Origin Sets Up Stall For Crowd-Funded Games

By Adam Smith on May 21st, 2012 at 6:00 pm.

EA understand indie games, they really do, that’s why they have their very own indie bundle. They also understand crowd-funding, or at least they understand that it’s becoming a force that they must reckon with, one way or another. This could go one of two ways. Either Kickstarter HQ is about to be breached by corporate assault drones, or all the profits from FIFA 13 will be pledged to the Kick it Forward scheme. Or perhaps there is a third way. Perhaps EA will waive its cut of sales on Origin for 90 days if the game in question was crowd-funded.

In case it wasn’t clear, it is the third option they’ve gone with. If a crowd-funded game is made available on Origin, EA won’t take any cut of the profits for the first 90 days after release. While the usual percentage of revenue claimed by EA isn’t known, the industry standard is around 30%, so the profits saved could amount to a considerable sum.

That’s especially true for Kickstarter projects that have been in development for a long time and have a readymade fanbase, who are likely to buy sooner rather than later. That said, it’s also important to remember that a lot of the sales from those following projects have already been made, given that making a pledge often involves paying for a copy in advance.

Edge notice that Brian Fargo has already taken EA up on the offer.

I have had a long relationship with EA and it is great to see them recognise and support the crowd-funded games model. Having Origin waive their distribution fees for 90 days for fan-funded games is a major economic bonus for small developers. We look forward to bringing Wasteland 2 to the Origin audience.

Most of the Kickstarter projects I’ve looked at promise to deliver a DRM-free version of the finished game to those using their pledge as a preorder and, perhaps stupidly, I hadn’t thought about how those copies would be distributed. Straight from the developer, I assumed, and then making ever more of an ass out of you and me, I further assumed that anybody buying post-release would also be able to buy straight from the developer as well. Hopefully this sort of thing won’t change that.

Is this a case of EA reasoning that if it can’t be the publisher, it might as well try to be the distributor? An acknowledgement that these projects, many of which were pitched to and rejected by major publishers, are now worth changing the rules for?

It’s another step in Origin’s search for an identity other than ‘EA Marketplace’ and perhaps a sign that the idea of Tim Schafer sailing a yacht made out of money toward a private island made out of money has not gone unnoticed by those on the mainland who once had control of the ports.

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127 Comments »

  1. ZIGS says:

    Any cake EA gets a glimpse of, they instantly want a slice

    • crazydane says:

      The best way to stop them would be to convince them that the valve dominated online distribution cake is a lie.

    • Eddy9000 says:

      Oh for god’s sake, really? You’re really going to criticise EA for offering this really good incentive to indie start-ups?

      • Nesetalis says:

        It’s just another bandwagon. Another way for them to capitalize on consumers. Its not stupid of them, but its facepalm worthy. Always late to the game, always doing it badly. EA hasn’t done anything original in over a decade. (Whatever company they randomly purchased and enslaved “this week” doesn’t count.)

  2. Ninja Foodstuff says:

    I don’t get it. What’s the punchline?

    • veelckoo says:

      “Greedy Wars. Empire Strikes Back”

      • skittles says:

        lol how is it greedy taking a cut. The games will have to be distributed somehow, giving a cheap option for developers could hardly be deemed greedy. Although if the developer had to then sign an agreement that their crowd-funded game could ONLY be distributed via Origin, that would be greedy. Check those terms closely people =P.

        • aystiauw says:

          http://investor.activision.com/stockquote.cfm
          Indie games help bulk up Steam so that there always something new on the store page, and keeps up the repeat visitor count that a online store depends on.

        • Bishop says:

          Wow, just got fooled by the ad bot. Impressive, but I also only saw the website for about 0.2 of a second before closing it. What a waste of effort.

    • Trixie says:

      The punchline is that it’s a sound business decision.

      They generate goodwill, grow their online distribution business, and take a leap into the online distribution of indie games (a segment in which their service is lacking as compared to competitors). What they’re saying is that they’re willing to pay the costs for those free 90 days of distribution for each Kickstarter project that wants in because they expect that this will help Origin generate more profits in the future.

      It’s an awfully nice thing to do and EA should be commended for it, just like they should criticized when they do things you might not like (on-disk DLC, for instance).

      • lijenstina says:

        It is a sound proposition if there is no exclusivity clauses attached to it – so the developers can release their game on other digital distributions or redraw the game from the EA service at any time with clearly defined conditions about fees and compensations without some obfuscated legal hoops to jump through. Anyway, the contract should be examined carefully ( like always).

  3. HoosTrax says:

    Or, alternatively, if you want to support the developers 100%, just “preorder” it from Kickstarter to begin with since it’s the same thing and avoids the Origin need.

    • jimjam says:

      I agree. Pre order the game & get the DRM version free & you don’t need to install Origin onto your PC.

      From what I can see its simply a case of EA trying to get more people to install Origin onto their PCs.
      That’s what Valve did ages ago (I managed to avoid it for 7 years & then got tricked into installing steam & now I live with it)
      Remember once you have a DRM distribution platform (Steam/Origin, Windows Live) on your PC its difficult NOT to use it to get your copy of BF4 etc.

      • skittles says:

        I would not be so set on the idea that it is going to be DRM free. I find it interesting the amount of developers who consider Steam distribution DRM free. So simply because you ‘preordered’ on Kickstarter and it was stated DRM free, do realise this does not necessarily mean you won’t be getting the game via Steam – or for that matter Origin.

        • Emeraude says:

          I find it interesting the amount of developers who consider Steam distribution DRM free.

          Same. And I’d love to know how they came to think that way.

          • MadTinkerer says:

            To say that Steam = DRM is to be ignorant of the facts. I was about to explain those facts to you guys, but I smell troll.

          • malkav11 says:

            To say that Steam = DRM is to make a perfectly factual statement. It is also a lot of other things, which most DRM is not.

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          • Premium User Badge

            jrodman says:

            Come on now people.

            Steam is a digital distribution system.
            Steam comes with an optional, built-in lightweight DRM system that not all games make use of.
            There are some titles distributed by Steam that do not use its DRM system and can be externally launched without any use of steam. Granted, they are a minority.

            So Steam has a DRM system, but to say it IS a drm system is a bit shy of a bullseye. To say it is not a DRM system by contrast is a bit misleading.

    • sneetch says:

      100%? Most of the kickstarters I’ve seen are offering Steam keys and I don’t really believe that Steam keys are free for kickstarter projects.

      I find it hard to believe that Steam (or any other company) will take over the responsibility for providing access to games and patches and receive nothing in return, it is a business after all.

    • Trixie says:

      You do understand that they still need distribution platforms, right? How else will they get the product to the people who backed the Kickstarter? Kickstarter itself is not a games distribution service– it’s just a crowdfunding site. They could host it on their own servers, but then they have to deal with distribution when they are primarily small devleopment teams. It’s a lot easier to outsource the distribution to people who know how to do it and have the systems in place to do it already. The obvious thing to do is to get as many distributors on board as possible. If you have 5 distributors it doesn’t matter if your customer refuses to use 4 of them.

    • Halbarad says:

      Steam is DRM, that’s a simple fact. Even customers can’t seem to accept that Steam is DRM.

      DRM is just a way of managing digital content and ensuring access to certain digital content is done correctly. Steam is and always will be DRM because it manages the rights of each account to different digital content.

      I know it’s DRM and I still love it. I have over a thousand games on steam. I also use other DRM such as Origin, Desura, Impulse – whichever. I’m not a simple person who thinks that you should be loyal to one company, a company has never shown loyalty to me.

  4. Ignorant Texan says:

    Three words – “The”, “Next” and “Minecraft”.

  5. mlstrum says:

    I sincerely hope Wasteland 2 will not become an Origin exclusive. I pledged wholeheartedly for that game and I’d feel backstabbed if they went there.

    At least the official statement for the moment is of versatile platforms and not going to the monolithic EA exclusively. (source: http://wasteland.inxile-entertainment.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=23&t=2180)

    • Beelzebud says:

      Fargo has already stated a few times that Wasteland 2 is NOT an Origin exclusive.

      • DazedByTheHaze says:

        Not exclusive regarding the place it can be bought? We aint givin a shit where we have to buy it, what we care about is wether or not we have to startup fucking origin every time we play the game? I played BF3 for a while, because you know, I’m an oldshool shooter guy and wanted to check out the dankest graphics engine. My Account-Email goes like this “killorigin.youassholes@gmail.com” ….

        • Toberoth says:

          “We aint givin a shit where we have to buy it, what we care about is wether or not we have to startup fucking origin every time we play the game?”

          Don’t be absurd.

          • Toberoth says:

            Also you really stuck it to the man with that email address, you rebel.

        • Ironclad says:

          So your line of thinking is people’ll be able to buy it from steam, but they’ll have to use Origin to play it?

          That’s just all kinds of stupid.

          • Xocrates says:

            Maybe not Steam, but when I bought Shank 2 from Gamersgate I was required to use Origin to play it.

          • Ironclad says:

            @Xocrates:

            I’ve bought games from gamersgate that required Steam others that required Origin. I don’t see the difference/point?

          • jimjam says:

            It is stupid but its been happening already. e.g Get either of the new Batman games on steam only to find I have to load up windows live as well!

          • Xocrates says:

            @ironclad: There isn’t one. I misunderstood what you were saying. So just ignore what I said.

          • malkav11 says:

            Steam is a hell of a lot better designed and more functional than Origin. But there’s no difference in -principle-.

        • aldo_14 says:

          dankest superlative of dank
          Adjective: Disagreeably damp, musty, and typically cold.

          You wanted to play the mustiest graphics engine?

          • alundra says:

            He could also just be looking to try the highly potent marijuana engine.

    • subedii says:

      It would be kind of hard to be Origin exclusive when they’re planning on rolling out the early access beta on Steam. Because Steam actually has pretty good functionality (and a lot of previous examples) when it comes to those kinds of things.

  6. Nim says:

    I’m ok with EA being a distributor, but not the distributor.

    • Benny says:

      This. Choice is the prerogative, and if EA are making their platform viable for things like this it’s only a good thing. Well, until you get a forum ban and get locked out of all your content. But surely that’s a thing of the past now. Right?

      • subedii says:

        Why don’t you post that on the EA forums and find out? :P

        • Premium User Badge

          liquidsoap89 says:

          For his safety I’m going to vote against that… Some things are best left unanswered.

      • jimjam says:

        Lol, thats not really a big problem just don’t use the forums!

    • Enikuo says:

      I can’t help but think that it would be bad for both consumers and future crowd-sourcing if “Origin-exclusive” was the catch.

    • Premium User Badge

      Trinnet says:

      Agreed, as long as we don’t start seeing the words “origin exclusive”, it feels like everybody wins:

      Origin gets more adopters and a cut of the sales after the first three months. Developers get a distribution platform which doesn’t charge them for three months, and customers get a download service which will still be there in the event that one of these plucky little startups goes bankrupt in a couple of years.

  7. Beelzebud says:

    So they don’t want to fund these games, just exploit them after 90 days? Screw EA.

    • Brun says:

      I don’t get how that’s any different from what Steam does. It doesn’t fund most of the games on its store in any way, yet still exploits them in exactly the same way.

      Don’t get me wrong, I’m not defending EA or Origin, but this is hardly a valid criticism.

      • Koshinator says:

        Especially since brick and mortar stores take an even larger cut of sales when compared to the digital retailers.

      • kaffis says:

        There are differences, both subtle and not-subtle.

        More than a few developers have commented on how Steam’s cut is actually noticeably less than other publishers, for starters. Of course, since their contracts prevent them from speaking openly about actual numbers, that’s difficult to gauge or verify except to note that multiple sources have made corroborating claims.

        In addition, Steam offers much better advertisement for quality products as part of their package than Origin, which can be huge for a small developer who gets selected to be featured.

        Finally, Steam works with developers to create their famous sales, which do wonders for driving long tails to keep expanding the market and revenue for a game long after release — a benefit for both Steam and the developers. The customers make out like bandits on this one, too.

        • Brun says:

          All of that is just differences in scale – I never said Steam wouldn’t be a better choice. My point was specifically in response to the original post. Steam doesn’t fund every game on its store, but it does take a cut from all of them.

          • Aemony says:

            @Brun: Where did the OP even mention Steam? Food for thought…

          • Brun says:

            It was an example. The OP was criticizing Origin for allegedly “exploiting games without funding them” – something that Steam also does, if distribution counts as exploitation without funding, as the OP implies.

          • Ragnar says:

            The difference is that Valve is not a publisher, while EA is a publisher. Thus, Brian Fargo may have gone to EA saying “Would you publish Wasteland 2?” and been denied, but not so with Valve as they only publish their own games.

            This is still a win-win for EA and indies, but I need another digital distribution service like I need a hole in the head.

  8. mr.ioes says:

    90 days? That sounds quite generous.
    I bet there’s a catch in it.

    • HoosTrax says:

      Don’t be ridiculous. The cake is totally free. (it’s loaded with mind control chemicals is all…)

      Hopefully they won’t be stupid enough to cave to EA’s desires and integrate Origin into the game like the makers of Warp and Gatling Gears did.

      • TormDK says:

        Why not? People cheer when games use Steamworks integration?

        I haven’t had any issues with the Origin overlay in the games where it is activated. It works just as well as the Steam version.

        • mlstrum says:

          It’s really a difference of mentality. Valve has a “community first” attitude while EA has a “money first” attitude. The hard bottom line is the same: they both want money, but Valve does it by giving what its community wants while EA takes the money by whatever means it deems fit.

          Simple as that. That’s why Valve is so popular with a loyal customer base while most of EA’s customers feel ripped off at one time or another and buys their title reluctantly since they actually own some pretty good IPs. Valve goes the extra mile.

          The devil is in the details!

        • CaspianRoach says:

          Not true, Origin overlay works worse than the Steam one. I’ve had it freeze and completely close (shutting down the game you’re in because of it) in Mass Effect 3 just because I’d press the overlay button combination. Their chat is worse than Steam’s (multilingual problems, bad chatlog spacing, notifications that get cut off to one line of 30 symbols or so) and there isn’t much else to the overlay than this. There’s just friend list, chat and the store to buy DLC. Compare it to Valve’s browser, local time, screenshot manager, achievement manager, group chats, voice chat, quicklinks to forums for the game that open up in the overlay and say with a straight face that Origin works as well as Steam overlay. They need to develop it for quite some more time before it becomes a true competitor in terms of features and stability. Autoshutting your game down because you pressed on “Invite a friend” button and that called up overlay and it crashed completely is not okay.

          • Premium User Badge

            liquidsoap89 says:

            I seem to recall the Origin overlay having a browser in it. And I’ve also had the steam overlay crash on me. In fact just yesterday it crashed when I tried to watch a video on youtube while I was playing the Witcher.

          • Premium User Badge

            liquidsoap89 says:

            “But you could have just watched that video on your normal browser on one of your other monitors not doing anything” someone might say…

            Well I say “POPPYCOCK!” to that! That browser is there to be USED, and USE IT I shall!

            And when I DO use it… It damn well better be able to work under whatever intensive tests I throw at it!

          • Aemony says:

            @liquidsoap89: Blame Flash, as it’s the Flash plugin you installed which most likely crashed and brought down the whole overlay with it.

            IMHO, Valve should really just disable the Flash plugin all together in the overlay browser. It might work a couple of times, but it sure has a tendency to go down fast and take the whole overlay with it.

          • TormDK says:

            So because *you’ve* had an issue surely Origin Overlay must suck?

            I can’t count the number of times the Steam client has messed up due to the Flash integration, but I can count the number of times Origin has messed up – because it rarely happens and I play EA games quite a bit. (Mostly BF3 and ME3)

          • Artificial says:

            I’ve never had a problem with Origins overlay, but I’ve had several problems with Steams overlay…

            …probably because I uninstalled Origin after about 20mins of the BF3 beta.

        • Emeraude says:

          Why not? People cheer when games use Steamworks integration?

          Some do. Others, like me, are livid.

    • subedii says:

      There’s no great conspiracy to figure out. EA are serious (at least it would seem at the moment) in positioning Origin as a viable platform and an alternative to Steam.

      To that end, they need to attract developers to publish their games.Leaving aside the major titles (which EA is already making headway on), Steam has already become a pretty big haven for the indie games that companies like EA would have previously cautiously sidestepped on the way to the bank as if it were dog-mess. Asking for a fiver.

      Those games are a pretty big market in themselves on Steam today, overall they attract a good amount of people.

      So how to attract indie devs now? Now that they want them, and that it would expand their portfolio? This is a simple way of doing it.

      There doesn’t need to be an inherent catch outside of what they’re saying, EA is aiming to get more games on the system. That’s their objective here. Even if you assume that EA’s looking to mess them over somehow later on, then what? That would only scare away prospective developers faster than Microsoft ever has with its Live restrictions.

      • Premium User Badge

        Eleven says:

        There’s also a “Schedule filling” effect. Steam has a sale every weekend to ensure that people repeatedly visit and that checking for new games becomes a habit. This would be difficult with only major publishers, there simply wouldn’t be enough games in a year to keep people coming back.

        Indie games help bulk up Steam so that there always something new on the store page, and keeps up the repeat visitor count that a online store depends on.

      • Shuck says:

        Yeah, Steam has already agreed to distribute the alphas (that are exclusively for the backers) for some of these Kickstarter funded games. Origin is realizing they need both the audience and the goodwill that comes from being a part of this whole thing and that it’ll help build them up as a distribution platform to compete with Steam. Not to mention, they’re adding games that have proven their appeal before they were even made, and which have already done a fair amount of marketing. I’m surprised more distributors aren’t falling over themselves to offer similar deals for Kickstarted games because they actually offer a lot of values for the distributors, reversing the usual dynamics.

  9. CorruptBadger says:

    So, EA want us to fund their games now? I seriously think EA don’t have a fucking clue as to how the market operates.

  10. Brun says:

    I’m somewhat suspicious as there doesn’t seem to be much in this for EA other than increasing the number of Origin installs. However, until more details emerge my conclusion is that this isn’t really a bad thing. It’s a move by EA purely as a distributor, not as a developer or publisher, which I’m totally fine with.

    • Torgen says:

      Well, if they DO manage to snag the next Minecraft, it sure as hell won’t stop selling after the first 90 days. Usually it takes time for an indie game to build enough buzz for sales to really take off, doesn’t it, unlike the AAA games where millions are spent building awareness pre-release?

      • Shuck says:

        Yeah, you’re right. They probably wouldn’t even be giving up a cut of all that many sales in the grand scheme of things.

    • Premium User Badge

      LTK says:

      It looks to be a pretty smart move. Developers get free distribution on Origin for 90 days, and EA gets to distribute games that are already popular, or at least popular enough to get funded. I think that’s the trade-off EA is making: Lose the profits of the first 90 days, but keep the distribution fees for the duration of the game’s life. And, maybe even more importantly, get more games on Origin.

      It’s sort of like those cell phone plans where you get a discount for the first year of the plan, and then a regular price for the following year or two, only in this case neither the developers or EA is paying out of their own pocket.

      • whatisvalis says:

        This definitely seems like a grab for more Origin adopters, which is cool as long as it doesn’t result in exclusivity.

        • Shuck says:

          Luckily I think the nature of Kickstarter being what it is would preclude games funded there from being Origin exclusives – backers wouldn’t stand for it.

  11. Monkey says:

    And the mindless EA bashing begins in earnest….

    Its a good idea though, and proof that we need competition within digital distribution of games.

    And screw EA, for a reason i’m not quite sure of

    • Premium User Badge

      Biscuitry says:

      The reason has generally been, in the past, that Origin’s EULA reserves the right to send any information it feels like about your computer and what’s on it to EA. Anyone know if that clause has been changed?

      • TormDK says:

        If you are refering to the german EULA “situation”, then yes – the EULA was changed.

    • Artificial says:

      You’re right competition is usually good, although in most cases with EA, it’s not. Rather than doing more for the customer – like Valve might do, EA would typically think up new schemes to trick cosumers out of their money.

  12. Lemming says:

    All these games are getting released on GoG and Steam already anyway, and you can’t buy from Origin if you have a Mac or Linux as far as I know, so by all means let devs put it on Origin as well for free.

    I doubt they’ll see many sales on there though…

    I’d be interested to see those contracts, however. What happens after the 90 days? EA get a cut I assume, or is the waved fee just for the initial distribution? Will EA get a cut for each sale from day 1? I’d love to know.

    The thing I find hard to swallow is that EA is probably one of the companies that shot down these game ideas in the first place driving them to Kickstarter. Whether this ultimately benefits the developers or not, it leaves a rather nasty taste in the mouth.

    • Brun says:

      Well I think the idea is that EA only takes its cut on sales that occur after that 90 days has elapsed, so any sales within that 90-day window are “free” to the developer. Seems pretty straightforward.

  13. Premium User Badge

    ffordesoon says:

    I hate Origin and tend to put absolutely no faith in EA, but I’m not a lunatic. Unless there’s some hidden “We own your soul now, tee hee!” clause in the contract (which, you know, there might be, but I’d hope the Worst Company In America would be trying to win its customers back), this is a win-win for everybody.

    Try telling that to some of the people on the Wasteland 2 boards, though.

  14. Jimbo says:

    EA have good reasons for doing so (PR, goodwill, beating Steam to the punch, potentially backing Steam into a difficult position), but I still don’t understand how any of that somehow makes them the bad guy here.

    They’re offering free use of their distribution channel for 3 months. Nobody has to accept the offer, but it’s a pretty good deal.

    • Premium User Badge

      RobF says:

      To be fair, without seeing a contract I wouldn’t be in much of a hurry to claim it is a good deal. PR is PR, business is business and 90 days might be wonderful but who knows what lurks deep within the contract that they may refuse to budge on.

      AFAIK, there’s very few digital distro contracts that don’t need some work. (I believe Steam is one of them but a lot of Steam stuff is developer-centric anyway so that’s no surprise)

      • Jimbo says:

        I suppose I should have said ‘based on what we know’. It’s possible there’s some catch we don’t know about, but I don’t think there needs to be one in this case for this offer to make sense for EA – even taking it at face value it still makes sense for EA.

        I read it more as “we can’t just stand by and watch Steam become the de facto distributor for Kickstarter games”. This is intended as a handful of sand in Valve’s face and a halo over EA’s head. If Valve had made this offer first, Gabe would be crowd-surfing on this comments thread by now, so it’s nice to see EA being proactive instead of reactive for a change. **

        • Premium User Badge

          RobF says:

          No, definitely, there doesn’t have to be one but there’s a lot of odd stuff that comes when you’ve got a corp attempting to compete with the dominant platform and being a bit grabby with the other hand is often part and parcel of that as standard. It might come in the shape of timed exclusives, pricing, sales, requiring preorders whatever. Logic states that it’d be sensible not to do any of that or put you in a less attractive position but that’s logic, not business. All often hinge around the idea they’re doing you a favour and you need them.

          Steam get good press from developers precisely because it’s a no fuss, no bullshit engagement and to a degree (when they do speak to you ;)) a two way arrangement. Something that as far as I know (happy to be proved wrong for obvious reasons) no other -major- digital distro offers the same freedoms

          I mean, I doubt they’ll hit console-levels of PITA anyway but still, this is PR and wisest to treat it as such rather than a gift horse or magic slice of wonderment from EA. It’s meant to entice but it says nothing beyond “come into our room” and who knows what they’ll be wearing when you get under the sheets with them.

  15. Hug_dealer says:

    This is a huge boon for the kickstarting platform. It will get Indie developers a much easier place to distribute the game along with getting a good deal, and more notice from the public.

    Don’t think for one moment that 90% of PC gamers know about most small indie games. You truly do have to look for them. I only recently found out about Legend of eisenwald just before the kickstarter started up. By accident, even though i absolutely love those kinds games.

    This is a win for everyone. Absolutely everyone, no exceptions. Well i guess steam would be the loser here, because steam would never allow for something like that.

    • subedii says:

      Maybe they would. Or maybe they’d do something else completely. Who knows.

      There’s always been a vocal segment raging against steam, going “RAAARGH STEAMSAMONOPOLYEVIL” whilst never bothering pause and consider that that

      a) There’s always been competition to Steam, and

      b) The reason Steam is where it is today (which is to a large extent, being the industry standard DD store and community system) is because it typically offers the best system / deal for the parties concerned.

      So here it is. A new challenger to provide competition. And if they offer something genuinely good that other services don’t (like Steam), then aforesaid other services will need to adapt.

      If a company with the resources of EA is serious, genuinely serious and committed to investing in Origin and making it a real competitor to Steam (unlike MS, who basically talked about how much they LOVED the PC gaming market and how awesome GFWL was, but essentially did not much at all.), then Origin can only remain a mediocre service for so long. If they put effort into it, it will get better.

      And then people can stop being idiots and spouting about how Steam’s an evil monopoly (this isn’t something I’m saying you’re doing. I just hear that one a fair amount). The reason Steam’s got the lions share of DD is because most of the other services are, well, mediocre-to-bad. I’d rather wait for a good competitor to come about than yell that we shouldn’t be shopping there. And hey, Origin, if done right, might be it.

      It could of course, flop big time like GFWL has. But unlike MS, I suspect EA’s more committed to this.

      • Emeraude says:

        a) Steam is a de facto monopoly.

        b) Some of us don’t want more competition. We want the whole premise neutered. All I ask from Steam and it’s competitors is being able to totally ignore them while keeping access to games.

        • subedii says:

          a) No it isn’t. It really isn’t. There are games that I can get elsewhere that I can’t get on Steam. There are even exclusivity deals that put games on other services first before they get put on Steam.

          b) Someone needs to distribute games. Unless you’re asking for every developer to have their own store and own system. Which isn’t likely, and more importantly, is only going to result in fewer sales for all parties involved.

          And if it’s DRM you’re concerned with, then that’s GOG.com

          • Emeraude says:

            Despite what the European Commission said, Microsoft wasn’t in a position of de facto monopoly ! You could always use Linux and FreeBSD and those had some programs you couldn’t find in Windows !

            I’m not even going to try and go into defining de facto and when it should start to apply, I’m tired of doing so, let’s say we disagree (whether we agree to or not).

            As for DRM, yes that is a major problem – probably the main for many, and GoG is doing things decently – though their game catalog is sadly lacking, preventing them from being a viable alternative.

          • subedii says:

            Well when the EU declares that Steam is a monopoly, I’ll consider giving the argument some credit. But for the time being at least, Steam is not distributed with every computer, it has not taken actions to sabotage the competition, and it is not so powerful that other DD marketplaces have been prevented from being viable, from starting up, or even from becoming successful. If that was the case, GOG.com wouldn’t exist, and we wouldn’t even be discussing Origin right now.

            As for GOG.com, nothing’s preventing them from being a “viable alternative” except publishers and their attitudes.

            You see, I have GOG.com as my preferred platform as well. I bought Assassin’s Creed and Alan Wake when they became available on there. What has to change isn’t Steam, it’s companies objecting to the idea of a lack of DRM.

          • Brun says:

            Well when the EU declares that Steam is a monopoly, I’ll consider giving the argument some credit.

            Hah! What a joke. The EU considers every widely successful American technology company to be a monopoly. I wouldn’t trust their judgement on what is and isn’t a monopoly further than I could throw it.

          • Emeraude says:

            I find all the point you raise debatable, but the debate would be pointless.

            Let me just reiterate: I have nothing against Steam’s existence per see. What I object to is the walled-garden architecture concept it’s promoting. As long as I am not forced to use it, I don’t mind it (and if its service proposition value happens to be so great, why force me to use it ?)

            When it happens to be one of the DRM tools of choice used by publishers, I’m going to be violently against it, as much as I’m going to be against the publishers that make use of it.

            I vilify Steam the same way I vilify Securom.

      • Hug_dealer says:

        Sorry, Steam stopped being a developer and player friendly platform when they started demanding that all DLC sold for a game, whether map packs, or missions or F2P purchases, be sold through steam so that steam can get their greed on.

        Thats why we see EA games not appearing on Steam, but other retailers are selling them. Steam demanded that Mass effect and Crysis DLC be sold through steam, instead of whatever service EA decided for their own game.

        Sorry that puts a bad taste in my mouth. Because Steam wouldnt let EA sell BF3 on their service. Steam cost themselves sales, some customers never got to buy the game. All because steam demands a share of the $15 map packs.

        • subedii says:

          I’ve seen this touted constantly, but never really backed up. And it can’t be backed up because nobody’s ever seen the contracts and whatever clause that EA claims to object to.

          But let’s assume it’s right. Steam requires that if you’re going to sell your game on the service, you make the DLC available on there too. Aaaand… what?

          I’m not seeing how that’s evil I’m afraid. You can still gain access to the DLC elsewhere if you want (despite what you say), this is not an exclusivity issue. It’s an issue of preventing people from selling a small fragment of the game on the biggest service in order to give it visibility, and then forcing all the actual money-making content elsewhere (and this becomes more important as time goes on and games become more micro-transaction / DLC based).

          I’m genuinely not certain why I should object to that. A company (like EA) can refuse to do so, and publish elsewhere if such terms are too restrictive. And they should if they feel it’s not in their benefit. But it’s not in Steam’s benefit as a business to act solely as an advertising front.

          Bluntly, I wouldn’t object to EA saying they require that if you put a game on their service, you agree to put the DLC on there too.

        • Premium User Badge

          RobF says:

          Yeah, I don’t understand why this is a bad thing. It’s an especially good thing for me as I buy things through Steam and don’t want the inconvenience of relying on external storefronts layered on top of another storefront. It means I benefit from Steam price reductions. It means the DLC won’t disappear if the store does.

          Where’s the problem? The DLC isn’t exclusive to Steam, it’s just “if you’re using our storefront, you keep things on our storefront”. Nothing stopping anyone putting the DLC elsewhere for sale also.

          It’s a pro-customer decision to make. If another company wants to start paying pissbladder over it, that’s their right but ultimately, I’m not going to side with the megacorp who says “we can’t do that” when they bloody well could if they wanted to.

          • Artificial says:

            Exactly.. I fail to see how it can put Steam in a negative light. If there’s a game on Steam but then you have to go somewhere else to buy DLC, it makes the customer experience worse for some people.

            I see it as EA being greedy and wanting all of the profit from their DLC rather than letting Steam in on it too, because they know who would sell more of the game and the DLC if it was available on Steam.

        • wu wei says:

          The fewer sites I have to provide with access to my finances, the better.

  16. ghling says:

    Of course EA wants to get that piece of the kickstarter-cake which they think they deserve (well, not quite as it is not 90% of the revenue) and I don’t see why they shouldn’t want that. If the developers of a game want to sell it on origin to make more money, well, they should do it. As long as the game is available on other distribution platforms as well. And as long as the developers understand that for me “origin” equals “DRM” in some way.

    On the other hand, now that the pig is out of the poke every kickstarter project will have to clarify if they will release on origin (at least if they want to do it exclusively) and then will have some problems reaching their funding goal. At least I’d say “available on origin” is one of those things killing peoples interest faster than the speed of light.

  17. Jimbo says:

    I suppose I should have said ‘based on what we know’. It’s possible there’s some catch we don’t know about, but I don’t think there needs to be one in this case for this offer to make sense for EA – even taking it at face value it still makes sense for EA.

    I read it more as “we can’t just stand by and watch Steam become the de facto distributor for Kickstarter games”. This is intended as a handful of sand in Valve’s face and a halo over EA’s head. If Valve had made this offer first, Gabe would be crowd-surfing on this comments thread by now, so it’s nice to see EA being proactive instead of reactive for a change.

  18. Emeraude says:

    Personally have little against it to be honest, as long as Origin, or Steam, or whatever, only remain options., but I can’t but think it’s going to act as a cold shower for many fans.

    One of the assumed promises of the whole Kickstarter movement was that we would finally be able to get rid, or at least bypass, the giants of the industry that so long disregarded us as an audience, and for whom we have little to no trust left.

    Seeing them pop back in just shattered another illusion.

    • Hug_dealer says:

      You are misinformed.

      EA has no say in what and how the game is designed. EA is not funding the game, and has no say in how it is created or released. EA is simply being one of many distributors.

      Kickstarter bypassses the who put a presentation together and going to EA and trying to get funding, only to have EA say, no i want you to do this and this and this with the game and ill think about. In this case, the focus of the game and what the developer and players want is changed, usually in a bad way.

      In the way EA is handling this. EA has no say in how the game is made. They dont get to try to broaden the market appeal of their games. This is exactly what EA has done to bioware, they tell bioware ok make an RPG, but you are going to do this with it, we need more action, we need a new graphical style, we need less complexity. Then you end up with Dragon age 2, SWTOR, and ME3. None of those turned out to be anything more than an average game.

      • Emeraude says:

        I am perfectly understanding EA is just offering to be a distributor.

        All that I’m saying is that seeing EA being brought to the table – in any role, in any respect – is going to have a chilling effect on some of the people that had put some hopes/faith on the Kickstarter front.

        I’m not even pretending this is rational.

        • Hug_dealer says:

          thats true. Idiots are Idiots.

          • Artificial says:

            Not sure how it makes them idiots, I personally don’t touch anything EA does with a bargepole. I don’t want EA to benefit in any way at all from things I do with gaming.

  19. JackDandy says:

    While I have nothing but disdain for EA, I have to admit it’s a pretty smart move on their side.

    As long as it doesn’t hurt the developers, I guess there’s no harm in publishing their stuff on Origin as well.

  20. absolofdoom says:

    I don’t want to deal with Origin, and I don’t want to end up with a bunch of games on there. So if this turns into a bunch of indie games exclusive to Origin, then that’d be a real shame.

  21. Tom Walker says:

    It would be banal and predictable of me to automatically assume that EA would never genuinely want to help independent developers and are only after getting a cut of their profits.

    Unfortunely though, that’s exactly what I think.

  22. Navagon says:

    Well, good for EA. I just hope that others follow Brian Fargo’s lead and have Origin as ONE option available. While I might still get my copy DRM-free I don’t like the idea if others not getting this option too.

  23. BrendanJB says:

    I don’t like EA, but I am not averse to well made distribution platforms offering competition to the likes of Steam. Unfortunately, Origin offers absolutely nothing but a glorified – and cumbersome – desktop of game icons. It’s just an extra layer between me and my game, using unnecessary memory, hdd space, etc.

    If Origin wants to compete with Steam then it needs to at least offer some of the same services. Purchased DLC, serial keys, manuals, latest news feeds, achievements, communities, groups and forums, support, game stats, recommended games, favourites, and so on.

    If it actually offered services I want instead of being a “HEY ME TOO BUY FROM ME” grab at the market, then I might be inclined to use it.

  24. S Jay says:

    I can see EA’s marketing folks signature all over this.

  25. Shooop says:

    Why it’s like they’re doing everything possible to make people look at Origin more favorably. Everything except the one almost everyone really wanted: more limits on their data mining instead of just wording it differently.

  26. kud13 says:

    Anything in which EA is involved is a trap.

    All kickstarter projects that claim to offer a DRm-free version should distribute using GOG.

    I tolerate Steam, because it works well offline for me, and the sales are good.
    I loathe GaFWL, because it caused me much grief, but use it for the select few titles I have with it, b/c it also works offline (once I’ve performed the update ritual song and dance, and llama sacrifice)
    I used Origin to download Dragon Age: Origins, and it worked. But I have no interest in having it run on my system.

    But DRM-free is always the best solution. It’s what I paid money to Kickstarter for, and it’s what I expect my games to play like. Especially my single-player games

  27. Flavioli says:

    I hate EA with a burning passion but I see nothing wrong with what’s happening here; they are offering to distribute crowd-sourced games so that they get more exposure. In return, they get a return for the distribution service. They even went as far as to make the service a freebie for the first 90 days. Personally I’m happy to see any company, even EA, helping to bring exposure of the indie market. I see nothing here hinting that they would become the sole distributor for any of the games. EA does a lot of crap, but I don’t think this is an example of that.

    • MiKHEILL says:

      Using Origin is a horrifying experience in the best of cases (e.g. with flagship games such as Battlefield). Truly, I shudder to imagine how excruciatingly awful it would be to try it with games EA doesn’t care so much about..

  28. MiKHEILL says:

    Origin. Because I prefer my indie games with a heaping of pain and misery and general incompetence.

  29. alundra says:

    Oh man, sweet, that worst company of the year award really hurt them, didn’t they?? So cute, coming up with indie bundle and all, and now sacrificing their earnings to kickstarters.

    Itty bitty EA wants me to feel sorry for them…

    Sorry but it isn’t working EA, anything that gets tainted by you is a no purchase for me, kickstarted indie or not.

  30. bruno says:

    I do not see the advantage of going with EA over kickstarter. What’s the point ? They get money for providing access to their crap origin platform, is that it ?

    To me, Kickstarter is all about a parallel market, and there’s no way I’ll fund a project for EA.

  31. Hardmood says:

    a pile of shit doesnt smell better by sticking a fancy little umbrella on top and call it cocktail

  32. JJnotabrams says:

    Well I don’t see how this could go wrong……..wait….

    …..what’s that?….

    ….can you hear it?…….oh no

    ….oh god no….

    It-it’s…….The Sims Crowdfunding! Nooooooooo!

  33. Ministry says:

    I’m worried EA will find a way to weasel in on these indie devs who are using kickstarter, etc. and find a way to get their magic, evil tentacles into them and corrupt their hearts, turning them into another developer studio to be used and tossed in the trash can.

  34. Nic Clapper says:

    So you ask for handouts and then are rewarded with more handouts.

    But, ask for no handouts and instead juggle both game dev and keeping the money coming in with another job and…thats a reward in itself right right?

    But no seriously, this doesn’t make any sense heh.

  35. Big McLargeHuge says:

    You have to be insane to work for EA unless you had no other choice. And then i still wouldn’t work for them.