Electronic Arts' "Project Ten Dollar" Isn't As Ominous As It Sounds

Illustration for article titled Electronic Arts' "Project Ten Dollar" Isn't As Ominous As It Sounds

You may have noticed that in the past few months, EA has begun to provide content that's free to purchasers of new games, but costs serious money for those buying second-hand. It's no co-incidence. It's called "Project Ten Dollar".


As part of the company's attempts to combat the sale of pre-owned games - where profits go to the retailer, not the publisher - Electronic Arts boss John Riccitiello assembled his executives in New York City last year for a "brainstorming session". What they came up with was "Project Ten Dollar".

With a name that like that, I hope Riccitiello didn't just say "yeah, approved" or something equally dull. I hope he leaned back in his chair, pointed at a dossier and said "Men...commence Project Ten Dollar". Then took a drag of a cigarette, gazed out the window, and muttered "and may God help us all....."

Project Ten Dollar made its debut in Dragon Age and, more publicly, with Mass Effect 2's Cerberus Network, but you can expect to see it a lot more going forwards. I mean, it has a codename! You know a company is serious about a campaign when it's given a snappy codename.

With all of EA's 2011 titles to feature DLC of some kind, it'd be safe to assume that most of those games, if not all of them, will feature the same kind of system, whereby DLC that's free for purchasers of new games costs $10 for anyone buying the game second-hand.


Electronic Arts: Lost in an Alien Landscape [BusinessWeek]


Lord Maim Will Not Convert

@GreyGhost67: Books cost around $10 a piece. They sell millions as well, but have have very low production costs that they have to recoup. As well, a good book now will still be a good book ten years from now, so the window for sales will continue as long as there is demand.

Games have a very narrow window for sales, and have incredible production costs ranging into the millions of dollars. After a few months, the demand for a particular game fades dramatically as newer, better looking, more innovative games become popular. It is a cumulative progression, each advancement building upon the last, leaving the progenitors looking primitive by comparison.

When a consumer chooses a used game over a new game, the money goes to a company like Gamestop. None of that money goes to the publisher, the developer, or the creative minds that actually worked on the game. None of that money goes back into creating new games, or making the next games better. It only goes into the coffers of the used retailer. They pay a pittance for the titles, then apply a ridiculous markup to the price, for newer titles usually about $10 less than a new copy of the game. In the end, none of that money goes back into the industry, it just bleeds out.

If you buy games new, this initiative doesn't affect you. If your budget prevents you from buying games new however, then the only difference will be that you'll have to wait a little longer for a used copy to drop to the same price range if you factor in the launch DLC. But at least some of the money will still go to the people that deserve it.