GAMING BLEND

EA Says Origin Needs Two Years To Catch Fire

By William Usher 2012-02-17 13:30:51 discussion comments
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Electronic Arts' COO, Peter Moore, recently revealed in an interview that despite all the criticism, hate and naysaying, EA's Origin service is just getting started and that in two years time they will be rocking and rolling.

The interview comes courtesy of Kotaku, where Moore explicitly states...
"I don't think you see the initial level of vitriol," ... "And I've been in gaming long enough [that I know that] if you try to add something that's different, and particularly if you add the layer that it's EA and everything that goes with it."

"It's one of those things where I would ask give us 18 months to two years. And if we sit here two years from now, start looking at it then. I think the ability to have your own direct platform with the consumer is going to be very important in the digital world going forward."

What Moore doesn't state is that the hate for Origin wasn't that it was new (digital distribution has been around for a long while now) and what Origin offers isn't anything us gamers can't already get from Impulse, Direct2Drive, GamersGate or Steam, it's that there was a lot of hidden language that works against consumers, such as losing entitlements with two years of inactivity, or the fact that Origin really is spyware by every definition of the word, or that you can lose access to paid content from forum bans, or the fact that Origin isn't even a new service to begin with.

And yes, Origin is not new. EA has been using a digital distributor for a while just under different names, it originated with the EA Downloader in 2005 and then eventually it became the EA Link back in 2006, after a lot of consumer dissatisfaction EA changed the name to the EA Store and from there it became Origin. In other words, Peter Moore is wrong, EA has had seven years to get the vitriol tempered.

One thing that hasn't changed in those seven years is EA's treatment of their consumers...they still see gamers as cash cows and unlike Valve, gamers begrudgingly support EA because they publish good games not because they appreciate what the company does for the industry or gamers.

Moore tried to further support his argument, saying...
"If you go back and dust off the transcripts of when Steam first came out, it had the same reaction. People didn't like it. You were obligated."

"[Valve] provided, over the years - to Gabe and the team's credit - value to the gamer. Those first 12 months were very rocky."

"We need to continue to add social layers so there is value to the consumer,"..."so it doesn't feel like, in their words, 'something that is mandatory that I don't want.'"

Yes well, there is a huge difference between 12 months and seven years. Any savvy PC user knows EA's track record and there in lies the problem.

Also, a lot of people still don't like Steam (myself included) for the mandatory presence it has on the end-user's PC. However, I do respect Valve for offering a service that isn't just about making it easy and convenient for gamers to purchase the games they want, Steam also works as an excellent platform to promote, and develop the independent community, something EA hasn't even bothered doing during the seven years of operating their digital distribution platform.

In fact, if you look on Origin right now, there isn't a host of cheap indie titles that most gamers don't already know about. The indie titles that are there seem to either be published by EA or are already top sellers elsewhere. Games like Sol: Exodus, Pinapple Smash Crew or Brawl Busters are no where to be seen.

Again, EA has had seven years to get ahead of the trend (or at least buck trends) but that doesn't really seem to be their goal. In fact, they plan to branch Origin out to become a Social Network of sorts, following in the footsteps of Facebook and MySpace.

If Origin doesn't catch fire in that two year time span Moore outlined, I'm curious what EA's excuse will be then?
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