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Origin executive aiming to “differentiate”, be “better” than Steam

Wednesday, 13th June 2012 00:42 GMT By Brenna Hillier

EA’s digital distribution service has to offer something different than Steam, according to Origin senior vice president David DeMartini.

“There’s one Steam. I think what people want to see is, they want to have another viable option. They want us to differentiate in a way that sets us apart,” DeMartini told Gamasutra.

The executive compared the digital distribution services’ rivalry with that of big-ticket games – not necessarily aiming to deliver the same experiences.

“Battlefield 3 isn’t Call of Duty. Battlefield 3 is great, it’s a shooter, but it’s a great shooter in its own right. I want Origin to be the exact same thing,” he said.

“That doesn’t mean Call of Duty is bad. I don’t want to see Steam become bad. They’re a partner. They do a lot of good things. What I want is Origin to be differentiable and better as a service, which is similar to what Steam does.”

As for how EA intends to achieve this, DeMartini said the publisher hopes to leverage EA’s multiplatform capabilities.

“We need to be able to visualize that in the service in a way that allows you amongst your circle of gaming friends to differentiate yourself or demonstrate your skills multiplatform versus other people you game with or who you are interested in their opinion,” he said.

If Origin is to be a major alternative to Steam, then it has to live up to Valve’s more established service, and DeMartini echoed colleague Peter Moore in asking gamers to be patient.

“Give us a few more years, and maybe we’ll be better than Steam,” he said.

“Steam took eight years to get where it is. We’re not going to take eight years, but we’re going to get there and go beyond.”

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16 Comments

  1. freedoms_stain

    They should have left it in the oven until it was a genuine competitor.

    Really, you can’t take any feature of Origin, hold it up to Steam and give the win to Origin.

    Steam has this “News” window that opens up when you 1st start Steam – if there’s any NEWS, if you click through a particular item you’ll never see it again. Origin has a similar “Featured Today” window that opens up when you start Origin, but unlike Steam Origin is pretty happy to have the same 1 or 2 ads on there for weeks at a time. Chances are if I didn’t want BF Premium or MoH Warfighter Digital Deluxe preorder yesterday or any of the preceding 6 days, probably don’t want them today either. Oh yeah, Origin also has no (obvious that I can find) way of turning the useless shit off, unlike Steam.

    On Steam, when a game or piece of content is available for pre-order there’s a handy-dandy green bar that gives you minimum of an approximate release date (i.e. summer 2012), and if the release date is know it gives you the unlock time in months, weeks, days and hours. Origin, jack-fucking-shit. The Battlelog forums have been swamped with “When does Close Quarters release?” threads since Premium went live because EA decided that publishing release dates in obvious places (like their store pages) is too much effort for them.

    Origin forgets my login password probably every other login, 1 in 3 at absolute best. Steam? never.

    Little annoyances that stack up to the point where you’re like “ok, fuck this shit”. I haven’t mentioned that the design is absolute turd yet have I? The design is absolute turd. Why is the friends list permanently there? It’s not even properly supported by BF3 – the game they used to unload Origin on the PC gaming world.

    The lack of actual content on Origin is painfully obvious from their storefront page. There are 3 banner ads on there, 2 of them are for BF3 Premium, BF3 Premium is also on their rotating ad space, it’s also at the head of their new releases block and it’s the only thing that is “Featured Today!”. There are 2 incredibly pointless lists towards the bottom of the page, one titled “The Sims” full of Sims shit, and another titled “Best Shooters” all of which are at least a year old and all of which are insanely overpriced given their age and their current physical retail prices.

    Individual store pages for titles are just barren. You’ve got the option to really sell the game here and really there’s little more than what you’d typically find on the back of a dvd box in-store.

    Ok, they don’t have to copy Steam nod for nod, but they could at least have taken a look to see what they were competing with.

    #1 3 years ago
  2. TheWulf

    Good luck with that, EA. But unfortunately you lack the everything that makes Valve great.

    #2 3 years ago
  3. DSB

    I think the fact that so many people despise Origin speaks volumes about EAs strategy in general.

    They’re trying to apply a console strategy to an open platform, making it a unilateral thing, completely focused on forcing the 100% margins, when that’s really not the best way to get results.

    The best way to get results would be to focus on the service, focus on the design, and focus on the user.

    Until that happens, people have a lot of better options.

    #3 3 years ago
  4. HauntaVirus

    @2
    Couldn’t agree more.

    #4 3 years ago
  5. TheBlackHole

    “Good luck with that, EA. But unfortunately you lack the everything that makes Valve great.”

    God I hate this attitude.

    *I love VALVE, therefore Steam gets a free pass*

    Don’t get me wrong, I love Valve as a developer – their games are some of the best in the industry.

    Steam is a great service for the most part, but is becoming a dangerously powerful monopoly that now holds way too much control over the PC retail sector.

    Problem is, most gamers (as evidenced by 2 of the 4 previous posts) would rather feed the beast and quash potential competitors, while simultaneously shouting ‘down with the man!’.

    #5 3 years ago
  6. back_up

    hahahahah
    PC gamers are biggest jokers
    wanna play BF3 run origin
    wanna play L4D run steam
    wanna play Diablo run B.net
    net down can’t play game LMAO
    hahahahah can’t stop laughing at PC losers

    #6 3 years ago
  7. GrimRita

    @5 Until Valve/Steam abuse their position, they will always remain the number 1 DD service for PC gaming. Lets not forget EA and the whole Spygate saga with their shitty Origin service.

    How they pulled their titles from Steam and then decided to attempt(and failed) to blame Valve for it, only cemented my hatred for their offering and as such, didnt buy BF3 and any future games released only on Origin.

    The truth is, Origin HAS and continues to abuse its position by selling DD games at stupid prices – BF3 was £40, Digital Deluxe versions – £70+. So if you want to blame someone for shafting the competition – look at EAs doorstep first.

    Calling Origin a competitor to Steam must be the joke of 2012. It cant compete with any features offered by Steam. If Origin had some neat design features or community tools, then fine but it doesnt. You cant even call it a service – it does fuck all apart from sell over priced games.

    That day will never come because Steam is always evolving and if it wasnt for Valve/Steam believing in the PC as a format, the PC gamer would be fucked.

    Every day on VG247 you see stories of how Steam helped Indie titles sell thousands of copies, returning a decent profit. So if Indies like it, main stream like it, and importantly, the players like it, it must be doing something right.

    #7 3 years ago
  8. TheBlackHole

    “How they pulled their titles from Steam and then decided to attempt(and failed) to blame Valve for it”

    Valve want 30% of every game sale, plus 30% of any associated DLC or microtransactions related to those accounts, whether sold on Steam or not. This is partly why Minecraft is not on Steam, btw. THAT is why EA pulled out. Also, Valve spent 10 years not allowing their titles to be sold via other digital retailers, and only now have it in limited places, so that’s really not a point you can push as a negative against EA.

    “Origin HAS and continues to abuse its position by selling DD games at stupid prices – BF3 was £40, Digital Deluxe versions – £70+.

    All EA games are available via other digital distributors at much cheaper prices – GamersGate, Green Man, D2D, Metaboli… there’s no reason to ever pay EA direct. That’s like buying full price titles from GAME rather than looking online for a cheaper alternatives.

    “It cant compete with any features offered by Steam.”

    Of course not, but then if you remember when Steam was a year old, it was also pretty fucking awful. Ten years of development and R&D is a pretty big head start.

    “Every day on VG247 you see stories of how Steam helped Indie titles sell thousands of copies, returning a decent profit.”

    And every day you DON’T hear about the discussions publishers have about whether or not to put their games on Steam. It’s not always that they want to, they HAVE to, otherwise they simply won’t sell enough copies. They don’t want to give away their users to Steam – giving up customers to a competitor service is suicide, but Steam’s sheer size makes it a necessity.

    I’m not stupid enough to suggest Steam isn’t a brilliant, innovative, groundbreaking service. Much like Google though, it’s the biggest because it’s the best, but it has such a grip on its relative market that no competitor can even begin to compete.

    It IS a monopoly. Epitomised by the fact that almost all other third party digital retailers sell STEAM KEYS, meaning even when Steam isn’t the retailer of choice, they still end up with a new user and % of revenue.

    #8 3 years ago
  9. GrimRita

    @8 Publishers dont have to. If they dont like the terms on Steam, as you claim are 30%, they could go elsewhere.

    The probable reason why they dont is because Steam is more than just a store, its a community and a fantastic one at that. Sure, sometimes I see games that cost more then they do on Amazon but again, I dont mind paying a bit more for a decent service and thus far, Steam delivers on all counts.

    Personally, it all reminds me of the music industry blaming the pirates for downloading music, killing the industry off – then along came itunes and showed that people WILL pay for the music THEY want, not the shit shoved down their throats by out of touch marketing departments.

    The same is true of the PC games industry and Steam. Retailers and publishers were all quick to kick the PC in the bollocks when the truth of the matter was, Steam was growing proving all the idiots out there wrong.

    Now, that Steam have built a solid business, others are quick to slate it. Like I said earlier, until they abuse their position in the market, Steam will ALWAYS be the only DD service I use and if publishers arent on it, thats their problem.

    #9 3 years ago
  10. Panda

    @6#

    hahahahah Console gamers are biggest jokers
    wanna play Diablo 3 on console? can’t
    wanna play any mods on console? can’t
    wanna play any strategy game on console? can’t
    wanna play next gen games on full resolution? can’t
    net down? can’t play game
    Server hacked, credit card details gone –>priceless

    hahahahah can’t stop laughing at Console losers

    -_-

    #10 3 years ago
  11. back_up

    @10
    MR POO

    diablo 3 game requires online connection to play even SP LMAO

    #11 3 years ago
  12. Erthazus

    @11, True and your PS3 does not require anything because it can’t play Diablo III at all.

    SCHWING!

    #12 3 years ago
  13. back_up

    @12
    false diablo 3 might come to PS3 as blizzard said might be not but whatever

    i can say same for Uncharted series PC version

    point is why the hell people need internet connection to play SP ?

    schwing!

    #13 3 years ago
  14. Panda

    @13 Hey smart arse

    Blizzard is one of the few publishers who are exclusively releasing on PC platform.
    They probably develop good add ons like LOD first. No one will hassle about PS3 release!!!!

    Swing

    #14 3 years ago
  15. Talkar

    @14
    Blizzard once developed for consoles, it is only the most recent titles that didn’t release on any consoles, which may or may not be the case with a PS3 version of D3 ;)

    #15 3 years ago
  16. DSB

    @8 1) Minecraft isn’t on Steam because it’s one of very few games that doesn’t need retail support. As far as I know, the only third parties used to distribute Minecraft is Google, Apple and Microsoft on Android, I/OS and 360.

    And that’s because those platforms aren’t open.

    There are very few games you can say that about.

    2) Steam hasn’t been ethical in the way they sell their products either, but two wrongs do not make a right, and since Steam is peoples preferred client, you’re not going to make people happy by excluding it from your chain of supply.

    30% is nothing compared to brick and mortar, and I’m guessing that if anyone is offering a better deal, it’s because they have to, to compete.

    3) How hard is it to implement those features? We’re not talking about rocket science. It may have taken Steam half a decade to really bring the service into it’s own, but that can’t possibly be a reason why Origin apparently needs the same amount of time to rip off those ideas.

    -

    I don’t disagree with the last part. A market where corporations focus on their needs before the consumers certainly won’t do any of us any favors, but sadly that’s how a lot of executives minds work these days.

    A corporation is a fortress within society, not an active part of it.

    But that’s also handing another advantage over to Steam. As a private company, they can do everything those executives think they can’t. Gabe Newell is easily worth more than Bobby Kotick and John Ricitiello.

    Maybe it wouldn’t be a terrible idea for them to learn a thing or two.

    #16 3 years ago

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