No Harm, No Foul in PSN Outage, Says EA Sports

EA Sports president Peter Moore brushed off the suggestion that the PlayStation Network outage did particular damage to his label, which has in the past two years seen significant revenue growth through its downloadable content, especially in its popular Ultimate Team offerings.

"It was unfortunate but ... I think it's just delayed purchases," Moore told Kotaku at E3 last week. "I felt bad for Sony; we tried to help Sony. We really tried to focus on ‘There but for the grace of God go many of us.'"

"I think it's just delayed purchases. You're still going to buy TPC Boston eventually," he said, referring to a course available as DLC in Tiger Woods PGA Tour 12: The Masters. "I think we all learned some hard lessons."

Since 2009, EA Sports' downloadable content offerings have become more robust and increasingly tied to the game's main persistent modes of play. NHL, for example, offers a long list of microtransacted boosts for players in its "Be a Pro" career mode. NCAA Football has offered boosts in its Dynasty mode. This year, downloadable courses have been integrated into the career mode of Tiger 12; those who choose not to buy them - or in the case of late April and May, can't buy them - must skip the events.

Ultimate Team modes, available in FIFA, NHL and Madden offer "packs" of player cards who are assembled into a fantasy-type team for online play. Though packs may be acquired for free with coins that are earned in online play, the 23-day total outage of the PlayStation Network meant there was no Ultimate Team play of any type, and no way to acquire new packs, free or paid.

But Moore, who said title abandonment is his nonstop concern, said that even the multiplayer figures rebounded healthily after PSN came back online May 14.

"We saw within a week we got back to 90 percent levels," Moore said, without discussing hard numbers. EA Sports is sensitive about portraying one multiplayer service as dominant over another, although multiplayer figures for Madden during the NFL's opening week last year showed the game was played online more on Xbox 360 than PS3.

"It obviously hurt Sony and hurt them financially," Moore said. "If I'm Sony the concern I have is, did it push people to Xbox Live?"