Dear Origin, You Stink

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT
 

Dear Origin, You Stink

Shamus believes EA is the underdog here, with Steam the clear favorite.

Read Full Article

You know what the sad thing is? Even if this piece somehow got to the deciderers at EA's HQ I'd bet their reaction would be to start doing some mental gymnastics to justify their 'strategies'. A great case of corporate cognitive disonance if I've ever seen one.

Loved ME and ME2 to bits (although I'd really, really prefere more of ME's Larry Niven-esque feel rather than well, whatever solid, action-packed, pew-pew-in-space author may be applicable we got with ME2) and it's a shame I'll have to give ME3 a pass*

*There are some things on which I'm not willing to compromise. Everything I've heard about Origin makes it a big no-no.

To counter one thing you said here... "If you were actually thinking of your customers (and if you were smart like Valve) then you would give free copies of Mass Effect 1 & 2 on Origin to people who already have copies through Steam."

I've actually put my steam keys (and D2D cd keys) for quite a few EA titles and instantly got access to them on my origin account free of charge (in Origin its under redeem cd key or something like that in the gear menu). I can only think of one title where I wasn't able to do this and it was my D2D copy of the Red Alert 3 expansion thingy, which is old at this point anyhow.

Otherwise, yeah, Origin is fairly stinky, and I agree with all your other points.

Great article, but I doubt EA will change anything. It seems like all of their projects to top big dogs fall short. Battlefield 3, Origin, and SWOTOR (A little early on this one, but it doesn't look like a massive hit with 4+ years of staying power). They just need to get used to playing second fiddle.

I don't think ea are capable of thinking like underdogs. Not whilst they can still act like some heavily censored words and people still buy their games. They can do what they like and still get money. Note the tor fraud scandal, dragon age 2, permabanning people for doing nothing wrong from origin forums AND all their games, etc, etc.

And gamers line up and still pay them.

I'm not buying ME3 even if it comes to steam, or dragon age 3, or any other EA products.

I wonder; why is this posted now, in late January, while the whole Origin spiel went on almost three months ago.

It's sort of, y'know, not really relevant. We all complained about it long before, the EULA was changed (really, an article from August 2011?) making it only a bit more harsh than Steam, feature-wise it's a bit pointless but other than that it doesn't do much at all and hardly affects your actual gaming experience.

Really, Origin rage has come and gone and this article tells us nothing we don't know already. Not quite sure what's the point of it, but that's me.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
It seems like all of their projects to top big dogs fall short. Battlefield 3, Origin, and SWOTOR

Except that Battlefield 3 and SW:TOR has been recieved very well, so I'm not sure what constitutes as a fail here. Of course you're right though about SW:TOR's staying power, that's something it has yet to prove.

I have ME and ME2 on steam, but am not planning on getting ME3.

(To be fair I wasn't able to actually finish either ME or ME2, so maybe its not origin...)

(...then again, I don't have a burning desire to play SWTOR either...)

To be honest I think EA just need to quietly give up and go back to Steam. They've already failed as far as I'm concerned, between battlelog and Origin I sent my (pre-oredered) copy of B3 back unopened.

If it was on Steam and used Steam's server browser, I'd have kept it, if it appears with those options, I'd buy it again.

As it is, who ever thought that having no less than three layers of separate DRM that all require log-ins to operate a multiplayer shooter that boils down to a cut down version of something that was released eight years ago needs to be taken outside and beaten.

It's a hard hard decision we all have to make. Mass effect one was a fantastic game. Mass effect two was possibly my favorite game since I played as an odd blue man with tattoos and weird memory loss syndrome.

But it's possinle I may never play mass effect three. Origin is, as far as I can tell and by all accounts of those who have used it, utterly horrible. Their "privacy" policy (which is essentially how much they loathe the idea that I have a right to any) is an abomination. Their pricing is absurd.

I want Mass Effect 3 *really* badly. I've been talking with friends about it regularly since the moment I finshed ME2 the first time - having finished it half a dozen times since.

And your press is - somehow - getting *worse* on this whole issue. Banning people for life for using a term like 'e-peen' - which while not in the best possible taste is hardly likely to offend, well, anyone - is absurd and makes users feel like they are in the fourth grade. Locking them out of there games is completely off the walls. Banning people for having their user ID mentioned in a post where someone else uses a naughty word is - whats a word for more absurd than just regular absurd?

I mean, if I'm walking down the street and I shout at a cop "Shamus Young is a <words deleted>" then maybe I might be able to get arrested for it. But for Shamus to get arrested for it is...well I would need that missing word again.

And the games pricing...!!!

The reason a game from game stop costs sixty bucks is as follows:

You pay some guys to make the game, and test it (well...sometimes) and market it, and that costs 15 bucks. You pay someone to cut the disks and print the manuals and put together the boxes, and they take five bucks. Then you pay someone to transport it from A to B and that costs 5 bucks. Then gamestop pay you 40 bucks for it, and sells it for sixty. SO all said and done, you make 15 bucks.

Online, you can sell it for the same 40 bucks you sell it to gamestop for, and still make 10 dollars of profit for, essentially, free. And as noted in the article, it means I can't loan it to a friend or sell it back to gamestop for 10 bucks so they can re-sell it for fifty bucks, a transaction on which you make zero bucks.

What is your mental problem on this front?

Dear EA,

Stop spying on us. Stop banning us for absurd things. Stop locking me out of my games - which I've paid for, and which, by the by, is probably illegal in several countries - for nothing. Stop charging full price for games when you have no middle men to pay just so you can make more profit*.

Signed,

everyone in the world.

*Particularly as profit isn't linear. Higher price does not mean higher profits.

Great article and this is my main reason to entirely boycott every new release of EA and subsequentially, my personal boycott of Mass Effect 3... until they decide against using Origin as a mandatory stuff to get to play the thing, until then, they won't be getting a single cent from me ever again.

Interesting article. Always good to see anything written by you Shamus.

In response to this I decided to open Origin to see what was new. As usual (since I don't run it very often) I was obliged to re-install, because that's just the way Origin's updater rolls. This immediately annoyed me of course. Running an installer and resetting my preferences each time I start a program tends to provoke this irrational ire.

I've got no personal beef with EA and would be perfectly happy to use Origin if it brought something - anything - to the table. You're right, EA's not evil, they're just criminally complacent and entitled. What a waste.

You're also spot-on about Valve. Video game dev my arse. Where they've truly proven they shine is as masters of marketing (an area EA is notoriously weak in). As each year's sales arrive I watch in unabashed admiration at the artful and increasingly sophisticated way they capture and direct my attention exactly where they want it. Vouchers, prizes, daily challenges the gradual trickle of unbelievable deals. Intellectually I am so very impressed even as money I don't have is teased from my pocket almost by it's own will.

When EA learns to make Origin less of a burden to it's users and more of an end in and of itself then they will have a chance of competing with Valve in the digital distribution space.

And that article is basically why I love Steam so much.

I've bought oh so many games simply because the were on 50% or 75% off.

Fallout 3 Game of the Year Edition
Civilization III: Complete
Civilization V (because I enjoyed Civ III so much, and it wsa 75% off)
Sim City 4 Deluxe
Metro 2033 (which has made me consider getting Metro: Last Light at launch)

I even bought Deus Ex: Human Revolution and Skyrim (which was on sale at X-mas) on Steam because it was considerably cheaper and more convenient.

So all in all, good deal for the developers and many good deals for me.
It would take a lot more than that pathetic service Origin offers to make me switch.

EDIT:
Also good article Shamus.
You don't write nearly enough of them:)

SW:TOR and BF3 HAVE been well received but due to the feelings towards origin they havent done as well as they could, case in point a gaming geek with disposable income (me) has made a point of ignoring both titles purely because of origin and so have a considerable number of my friends.

The reason why this has been posted now is possibly so the Steam christmas sale could be included in the article as a point of evidence? You know? The article above comparing steam and origin?

Regarding the article it says everything I think about origin. I have no desire to use the system due to my invested time in steam coupled with my distrust of EA. This is along with my game to dollarpound value felling. Why does a game that is just a download cost more than a physical copy? Why does a game with no middle man taking a cut cost more than a direct sale from the publisher?

Origin is a system with no reason to exist apart from the greed of its creator, It speaks volumes that I am foaming at the mouth for mass effect 3 but I am hoping instead to find some way to convert my mass effect pc save to the xbox

Agree wholeheartedly.

I'll add my recurring technical issue to the mix. Origin doesn't remember my password. Every time I want to log in, I have to go the "forgot your password?" route...and that only works because it auto-signs in as soon as the password is changed. I can log out again immediately and my password has become useless.

This causes me to not log in very often.

Mass Effect 3 is going to be the last EA published title that I ever buy. I am unfortunately, as it's where my saves are, going to be buying it for the PC ergo I will have to deal with Origin. That said I am thankful that I have some pretty tech savvy friends as once Origin is installed onto my machine I'm going to turn it into a eunuch.

One should really understand that Origin is not an online games service that happens to function as DRM. It is a DRM and info-gathering service that happens to sell you some games online. Honestly, EA has done about everything possible to stop me from buying Mass Effect 3. I really want to play the game, but they seem intent on convincing me not to.

As a PC gamer, I agree with EVERY single point you made..

The only reason I can think of for Origin's existence is to purposely kill the PC gaming market and direct them to consoles... EA is barely making profit, PC gamers are no-way-near satisfied with it and the only trafic it is getting is forced through DRM... Even EA games like Crysis are cheaper on Steam!

EA should just listen to their senses and run back to Steam with their tails inbetween their legs if they want profit...

Sigh... Mass Effect is my favourite franchise, last game I buy from EA is going to be Mass Effect 3.

Baller195:
Even EA games like Crysis are cheaper on Steam!

How can something so obviously moronic even happen?
Your own goddamn games are cheaper at the competition for crying out loud!

It's almost as if they don't want customers.

elvis-66:
SW:TOR and BF3 HAVE been well received but due to the feelings towards origin they havent done as well as they could, case in point a gaming geek with disposable income (me) has made a point of ignoring both titles purely because of origin and so have a considerable number of my friends.

Another reason why this has been posted now is possibly so the Steam christmas sale could be included in the article as a point of evidence? You know? The article above comparing steam and origin?

Regarding the article it says everything I think about origin. I have no desire to use the system due to my invested time in steam coupled with my distrust of EA. This is along with my game to dollarpound value felling. Why does a game that is just a download cost more than a physical copy? Why does a game with no middle man taking a cut cost more than a direct sale from the publisher?

Origin is a system with no reason to exist apart from the greed of its creator.

You realize that TOR doesn't need origin if you buy it retail right?

And The article is spot on, Origin is a burden and a annoyance to gamers because it treats everyone like they are a potential thief (3 DRM methods just to play bf3 , wtf ) . That and their seemingly stupid policy of making PC gamers put up with all this agro when they want their money is just not a smart move.

Valve as others have said are masters at marketing , plus they are not complete assholes about DRM and actually have good sales.

Cowabungaa:
Except that Battlefield 3

BF3's multiplayer has only been well received by players too young to have owned BF2. I don't think I've read a single positive review of BF3's single player campaign, about the best I've seen of it has been 'average'.

It's had solid sales, but it's safe to say BF3 failed to meet any of EA's grand objectives to make it the launch pad for Origin, a critical darling and the product to knock Call of Duty off number 1 spot, or at least put up a good fight.

Call of duty doubled BF3's sales inside 72 hours, the reviews were largely average and aside from Origin exclusives, is anyone buying from it?

Cowabungaa:
I wonder; why is this posted now, in late January, while the whole Origin spiel went on almost three months ago.

It's sort of, y'know, not really relevant. We all complained about it long before, the EULA was changed (really, an article from August 2011?) making it only a bit more harsh than Steam, feature-wise it's a bit pointless but other than that it doesn't do much at all and hardly affects your actual gaming experience.

Really, Origin rage has come and gone and this article tells us nothing we don't know already. Not quite sure what's the point of it, but that's me.

RedEyesBlackGamer:
It seems like all of their projects to top big dogs fall short. Battlefield 3, Origin, and SWOTOR

Except that Battlefield 3 and SW:TOR has been recieved very well, so I'm not sure what constitutes as a fail here. Of course you're right though about SW:TOR's staying power, that's something it has yet to prove.

Battlefield 3 was supposed to be the CoD killer. It didn't come close. It did well, but failed to meet their lofty expectations. I'm guessing that SWOTOR will go the same route.

Yay Shamus! Are you back from a hiatus, or what? I've missed you and your stealing of pixels and what not. And such things. Etcetera. I havn't seen nearly enough Shamus articles lately.

I was too busy knee-jerk frothing at the mouth over origin to actually install it and try it out. Most of my concerns with the company and the business model appear to be well-justified in your report on how its actually running.

Steam has completely changed PC gaming. What used to be a mess-- finding and installing patches-- is now a hassle free, easy experience. I've had very few technical problems with steam. None of the common steam complaints (Grahhhh buggy@@! graaahhhh offline mode@!) have affected me one iota. And it is a pleasant product to use.

The only game i'd consider buying from Origin are the effects of mass. I gave ME2 a miss already-- guess whats going to happen when ME3 comes out. Sure won't be purchased on origin, i can tell you that.

Bravo! Well said.

(I still bought ME3 on Origin... I can't help it!)

Steam doesn't need corporate competitors, because they are already facing and conquering a competitor that very few corporations have handled: massive piracy. Piracy forces Steam to have low prices and good service, because Valve already knows that if they fail to provide those things then PC gamers will return to piracy.

The next mistake is to assume Origin intends to "compete" in the sense of free market competition. Everything EA has done with Origin so far shows that their business plan is to strong-arm customers into using it with monopoly, not to entice them by competing in an open market.

So this article is good for pointing out obvious problems with Origin, but it's premised on two key errors: that steam needs a corporate competitor, and that Origin has any intention of competing in an open market.

Cowabungaa:
I wonder; why is this posted now, in late January, while the whole Origin spiel went on almost three months ago.

I could almost argue that this is in light of recent tactics, but as you bring up:

(really, an article from August 2011?)

Indeed, bringing up dated information from the start was poor form.

Except that Battlefield 3 and SW:TOR has been recieved very well, so I'm not sure what constitutes as a fail here.

Not being MW3 and WoW respectively?

Seems to be the watermark these days.

I'm oblivious to digital distribution but for what i've read this sounds spot on. Great ideas.

image

Megaupload's id shot whos license?

Typical EA user unfriendliness, force customers to give them money once (provided you still care about Mass Effect) and scupper any thought we might have of ever buying from them again. And its arrogant acting as though its not even worth examining Steam's business practices on top of being undoubtedly unprofitable. Self destructive is what they are.

Oh and expecting everybody to rush towards their service on the sole basis of it having a cover based third person shooter now devoid of depth and a bigger version of COD is cute, just cute.

It's been a little while since I've clapped after reading an official Escapist Article guys.

Here is your internet gold medal.

Great read. And very very painfully true. Now weather EA will consider this as truth rather than listening to the geniuses they have running their marketing department. (2 Chimps smoking cigars and smearing feces on peices of paper no doubt.)

fix-the-spade:
To be honest I think EA just need to quietly give up and go back to Steam. They've already failed as far as I'm concerned, between battlelog and Origin I sent my (pre-oredered) copy of B3 back unopened.

If it was on Steam and used Steam's server browser, I'd have kept it, if it appears with those options, I'd buy it again.

As it is, who ever thought that having no less than three layers of separate DRM that all require log-ins to operate a multiplayer shooter that boils down to a cut down version of something that was released eight years ago needs to be taken outside and beaten.

Three layers? There's Origin, Battlelog and what else? Also Battlelog will automatically start and log you on to Origin if you join a game from it. To be honest if it wasn't for the notifications I get telling me that my friends are playing things I wouldn't even know I had Origin on my computer. At the moment Origin is basically the same thing as EA's old download manager except with a store, rudimentary social features and some spyware loaded into it.

isometry:
Steam doesn't need corporate competitors, because they are already facing and conquering a competitor that very few corporations have handled: massive piracy. Piracy forces Steam to have low prices and good service, because Valve already knows that if they fail to provide those things then PC gamers will return to piracy.

The next mistake is to assume Origin intends to "compete" in the sense of free market competition. Everything EA has done with Origin so far shows that their business plan is to strong-arm customers into using it with monopoly, not to entice them by competing in an open market.

So this article is good for pointing out obvious problems with Origin, but it's premised on two key errors: that steam needs a corporate competitor, and that Origin has any intention of competing in an open market.

I'm not so sure steam doesn't need a competitor, I'm in Australia but Origin's download speed shits on steam's and this is something most of my friends have noticed too. This is both in terms of max speed and general reliability. With steam my download will go at 5 kb/s until I restart the download then it'll jump up to 500 kb/s for about 5 minutes before dropping back down again. Origin just chugs along steadily at a couple of mb/s and then bam the 4 gig BF3 patch/DLC is down in record time. Steam claimed to have fixed this a while ago by changing how the servers handle load distribution but it's still a problem.

But hey, when you're competing against torrents then for anything other than popular/new games you're setting the bar fairly low.

"Wow, that's a lot of valid complaints! I bet EA is going to change it's policies and treat its customers better so that EA can make more money!"

Is what I would say if EA was any sane company.

Shamus Young:

Shamus believes EA is the underdog here, with Steam the clear favorite.

I'd love to pick fault with your arguments Shamus, but I can't.

Nothing else to say except well done.

Oh look, it's Shamus' annual column. Just kidding, I love you man.
(But you should really write more often.)

Alexnader:

isometry:
Steam doesn't need corporate competitors, because they are already facing and conquering a competitor that very few corporations have handled: massive piracy. Piracy forces Steam to have low prices and good service, because Valve already knows that if they fail to provide those things then PC gamers will return to piracy.

The next mistake is to assume Origin intends to "compete" in the sense of free market competition. Everything EA has done with Origin so far shows that their business plan is to strong-arm customers into using it with monopoly, not to entice them by competing in an open market.

So this article is good for pointing out obvious problems with Origin, but it's premised on two key errors: that steam needs a corporate competitor, and that Origin has any intention of competing in an open market.

I'm not so sure steam doesn't need a competitor, I'm in Australia but Origin's download speed shits on steam's and this is something most of my friends have noticed too. This is both in terms of max speed and general reliability. With steam my download will go at 5 kb/s until I restart the download then it'll jump up to 500 kb/s for about 5 minutes before dropping back down again. Origin just chugs along steadily at a couple of mb/s and then bam the 4 gig BF3 patch/DLC is down in record time. Steam claimed to have fixed this a while ago by changing how the servers handle load distribution but it's still a problem.

But hey, when you're competing against torrents then for anything other than popular/new games you're setting the bar fairly low.

Sorry to hear that they are giving Aussies a crappy connection. I'm in the same part of the US as Valve headquarters, so downloading from Steam always maxes out my connection at 3 MB/s. I agree they need more competition in that area if they are giving you guys crappy speeds.

isometry:
Steam doesn't need corporate competitors, because they are already facing and conquering a competitor that very few corporations have handled: massive piracy. Piracy forces Steam to have low prices and good service, because Valve already knows that if they fail to provide those things then PC gamers will return to piracy.

The next mistake is to assume Origin intends to "compete" in the sense of free market competition. Everything EA has done with Origin so far shows that their business plan is to strong-arm customers into using it with monopoly, not to entice them by competing in an open market.

So this article is good for pointing out obvious problems with Origin, but it's premised on two key errors: that steam needs a corporate competitor, and that Origin has any intention of competing in an open market.

I call bovine feces upon you, sire.

It's true that Steam is competing against pirates. What's also true, and that most people forget, is that pirated games rarely compete against original games. It's basic marketing: different prices plus different means of distribution means a product so commercially different it's a completely different one. However, that also implies that brand new games are an entirely different product, one that Steam also deals with; so piracy is only a partial competitor. Even if it wasn't, more competition doesn't mean worse services. It may after a point, if there were so many services that you needed four different programs just to play the biggest hits of a given year, but I assure you two isn't that point. Even if you include GFWL and piracy that's only four, still far from that. Steam sure as hell needs corporate competitors - the fact that they wear a nice hat doesn't mean they're not Microsofting.

Your second point also shows how little you know of marketing. Would you say Valve is strong-arming its costumers into downloading Steam by offering Team Fortress 2 for free but only if you have Steam? Because I assure you I wouldn't have a Steam account or care about its existence in the least if it wasn't for that, so I pretty much was strongarmed into it. What EA is doing is the most basic way to wrestle into a market dominated by a strong competitor: make it extremely beneficial for consumers to try it, for after they get past the hurdle of registering and getting used to the interface they'll start buying. (That was my story with Steam.) The problem is that EA fails with the followup, which is pretty much what the article covers; and also that Valve always wears its nice hat, while EA wears its corporate hat. So when EA forces you to use Origin to play BF3 they're strongarming you into playing it, while when Valve forces you to use Steam to play TF2 they just want you to use their awesome gaming thing. And when EA's privacy policy is bad it's because it's EA, what do you expect, but when it turns out it's actually just as bad as Steam's I think you're mistaken, because Valve really respects us. I'm not pulling EA out of the hook here though; changing its public perception to be like Valve's is possible and should be a priority, but they leave it to the marketing department, when it should be a company-wide effort to be nicer to their customers.

They could even turn Origin into their own little "used shop" for digital games. Does a gamer have a game they don't want anymore? Let them trade it in for half the current price. Give them credit to spend on Origin. Now they have a reason to keep shopping with you, and if they don't like a game, they can trade it back for more credit. Now they have a sense of security. I'd be more likely to buy a game if I knew I could get something back if I didn't like it/finished it a bit too quickly.

Reward continued spending with digital coupons. If someone, say, buys Dead Space 1, give them a coupon that halves the price of Dead Space 2 (or vice-versa). Do this with all franchises, give them coupons for other games in the franchice. Do they have each game in a particular series? Let them swap the coupon(s) with some others so they can use that to help pay for more games.

Reward spending. Give people reasons to use and buy from your service EA. Steam has proven that if you offer a better service, people will buy from you. Right now, all Origin is doing is showing how good a service Steam really is.

 Pages 1 2 3 4 5 6 NEXT

Reply to Thread

Log in or Register to Comment
Have an account? Login below:
With Facebook:Login With Facebook
or
Username:  
Password:  
  
Not registered? To sign up for an account with The Escapist:
Register With Facebook
Register With Facebook
or
Registered for a free account here