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Schappert clarifies EA's sweeping DLC and online strategy


During this week's quarterly earning's report, EA COO John Schappert answered an investor question with a somewhat vague but potentially far-reaching comment regarding the publisher's future strategy for implementing online functionality into its games. "In fiscal 2011 [from April 31, 2010 to March 31, 2011], every one of EA's releases will have an online component, both downloadable content and online play," Schappert said, according to a VG247 report. CFO Eric Brown then cited Mass Effect 2's Cerberus Network as the company's "most recent example" of how this plan might manifest.

The obvious question: Does the plan apply to all platforms, including Wii, DS, PSP, and mobile? Schappert clarified to Joystiq today: "My statement wasn't in reference to any specific platform as most of our titles are multiplatform and have different features per platform. Though you can expect our PC, PS3 and Xbox 360 titles to have very robust online features. Of course, depending on the title, this may extend to other platforms as well."

While this clarification is not exactly the firestarter statement one might interpret from Schappert's original comment, the plan still raises concerns -- based on recent experiences -- that EA games' online components could continue to induce headaches so long as they are tied to accounts and the issues that have arisen as EA has increased its DLC efforts. If the plan is to include online components in all EA games in the future, then the wrinkles need to be ironed out of Project Ten Dollar now.

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