you can know what a man will pay for something," said the monk, "you must first know what he will pay for nothing."

And thus, EA Season Pass was born.

Let's take a look at what EA Season Pass offers. For $25, you get:
Early Full-Game Digital Access: Three days before a game’s scheduled release, fans will be able to download and play the full version of all five participating titles on Xbox 360 and PS3. The digitally downloaded game will time out when the game is available at retail and consumers have the option to purchase the same full game on disc at retail.

Discounted Downloadable Content: Subscribers will get a 20-percent discount on all available downloadable content for participating EA SPORTS titles.

Free Premium Web Content: Premium web content extends the game experience beyond the console to a web browser. All participating titles will feature premium web content that will be free to EA SPORTS Season Ticket members.

Membership Recognition: Subscribers are easily identifiable with an exclusive membership recognition badge displayed both in-game and on their EASPORTS.com profile.

Wow. If I buy $125 of EA Sports DLC every year, I break even. And I get exclusive access for 72 hours to games that will be almost completely unplayable until the second major patch (NHL excepted). Then I get to delete those games off my hard drive as soon as they're available at retail stores--and go buy them at the retail store. Plus, I get a special badge identifying me as a COMPLETE FREAKING IDIOT for spending $25 on nothing.

P.T. Barnum was an optimist.

Here's my problem with EA Sports: I know that there are smart people working there. There are some very smart people. So why aren't any of those people making any of the decisions? Because this "package" is pathetic and embarrassing.

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