EA's been on the receiving end of some serious illegal downloading in recent times, with Spore and later The Sims 3 proving hugely popular in the file sharing community - the latter was illegally downloaded around 200,000 times even before the game hit stores.

It's not all bad news though, says EA CEO John Riccitiello, the version pirates are playing is just a very large scale "demo".

"You identified our secret marketing campaign!" joked Riccitiello when speaking to IndustyGamers at E3. "That was a very large scale - concentrated on Poland and China - demo program."

More seriously, Riccitiello added: "In the game that was pirated there's [only] one city [out of two]... and Sims 3 has a massive amount of content, and a lot of it is downloaded once you register with EA... and join the online community."

For some of its titles, Riccitiello says he'd be more than happy to see them pirated.

"... please encourage them to pirate FIFA Online, NBA Street Online, Battleforge, Battlefield Heroes... if they would just pirate lots of it I'd love them. [laughs] Because what's in the middle of the game is an opportunity to buy stuff," he said. "I increasingly believe that's the way the market's going because that's how the consumer wants to consume."

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