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Origin boss feels Steam sales “cheapen IP”

Wednesday, 6th June 2012 20:41 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Origin boss David DeMartini thinks massive sales on games can cheapen the IP, therefore, the firm has no plans to offer games with 75% price cuts.

Speaking with GI International, DeMartini said he understands the philosophy behind it, but it also tells consumers that if they wait long enough, they can buy a game for a huge discount.

“We won’t be doing that. Obviously [Steam] thinks it’s the right thing to do after a certain amount of time. I just think it cheapens your intellectual property,” he said. “I know both sides of it, I understand it. If you want to sell a whole bunch of units, that is certainly a way to do that, to sell a whole bunch of stuff at a low price. The game makers work incredibly hard to make this intellectual property, and we’re not trying to be Target. We’re trying to be Nordstrom.

“When I say that, I mean good value, we’re trying to give you a fair price point, and occasionally there will be things that are on sale you could look for a discount, just don’t look for 75 per cent off going-out-of-business sales.

“What Steam does might be teaching the customer: ‘I might not want it in the first month, but if I look at it in four or five months, I’ll get one of those weekend sales and I’ll buy it at that time at 75% off. It’s an approach, and I’m not going to say it’s not working for Valve. It certainly works for Valve; I don’t know if it works as well for the publishing partners who take on the majority of that haircut.”

DeMartini’s opinion on Steam’s business practices isn’t novel, as GOG managing director Guillaume Rambourg said pretty much the same thing back in April.

“Selling games at too high a discount – one often sees discounts above 80% off here and there – sends a message to gamers: this game, simply put, isn’t worth very much,” he said at the time. “Of course, you make thousands and thousands of sales of a game when it’s that cheap, but you’re damaging the long-term value of your brand because people will just wait for the next insane sale.

“Slashing the price of your game is easy. Improving the content of your offer when you release your game, that’s more ambitious.”

When it comes to sales, DeMartini said Origin has a plan in place that doesn’t involve a “drop-it-down, spring-it-up, 75% off approach,” but at present, he is unable to discuss how the scheme will work.

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18 Comments

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  1. DSB

    LOOOOL.

    It’s great that he feels that way, but I’m pretty sure most people think sales are an outstanding service.

    Most really don’t look at a sale and go “You put it down 50%? You fucking slut. Have some self-respect”

    #1 2 years ago
  2. Stephany Nunneley

    @1 – :D I really laughed hard at that.

    #2 2 years ago
  3. Erthazus

    Well you know what EA? I don’t give a Flying Fuck about brands or marketing campaigns. All i want just Games. Good Games. Lot’s of Good games and if the game is good and is cheap i will buy it and play the Crap out of it no matter what brand is.

    Also, your lineup for this E3 sucks.

    Go F yourself.

    #3 2 years ago
  4. DSB

    @3 I think you hit the nail on the head there.

    It seems to me that in the US there’s a lot of phony prestige when it comes to brands. Like this guy is saying he doesn’t want to be Target. But what is he actually talking about? Does Target consistently sell lower quality?

    No, they don’t. They may cater to a different audience, but they sell plenty of stuff that the “fancier” chains do, only cheaper.

    Do you get worse soap for buying at Dollar General? Would going to Winn Dixie really make you cleaner?

    I think it’s also down to the illusion that he thinks there’s money being put away, as opposed to being needed elsewhere. If people do wait a month or even six to buy a game they’re interested in, then it’s obviously because they’d rather spend that money on something else.

    It was never his to begin with, but he knows that money is being spent somewhere, so he thinks he can get it.

    It’s classic corporate blinders, and a fair bit of delusion from a guy who obviously doesn’t have to pick and choose what games, or cars he buys.

    #4 2 years ago
  5. fearmonkey

    I bought Torchlight for $5 on a steam sale, then bought it full price on XBLA, and will buy Torchlight 2 at release for full price. So, I bought the original game, enjoyed it so much that I bought it again on XBOX, will buy the sequel thanks to that Steam sale.

    Steam sales are a great way to get a low price on a game that I’m uncertain about, and if I like it, I’ll buy the next games or on a different platform.

    Steam has it right, and I’ll be buying more games there than origin evidently.

    #5 2 years ago
  6. TMRNetShark

    What an idiot! Just… what the hell is wrong with these people? Just because they say something doesn’t mean we would EVER listen to it. If something is cheaper, we are more inclined to buy it. If something is more expensive/not worth the price… then we WON’T buy it.

    Economics buddy, we aren’t stupid cattle. Steam is a great service.

    #6 2 years ago
  7. Stephany Nunneley

    rant/

    Apparently only a true gamer will buy the game full price and forego more important things. I, and 90% of the people I know, must not be true gamers then. Apologies that I cannot afford to spend $60 twice a month on something I want – I have responsibilities to attend to without the luxury of earning million dollar bonuses to spent on coke, blackjack and hookers. God knows if I did, I would.

    /end rant

    #7 2 years ago
  8. YoungZer0

    Yeah, i mean it always pays off to buy the game at its releasedate. At the current state, Max Payne 3 (PC) is completely unplayable for me.

    The only hope i have is that they don’t use GFWL anymore, therefore they can release patches without any trouble. I mean the last patch made it possible for me to enter the game!

    YES!

    But enough about me, lets ask the people who bought Diablo III on its releasedate.

    :P

    #8 2 years ago
  9. Ireland Michael

    @7 Pat needs to give you a fatter cheque!

    #9 2 years ago
  10. G1GAHURTZ

    Steph <3 hookers.

    #10 2 years ago
  11. Vesme

    Oh, go fuck yourself David DeMartini. On Steam, new games are sometimes given a 10% or 15% discount. Older games are given the big discounts. Also, if a game is new to PC, doesn’t mean it’s necessarily a new game. Why don’t you take your basically spyware of a game launcher and go fuck yourself with it.

    Also, out of the 2 games I have on Origin one is Mass Effect 2, which I got for FREE because I bought Dragon Age 2 and Bioware gave away copies for DA2 owners. And Mass Effect 2 was still pretty new then.

    In other news, Far Cry(’04) and Far Cry 2(’08) are 75% off on Steam. After the awesome trailers and gameplay for Far Cry 3 at E3, it’s a great time to offer great the older games to people who might be interested. I bet they have a lot of sales from people who generally wouldn’t pay full price for older games and would have ended up pirating it or just skipping them.

    #11 2 years ago
  12. Ireland Michael

    I think we all know that this is just damage control. What’s he’s supposed to say? “No, we actually suck”.

    #12 2 years ago
  13. Christopher Jack

    I think it opens the doors for new comers to the IP to experience it & decide for themselves what its worth, if they like it a lot, then they’ll be ready pay more for another game in the same franchise. If they don’t like it, at least they can say it was cheap.

    #13 2 years ago
  14. DSB

    @13 Absolutely. I think Michael hit it on the head.

    The reason why these games go on sale so soon is because the hype period is just so much shorter. There are more, better games, and the more publishers spend on marketing, the less impressed we become with it.

    There’s a limit to how many glossy dubstep videos you can put out, there’s a limit to how many CoDs or Gears of War you can put out, there’s a limit to how many 60 dollar games you can put out, and there’s a limit to how many teeny tiny bundles of filler DLC you can put out.

    But the industry either doesn’t know, or doesn’t care.

    If you’re gonna keep us interested after the fact, you have to lower the price in a way that makes us care, which is obviously why so many do it through Steam.

    Guys like this just don’t get it though. They want 100%, all the time, from everyone. Sadly a lot of big companies don’t stay in touch with the people they’re selling to, and that makes for bizarre statements like these.

    #14 2 years ago
  15. Ireland Michael

    When you’re in a position like this, the slightest wrong statement can cost you millions in stock value. He has to spin in it his company’s favour.

    The guy probably doesn’t even believe what he’s saying. There are very few people in PR who do.

    #15 2 years ago
  16. DSB

    @15 I’m really not sure. This guy is also an operator.

    There are corporate hardliners out there who believe, that a certain percentage of marketshare makes them Gods of the marketplace. It really tends to skew the traditional viewpoint that customers are something to be catered to, into the notion that customers are lucky that they have a company like you around.

    To me it sounds a lot like that kind of mentality. He’s not worrying about customers, or even profitability, he’s saying that the prices aren’t high enough, and that it reflects poorly on the companies and their products.

    #16 2 years ago
  17. xxJPRACERxx

    The real problem is he’s right! In the software (enterprise) world selling your product at huge discount “cheapen the IP”. Microsoft would never start doing weekend sales of Windows Server for example. But I don’t think it’s true for games. The guy know what is talking about but he doesn’t know that business software and gaming software is different.

    #17 2 years ago
  18. GrimRita

    @1 that was a classic.

    Clearly if he has a view like this, it shows why Origin sucks and always will suck. It will always remain behind Steam in terms of product, features and price.

    I buy full price games, IF I am interested in the game, I buy games on sale if I am not sure and never once thought ‘That sale spoilt the brand’ – in some cases I come away thinking ‘WOW! That was a bargain, I wonder if theres a new version in the works of XXX’.

    But if he stands by what he says, can he explain the 50% price drop for SWTOR? I need to wash my hands as I feel its just made the entire experience cheap.

    #18 2 years ago