Newell doesn’t think EA’s “doing anything super-well yet” with Origin

Saturday, 21st April 2012 18:35 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Gabe Newell thinks EA has it’s work cut out with Origin in order to catch up with other digital services such as Steam.

Speaking with the Seven Day Cooldown podcast in an oft-quoted interview, Newell said despite this, EA has “a bunch of smart people” working on Origin who may eventually “build stuff in the future” that’s useful for consumers and developers alike.

“They have a lot of work to do to get to where they need to be and where I, as a customer would want them to be,” he said. “I don’t think they’re doing anything super-well yet.

“They have a bunch of smart people working on it but I think they’re still playing catch up to a lot of people who have been working in the space for a while. I think they’re recognising what the challenges are with building and scaling out this kind of system.

“That’s not to say they won’t build stuff in the future that is useful to software developers or to gamers but they haven’t done that yet.”

Newell also reiterated Valve would like to have EA’s Origin-exclusive titles on Steam because it would make both EA and Steam customers happy.

“We think their customers would be happy if their games were on Steam, we tell them that on a regular basis,” he said. “I think EA wants to take their shot at building their own alternative to Steam, and if they’re successful at that and their customers like that then that’s great.

“[But] whatever they’re trying to do to create value for their customers is not a zero sum game.”

Thanks, Eurogamer.



  1. DSB

    Beyond the difference in ideology, I think Newell is just the better businessman. It’s really summed up in that last quote.

    It is not a zero sum game. What he considers business, Ricitiello considers war. For people like that, it’s less about individual success, and all about making sure others have as little as possible.

    It’s a Gordon Gecko mentality that might see results in the short run, but the reason why Steam is anchored in the gaming community, and Origin isn’t, is because Valve ventured to give a fuck.

    Treating people like people works. Running a business for executives and by executives, and simply expecting everybody else to accomodate you only helps you to reach a limited amount of short term goals. It doesn’t actually build anything.

    I think that’s summed up pretty well in their customer service, if you can even call it that. As soon as you press buy on that client, you can go fuck yourself.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. polygem

    that´s true.
    i remember once i bought a steam game and then they had a discount on it just half an hour after i purchased full price. i wrote an email and got it for the discount price. you think ea would do that….nope. never. did it hurt valve to do it. no. am i more loyal to steam or ea now? guess.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. SolidGamerSnake

    I think its just that Steam has already established itself and no one wants to have to seperate accounts for their games!( including me)

    As a rational customer you would always pick steam over origin, since it got a much broader games catalogue!

    #3 3 years ago
  4. TheWulf

    He’s right about Origin on so many levels.

    I mean, they were just stupid with it…

    Idiotic thing they did #1: They pulled their games off Steam, which means they’re obviously going to sell less and piss off the majority of PC owners who enjoy using Steam.

    Idiotic thing they did #2: They tied their games into Origin’s servers, which means that trying to play ME3 launch day was a nightmare. “CONNECTING TO EA SERVERS. PSYCH! NOT REALLY. NOT RIGHT NOW. MAYBE LATER? WE’RE DOING SOME CALIBRATIONS.”

    Idiotic thing they did #3: They limited their passwords to a max length of 16 characters. Yes, sure, I’d love to be hacked thanks to having an insecure password. They have some incredible idiots in their IT dept.

    Idiotic thing they did #4: They named their service ‘Origin,’ after one of the greatest RPG developers of all time – a studio that they were responsible for buying out and gutting. If you want to piss off older PC gamers, that’s a great way to do it.

    Idiotic thing they did #5: Your games are hard locked to a drive and it’s damned near impossible to move them without reinstalling. You can drag and drop the entire Steam folder from drive to drive (or even to a new computer) and Steam and its games don’t give a shit. Origin hates it.

    Idiotic thing they did #6: Tried to mangle and half-arse the Bioware community site and Origin into one gestalt, which has resulted in DLC and save-related problems – making Origin look and behave like a virus.

    Idiotic thing they did #7: Ignored what made Steam great – the sales. I think they’ve had one since they began, and that’s it. One of the primary reasons people keep going back to Steam is because sales, sales, sales.

    Idiotic thing they did #8: Crawling your computer for information without permission or prior knowledge. Sure, it’s to add EA games you already own to the client, but doing so without ASKING first is just dickish, and frightening. No, EA, I don’t want your data-tentacles fondling my computer. Cut that the fuck out.

    Idiotic thing they did #9: They tied their forums into their game service. So that a ban from the forums is a ban from singleplayer games! Oh, you can now play your singleplayer games, but only in offline mode, missing out on all online features and functionality. So much better. Not!

    Idiotic thing they did #10: Made in-game features (like buying packs with credits in ME3 MP) tie into their shitty, poorly coded in-game overlay. Turn it off and… NO MORE PACKS FOR YOU, NOT EVEN USING IN-GAME MONEY!

    Idiotic thing they did #11: Speaking of unoptimised – have you seen the memory leaks after Origin has been open for a while? (And once I caught it using ONE HUNDRED PER CENT of a core.) It’s fucking ridiculous. Really, go look. I have to close and reopen Origin every day, something I DO NOT have to do with Steam.

    Idiotic thing they did #12: They constantly redirect you to the site of your region even if you change your URL, so you can’t tell a friend what the price of X or Y game is on Origin in their native currency.

    Could go on like this…

    You have to wonder what they were thinking.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. thesamy

    if bf3 was on steam with higer price then origin i would pay that steam price just not to get any connection to EA services.

    EA meeting:
    Ricitiello:”DAMN steam making a lot of money we need this money what are we gonna do? GIVE ME SUGGESTIONS NOW!

    Some Guy:”reinvent EA store and make people buy a long waited game”

    Ricitiello:”which game we got upcoming? i realy dont care about the game you guys making….”

    Some Guy:”battlefield 3…”

    Ricitiello:”OK so is settle we call this software origin and make battlefield 3 be exclusive to this store”

    Some Guy:”but people will be mad…’


    #5 3 years ago
  6. TheWulf


    Yet another thing Steam does that EA/Origin does not: Valve actually pays for servers and bandwidth enough to deal with the load, EA doesn’t give a shit and is perfectly happy with substandard service that fuck over customers and leave them with a broken product.

    (See point no. 2 in my post above.)

    #6 3 years ago
  7. endgame

    @1, 2 and 3 True, true and again.. true. :((
    @4 Holy s**t Wulf I didn’t even realize that Origin did so many bad things. I mean I knew of a few but.. wow! How bad can a service really be!? Now I know.
    @5 LOL!

    #7 3 years ago
  8. DSB

    Origin is really a bad name for just about anything. Because it could mean anything. I could maybe understand if you were some kind of weirdo cult or a stem cell researcher, but anything beyond that just makes it completely detached.

    I don’t know who thought that up, but they weren’t doing themselves any favors. It sounds like a bank or something. They seem to always have vague, pretentious as fuck names.

    At least Steam makes sense. Valve > Steam > Steamworks > mechanics > electronics > computers > games.

    Electronic Arts > Origin > Anything > What the fuck are you doing > You pretentious cunts.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. Talkar

    While i agree that Steam is better than origin in most cases. I still think Origin has a better policy when it comes to banning. Steam can and have banned thousands of people that has no way to get their account back, since CS will just ignore the requests. Whereas with EA you can atleast contact the CS and talk with them. But i guess it is just popular to hate EA for the moment.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. DSB

    @9 Where are those thousands? I’ve never seen a single one. If there was an actual problem, you’d think you’d hear about it.

    Especially since people apparently fly up in arms over something as simple as a standard EULA these days.

    During the VACS fiasco, a lot of people got banned for being in lobbies that were hacked by a third party. I had that happen to a family member, who was in a game where everybody got raised to the maximum level. He got VACS banned along with a lot of other people, but Valve apologized and gave all the affected a giftable copy of Left 4 Dead 2. Roughly 12.000 people.

    July 26th

    July 27th

    False positives are just a fact of life. I think a lot of people spent something like a week locked out of BC2 Punkbuster enabled servers because someone had forgotten to make sure the PB beta candidate was compatible with the release one.

    #10 3 years ago
  11. Talkar

    I could go around and find people who has been banned. But i think it is enough to leave you with the rules of banning. I take speciel interest in the line that says “There is a Zero-Tolerance policy for any violations of the Steam Subscriber Agreement and Online Code of Conduct.”
    And in conjunction with this rule set: “Regardless of who was using your account at the time it was banned, the use and security of your Steam account is your responsibility.”
    i think i get my point across.

    #11 3 years ago
  12. xxJPRACERxx

    I prefer Steam but have nothing against Origin. I have both installed.

    #12 3 years ago
  13. DSB

    @11 What point, that you’re uncomfortable with the policy?

    Until you do find them, those thousands are just an idea in your head.

    I’m pretty sure you won’t have a hard time finding all the guys who are “completely innocent” on the internet though. Kinda like the guy who violated the TOS and bitched about it with the help of RPS.

    Having a zero-tolerance policy for cheaters is hardly a bad thing. As a player, I don’t see why I’d ever want them back in the game, and when available, they’re still free to play their games singleplayer and multiplayer on unsecured servers.

    I’m pretty sure the reason for it is to reduce the load on support though. If they have to get into a shouting match with every guy who can’t accept getting caught, that’s a lot of money wasted on users that Steam probably doesn’t really want around.

    Most often, the complaint I hear is that VACS isn’t hard enough.

    #13 3 years ago
  14. darksied


    Not a big fan of Origin yet (I don’t like ANYTHING running in the background except the game, even Steam), but I don’t think it’s as bad as people say. Some of the things you mentioned I would clearly argue against:

    #1 They pulled some games off Steam, not nearly all. I think they might have pulled 4 in total, I’m not sure (me3, crysis 2, star wars, dead space 2, maybe?)

    #2 Steam ties in all of it’s games too. Every single thing needs internet access, even portal 2 (why?), and Steam needs to be running for everything. Origin doesn’t need to be running for all games.

    #7 EA had so many sales last year. Not too many so far this year, but last year, like every 2 weeks, they had their crazy sales for a lot of their triple A titles. I like me some Steam sales, but just because they’re bigger and better doesn’t mean that EA doesn’t have them.

    #8 Haven’t experienced this; if you have, that sucks.

    #11 Steam, for me, consistently uses more ram than Origin, no question, constantly uses my cpu (not much, but it does). I have never seen Origin use more, and it’s almost 2:1 ratio. I can’t say for when I’m IN a game, cause I’m not checking, but sitting in windows and watching them, Origin hovers at around 100mb, Steam is almost always over 200mb.

    Origin DID suck hard when it first came out; it was slow and laggy and all of that, but it has improved, but needs to get better. That doesn’t mean that Steam should just slack either cause it’s a bigger drain on my resources right now.

    A lot of what you mentioned might be true, haven’t experienced all of it (and I’m glad). But Origin will continue to improve, and it hasn’t been 1 year. Let’s give it that and see where it stands from where it started.

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Talkar

    I’m lazy, tough luck. But i can say that my first steam account was banned years ago, and is still banned. And i haven’t received a single response from Valve. But i guess i’m just an idea in my head too, and the games i don’t have access to anymore is also just an idea in my head sure.

    #15 3 years ago
  16. freedoms_stain

    Using BF3 to spread Origin around was a shit move. BF3 doesn’t actually tie in to Origin the way Steamworks titles tie into Steam thanks to Battlelog.

    Friends list unity? Nope.

    Join friends game or even see details (server, map, free space) in the Origin client? Nope.

    Game stats in-client? Nope.

    Origin does nothing FOR BF3 except fuck up authentication periodically and prevent people from playing when the game itself is running perfectly.

    Honestly, Origin itself needed the 3_4 months in development and QA that BF3 itself sorely needed. But hey, business decision, right? Putting customers where? Last.

    #16 3 years ago
  17. DSB

    @15 I don’t know your case, but if someone took that kind of value from me, I would act within minutes.

    There’s Ombudsmanden. He would definitely take your case if you really had your account banned for no reason. And even if Steam operates under US law, he still has the power to ban them from selling to Danes.

    You could try Reddit or even John Walker. Apparently he’ll even defend people who are directly responsible for getting their accounts suspended.

    If I heard of a case like that and I heard the guy just did nothing, I’d simply assume that he knew he did something wrong.

    If you don’t report a robbery, it stands to reason that nobody’s going to help you. And if you report it years after the fact, it’s hard to feel sorry for you.

    Even if your case is rock solid, one person is still 999 short of the first thousand. Lazy people assuming stuff doesn’t carry a lot of weight.

    #17 3 years ago
  18. GwynbleiddiuM

    @DSB You know, my greatest regret in life is going over my own word about stay the fucking clear of Origin and I didn’t, bought both ME3 abd BF3 on it and I’m very sorry for myself. I just have no idea to which hell EA has outsourced the customer service and I hope I never find out. I get more support from than I get from EA.

    #18 3 years ago
  19. viralshag

    Never had too many problems with Origin. Really doesn’t bother me at all.

    I don’t think it’s that bad. Some people are acting like Origin stuck it’s nob out the monitor and slapped them in the face with it.

    #19 3 years ago
  20. TheWulf


    You really want to do this? Okay.

    “#1 They pulled some games off Steam, not nearly all. I think they might have pulled 4 in total, I’m not sure (me3, crysis 2, star wars, dead space 2, maybe?)”

    I didn’t quantify, therefore I am not wrong, you’re just splitting hairs here. That they pulled ANY games off of Steam was just wrong, and the way they did it especially so – they tried a smear campaign against Valve, too, and that just outright didn’t work.

    They came out of it looking horrible. Typical EA. Typical EA marketing and PR.

    “#2 Steam ties in all of it’s games too.”

    Learn to read. I’m talking of the way in which Mass Effect 3 tied in so that when you launch the game, you wait half hour for “CONNECTING TO SERVER” messages, and then it drops you. This is due to how they tied ME3 into Origin authentication servers, when Origin clearly wasn’t up to handling the load.

    This is different from the check Steam does at launch, a check that’s never dropped, a check that’s never left me waiting for half hour. Conclusion: Reading good. Assumptions bad. Bad like fire.

    “Origin doesn’t need to be running for all games.”

    Bull. Fucking. Shit.

    Gatling Gears needs Origin running, Shank 2 needs Origin running, Mass Effect 3 needs Origin running, my entire fucking library of Origin games requires Origin to be online and running.

    Misinformation doesn’t help anyone. Try launching ME3 or Shank 2 without Origin open, it opens Origin THEN runs, just like Steam.

    When you stop talking out of your arse, you’ll have a case.

    “#7 EA had so many sales last year.”

    EA != Origin. More misinformation.

    “I like me some Steam sales, but just because they’re bigger and better doesn’t mean that EA doesn’t have them.”

    No, but I didn’t say EA now did I? I said Origin. There’s that lack of reading comprehension again.

    “#8 Haven’t experienced this; if you have, that sucks.”

    You haven’t experienced it because they don’t tell you they’re doing it, which I also mentioned. Herp-de-derp-derp. How can you know about invisible–and for the average consumer (like yourself), undetectable–OS crawling?

    “EA says Origin isn’t spyware, although it does scan your entire PC.”

    That shit just isn’t on. That you don’t KNOW about it doesn’t make it cool. It just makes you uninformed/misinformed. (And I’ve established a number of times that you are.)

    “#11 Steam, for me, consistently uses more ram than Origin, no question, constantly uses my cpu (not much, but it does).”

    I’m calling bullshit on this. Anyone wants to back you up? They can. I know it’s my anecdotal evidence versus yours, but everyone knows that Steam is solid and Origin is as buggy as shit.

    I can’t even believe you’re trying to pull this. Do you work for EA?

    “I have never seen Origin use more, and it’s almost 2:1 ratio. I can’t say for when I’m IN a game, cause I’m not checking, but sitting in windows and watching them, Origin hovers at around 100mb, Steam is almost always over 200mb.”

    That’s standard usage – please note I said a memory leak. I’ve seen Origin climb up to 800mb when it’s had a leak, and it’s kept fucking climbing. I’ve had to close it to deal with that leak.

    At this point, due to all your misinformation thus far, I question your credibility. But people can check their own computers and monitor things for themselves, which I wholeheartedly encourage. Please do check, folks.

    “Origin DID suck hard when it first came out; it was slow and laggy and all of that, but it has improved, but needs to get better.”

    No, no it hasn’t. This is reading like a PR spiel.

    “A lot of what you mentioned might be true,”

    IS true. I can pull up citations around the Internet from news articles and forum threads on anything you like. So can you. So can anyone. Google is right there.

    Origin memory leak.
    Origin using 100% of a core.

    You can sign up to check the password thing for yourself.

    Anything you need me to verify, now?

    “But Origin will continue to improve,”

    Based upon what consensus? How do you know this? EA makes more money by leaving Origin as a shambles, and going by ME3′s launch day, they clearly don’t give a shit.

    #20 3 years ago
  21. TheWulf


    “I don’t think it’s that bad. Some people are acting like Origin stuck it’s nob out the monitor and slapped them in the face with it.”

    And some people are sticking their heads in the sand.

    Let me just pick out the one that should matter to you: A 16 character password is ridiculously easy to brute-force, the longer your password is, the more secure it is.

    You’re honestly not bothered that Origin forces you to have an insecure password? You really want to be hacked?

    #21 3 years ago
  22. DSB

    @18 Hehe, that makes me feel a little better.

    I jumped on BF3 too, and I got The Saboteur back when it was still the EA Download Manager.

    My brother “threatened” to buy BF3 for me if I didn’t myself, so that’s my excuse for getting it. In my head, my hands are still clean ;)

    I really wouldn’t mind using Origin if EA weren’t using it as a weapon. I don’t like being forced to used clients, when I know I’m better served elsewhere, and I know I’m still paying 100% to save that company 20. They can’t even give me 5 for using their client? Alright, then they can kiss that 100% goodbye.

    If they actually cared for their customers and decided to play fair, I could get over the fact that their client isn’t very good.

    #22 3 years ago
  23. TheWulf



    Some people here are just blowing it out of their arse. Anyone who’s actually had any hands on experience with the software and doesn’t seem to bloody work for EA’s PR department knows that it’s a horrendous clusterfuck of a thing.

    And if you have any familiarity with software development, IT, and/or security at all, then it’ll leave a constant look of horror on your face. It’s just a really shitty piece of software, it’s not well supported, it’s backed up by limited bandwidth and wimpy servers, and all in all it’s just out to fuck over the consumer.

    I’ll be buying my products elsewhere, given the choice. I don’t think it’s fair to penalise Bioware (whom I do like) by not buying EA published shit, but by golly I’m not going to remain silent about how terrible it is.

    FACT: If you don’t level criticism at something, it’ll never improve.

    Right now, Origin is the equivalent of a hovel. As a person with any amount of self-respect, dignity, and worth, don’t you deserve better?

    #23 3 years ago
  24. Talkar

    I did contact steam, and i did contact Ombudsmanden. But do you know how ombudsmanden operates? He gets, lets say 10 cases on a day (just a number i made up), he then looks at what the inquires are about. If there is only 1 about Steam and 3 about some icecream company, he is going to pick the one about the icecream company because that is where the majority is having problems.
    But do you really want 999 links in a comment, seriously. I’ll supply a few, but if you want more go look them up yourself. They are there.
    And of course there is this pretty recent article where the user only got his account back because it ended up in the media.

    #24 3 years ago
  25. viralshag

    @21, I’m not burying my head in the sand I just don’t give as much of a toss about as it as you clearly do. EA say “hey, for TOR and ME3 you need this thing called Origin.” I say, “sure, Ok.”

    I then installed it and have never had an issue with it. No more than I have with Steam in any case. Why would I complain about something if I have personally never had a problem with it?

    And really?

    “Let me just pick out the one that should matter to you: A 16 character password is ridiculously easy to brute-force, the longer your password is, the more secure it is.”

    I don’t think I have ever have a password that was 16 characters long. And I would probably take a stab and say most people don’t care about having 16 characters because they don’t have that long a password.

    But if you can find something that says the world is concerned about having passwords longer than 16 characters, please link it and I will accept I must be a one-off.

    #25 3 years ago
  26. DSB

    @24 Whether you feel like backing it up or not is up to you, but why would anyone take a claim like that seriously if it’s just picked out of thin air?

    The first link doesn’t really do anything to prove a problem, the guy actually uses the phrase “I was like WTF i never cheated on CS so how can i get un-banned?” – You don’t have to cheat in CS to get VACS banned, you can do it any other VACS game if you like.

    “And of course there is this pretty recent article where the user only got his account back because it ended up in the media.”

    That’s kinda weird, considering that the guy was never banned. His account was suspended because he suddenly started sending a huge amount of games around to random people. That sort of thing will get your account flagged at most online stores, especially US ones.

    If you actually checked the source instead of trusting someone like John Walker, you’d see that his issues were resolved in a timely manner. He made the first ticket on the 28th, and recieved a reply on the 31st, New Years Eve, a holiday in some parts – And during the Steam Xmas sale, their busiest time of year. I’d say that’s outstanding service, when you consider that they usually have a hard time just keeping their servers up.

    Every response after that came within 24 hours of the last, except for January 1st which apparently is a holiday even for Steam’s tech support.

    To compare, if your Xbox Live or Hotmail account gets flagged, and if you don’t file a ticket within 30 days of getting flagged, they just delete your account, for good. In this case it took 25 days to investigate that suspicious behavior, which isn’t unusual when an account on a major service needs to be investigated. 25 days would probably suck if you didn’t do anything. But this guy did.

    I don’t think you could pick a much worse example. All it does is prove that Valve have a system in place to stop people from raping your credit card, identical to that of a million other services.

    It doesn’t have anything to do with VACS either. His account was suspended for suspicious behaviour, and subsequently limited due to the fact that he had been selling gifted games for money, a violation of the TOS. And tech support responded accordingly.

    No one was ever banned, and if John Walker was half a journalist, he might have put his own personal paranoia aside for 5 minutes to report the story as it actually appeared, rather than how he wanted it to go.

    #26 3 years ago
  27. Talkar

    Learn to read, then get back to me. I really don’t want to waste my time explaining every single letter that i assume a human can understand.

    #27 3 years ago
  28. DSB

    @27 How about you learn to argue a case using fact instead of fiction?

    We can all agree that a system that doesn’t allow for appeals leaves itself wide open to some terrible mistakes, as they found out with the MW2 debacle, but actually establishing it as a problem worthy of consideration takes more than just mindless paranoia, it takes actual fact.

    If thousands are having these problems, where are they? How come people sue when they spill coffee over themselves and find it to be hot, but not when Valve are apparently robbing them of what has to be hundreds of thousands of euros worth of games?

    Paranoia may be more alluring to people, but sense and documentation is ultimately more valuable when you want to be taken seriously.

    #28 3 years ago
  29. Talkar

    I refer to my previous post #27.

    #29 3 years ago
  30. DSB

    Myth busted, I guess.

    #30 3 years ago
  31. Talkar


    #31 3 years ago

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