Dear Origin, You Stink

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Callate:
On a certain level, it reads like bad comedy about the worst salesman in the world.

-

Salesman: Hey, there! Would you like to buy Mass Effect 3 for the low, low price of $60?

Customer: Um, sure... That's what I'd normally pay for it, so I don't see how this is anything special, but-

Salesman: But wait, there's more! Order now, and you give us permission find out if you're running Steam, Bit Torrent, and disk imaging software! And we get to record your MAC and IP address, as well as whatever kinds of Internet Security software you're using, held securely on the kind of big-company database hackers are delving into on a nearly monthly basis!

Customer: Wow, that sounds like the kind of thing that could cause users to bring a lawsuit against-

Sales: Which brings us to the next part of our offer! When you buy Mass Effect 3 today, you also enter a contract not to sue us no matter how badly we mismanage your accounts or abuse your trust!

Customer: I'm really starting to wonder if I want to play this game...

Sales: It may not even matter! Because, if you act now, you may lose the right to play the games you laughably thought you "bought" from EA because you danced in a war zone, repaired a jeep, or simply rubbed a forum administrator the wrong way! Now, how much would you pay?

Customer: Gah!

Sales: Normally, with an offer like this, you would expect to find a small caliber fire-arm lodged in the small of your back! But if you order now, we may revise the terms and conditions at any time and hold the games you "bought" over your head if you even glance twice at the "opt out" button, assuming you can even find it!

Customer: ...Help me...!

Ha! I don't feel the same bile as you towards EA - more a sort of head-shaking pity really - but this was very witty and so well written I had to give you a thumbs up sir!

EA is doing me a favor, I spend too much time playing games as it is. Any game developer that uses them as a publisher returns a portion of my life back to other pursuits, given that I'll never buy a game published by EA again.

And let's be honest with ourselves here for just a sec shall we, there really are a number of great things in life you could be doing rather than sitting in front of that screen for hours on end.

Callate:

Salesman: Hey, there! Would you like to buy Mass Effect 3 for the low, low price of $60?

You left out the day one DLC. :\

Not that its been announced yet, I just think it likely given that its a EA-Bioware title.

Just so you know, Shamus: you can redeem a retail CD key for an Origin copy of the same game. I did it for Dragon Age (both Origins and II), Mass Effect 2 and SWtOR. Unfortunately, it's only for games released 2009 or later for some reason, so that means I can't redeem my copy of Mass Effect 1, which is frustrating because I have the Pinnacle Station DLC on Origin already...

Origin irks me for pretty much all of the reasons highlighted in the article. It's clunky, has one of the most atrocious privacy policies ever crafted, it's absurdly expensive and has a horrible selection. I've been using Steam since I bought Half-Life 2 and was forced to install it to play the game (Something painful at the time.) Since then, I've built a considerable library of games, almost all bought while on sale. EA, you are going to have to convince me if you want me to start up a second library on your service.

I think it really boils down to the choice I made when Old Republic was released. When I was looking to buy it, I first checked on Origin (Because the website was kind enough to throw a whole bunch of links to their store to buy it.) I saw the price on Origin, and then I went to check the price at the various stores in my area. It was the exact same price. So instead of buying the game from EA directly, I decided to buy the game at my local Best Buy for the exact same price, only I got a couple extra pieces of paper they laughably called a manual and a disc in addition to my activation key.

EA, you need to either become more like Steam or surrender to the Valve Juggernaut. You've done nothing to make me want to buy digitally from you. I'm not adverse to buying new games digitally when given a good reason to. These days, I'm not missing much by not having a disc. But you have to meet me half way and reward me for cutting out the middle man.

Shamus Young:
Dear Origin, You Stink

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

Read Full Article

Dead on correct on all fronts Shamus.

EA needs to entice people to use Origin not force people to use it. It needs to be attractive and unobtrusive enough that people don't spend to much time thinking about whether or not it's worth putting on their system. Third party software, no matter how good, still gives me pause (like Steam) because... well... it's third party software and it's feels like there is already to much of it trying to be installed on computers all over the place all the time. So the decision to install it comes down to need vs. hassle. Make it easy and hassle free and people are more likely to accept it. Better yet, as Shamus suggests, make it enticing and useful and people are more likely to keep it installed even when the game it came with has been uninstalled.

Even when I have had no Steam games on my computer I keep Steam installed just because when you go to the their store you never know what you may find. THAT's when I knew they had me. And for what I get out of it, I'm ok that they do. :)

Thats for me more definitive than any other talk.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Trojan_horse_%28computing%29

And you know what is funny, is that US gov does not allow Lenovo to compete at public governmental contracts but must not care about when they employees come to use EA's Origin at Pogo.

Yeah, EA is pretty stupid for trying to force Origin on gamers. It takes a moron to try something like that, so please don't fall for it. Stop buying games that try to force Origin upon you simply because you want to play the game. As long as you buy those games, EA will continue with it's moronic Origin policy. Show them the error of their ways by hurting their profits. It's the only way.

PC gamers are gonna pirate the hell out of Mass Effect 3. Now I know that the inclusion of multiplayer is their idea. They think more people will buy their game regardless of Origin so they could play MP. No one gives a shit about Mass Effect MP. It sold well as a single player game. So that plan is going to fail. I can't wait to see the piracy numbers for ME3, because they will be fuckin' huge.

Hit the nail on the head with this article.

I bought BF3 on release. Played it for about 10 hours and havn't touched it since. Origin just made it very finicky and difficult to casually play the game. (And dont get me started on the whole 'alt tab to your web browser to change server' bullshit)

I checked out origins store when I first got BF3 and was very unimpressed. A whole bunch of shitty games that I have either played already or wouldn't want to play at all. Most of them I had on Steam already so there was really no point. The prices were higher than steam (most of the time, I noticed Shift 2 was cheaper but I have heard that game is ass) and I missed having a community feature.

Origin does infact stink. Like something that is about to die...

Adam Jensen:
Yeah, EA is pretty stupid for trying to force Origin on gamers. It takes a moron to try something like that, so please don't fall for it. Stop buying games that try to force Origin upon you simply because you want to play the game. As long as you buy those games, EA will continue with it's moronic Origin policy. Show them the error of their ways by hurting their profits. It's the only way.

To be fair, Valve does the same thing. Let me run you trough this scenario. It is March 2010, you just got back from your local game store. You bought Warhammer 40,000: Dawn of War II Gold Edition. Developed by Relic and Published by THQ. You start installing it, and then it happens. In order to install this game You HAVE TO INSTALL STEAM. Imagine that a game that wasn't made by or published by Valve FORCING you to use THEIR service to play a game you bought at a brick/mortar store. That was my what I had to deal with. So you can not say that EA is the only company that does this. Also the thing about multiplayer in ME. People have been asking for multiplayer in the series since before ME1 came out.

isometry:

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.

I actually don't have problems with steam (or at least rarely). I'm usually in the same sort of range (between have a mb and a mb) on it as any other download client I use. (And am in Australia, just to clarify.)

I know it's a little bit cliche to bring out the "boycott yada yada," but on a personal level, I simply will not buy ME3 if it requires a download of Origin. Maybe one sale doesn't mean much to EA (heck, anything their customer's think doesn't mean much to EA), but I'm not amused to have to download a faulty, useless and invasive program just to play a game.

Cowabungaa:

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.

Theyve less failed..and more just slightly below expectations. BF3 had a very average Single Player campaign which made me a bit sad since I was actually rooting for it to do well, and TOR is well..in the same boat as Origin, competing against a well known rival that has been out for ages.

I dunno, I can see Origin becoming a small time contender like Impulse, but then..if it does Im not sure if EA will bother keeping it online. Time will tell.

While I can't think of any real competitors digital marketplace wise(I think they've pretty much cornered that anyway), there a handful of good competitors software wise.

I've been using this Evolve client for a while now. Which has an overlay like steam, but it also has a built in video recording service and Hamachi like service.

Even though this has valid points, I doubt EA really cares, they just want to make money. They will off all the 14 year olds who beg their mom for a copy of battlefield 3 on Origin and get it. EA sees no reason to change its ways yet. It would take something drastic.

I'm still mad at EA for the friggin registration codes. Can't play my game at my friends house...*grumble grumble grumble* one use code *grumble grumble grumble*. Though I haven't used Origin, I assume it is concentrated evil in affront to Valve who gave me two free games. Doubt origin will be giving out free games. Largely console based gamer cep't for TF2 and some other valve games on PC.

ME3 will be my last EA/Bioware game until they drop the mandatory Origin install (which I bought for $48 from Newegg, and retail disk copies only return 25% or so to the publisher, so take that, EA! :P). Origin is far, far worse than Steam and seems to be doing literally nothing to change that.

Excellent article Shamus, its nice to have your very intelligent, witty voice back on the Escapist.

And yeah, EA has its head stuck up its ass, but thinks its soaring above the competition when it comes to Origin. All I can say about it is that it lets me play 2142 and I got a free copy of Burnout Paradise on it.

SoulMan007:
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.

That's not getting free games, that's getting digital copies of games you already own.
There's no 'steam keys'; those are simply the game's own cd keys that steam stores for you.
While I also think being able to get your games as digital copies through their respective cd keys is great, it's very different from free games.

mrverbal:
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?

Bananas. As in "This shit is bananas".

Oi Oi, Shamus, aren't you a little late to hop on this bandwagon? Origin bashing is soooooo 2011.

Dear Shamus,

You are obviously too young (eat the pun) to remember when STEAM started out, you also love to write inflammatory articles... We get that you want to call people idiots and morons if they don't like Portal 2, or object to the way Valve presented that as an 'expansion pack'. But let me be the one to point out to you, that if you are having major problems using GFWL or ORIGIN, that you are just not as computer savvy as a lowly console gamer like me.

I mean no serious disrespect, but if you can't forgive a new system of digital distribution it's early mistakes and trials, then you can't be an objective writer that deserves any acknowledgement. If you can't get past your seven year old monopoly, then all your doing is preaching to the fanboys. Sure, you'll get a response similar to your own, but what's the point? Do you really think ORIGIN is going out of it's way to piss you off? Really? Sigh...

You expect everything, for less, from a new online system that has had nothing but petty rage sent against it for the last 6 months or so. You attempt to offer advice mixed with a snide attempt at intellectual superiority, and let me tell you this.... you win.

You can compare ORIGIN to STEAM and win every time. You can pull the chicken little and say that ORIGIN is stealing your Mothers cook book. You can, and have, say that EA wants to punch you in the face and steal your lunch money. But what I want you to really embrace, what I want you to really say, is that you hate people.

You hate people that work for a company that doesn't do what you already know is possible. You hate the fact that ORIGIN isn't STEAM, and isn't better. You hate that EA can release a game on it's new platform that doesn't support your fanboy fav. You want us to think you believe in STEAM because of an ideal, but you just like STEAM because of the market being cornered, it's just so easy for you then. Why do you think STEAM never releases the sales figures for indie games? Why do you think STEAM is so hush hush about the deals they make?

Sure, it's better to be on STEAM and sell, than being off STEAM and sell less. The sales on STEAM give more to the dev than to STEAm, right? RIGHT?!

sigh

It's emotional garbage like this, that makes me cringe at the idea that I might be considered a PC gamer because I game on a PC.

STEAM is part of the problem, not the be all end all solution. People are so fooled by this system because it works the best currently, that they hate on everything else that attempts to play in the same park. People need to stop the 'Who's on first' win the internet routine with STEAM. But I honestly know that I am barking up the wrong tree about that. Fanboys are fanboys after all.

EDIT: Seriously tho, if you can't use ORIGIN or GFWL... you need to learn how to use your PC. FACT.

EDIT 2: Anyone who doesn't like that Gamestop takes your used games, should stop giving them their used games. Stop the damn bitch fest. Act responsibly for Christs sake. Own up to your own faults before throwing stones in a glass houses, or something... eh?

Although there are some good points... this just seems like any old rant made about every negative point someone could make about Origin... including the ones that are completely blown out of proportion, are part of a maturing process for a new digital distribution platform (still good reason to criticize so it can reach a very much more experienced one such as Steam though but is still given no credit) and last but not least hypocritical if you praise Steam at all.

I particularly liked the, "Where's your library of games that Steam has?" later... "Why are you keeping ME3 exclusive to better your library of games?"

oh look a guy doesn't like origin, and then look at all the fucks I don't give. bought BF3 and will buy ME3 day one origin has yet to be any more annoying than Steam and this article smells like fanboy all over, in fact it bears mentioning that I wish Origin would do well because I absolutely hate the idea of a monopoly, especially a Valve monopoly, as it is PC gaming without Steam is almost impossible and that worries me.

major_chaos:
oh look a guy doesn't like origin, and then look at all the fucks I don't give. bought BF3 and will buy ME3 day one origin has yet to be any more annoying than Steam and this article smells like fanboy all over, in fact it bears mentioning that I wish Origin would do well because I absolutely hate the idea of a monopoly, especially a Valve monopoly, as it is PC gaming without Steam is almost impossible and that worries me.

You must be an internet/computer savant since you can deal with something that isn't STEAM after it has had over a decade to mature and become user friendly.

You are the 1%

CHEERS!

Hey, Shamus, if your Alice disk is scratched you only need to punch in the code into Origin. It will give you a digital copy FOR FREE.

Just sayin'

Shamus Young:
Remember when you were bellyaching about how mean old Gamestop was stealing all your money through used game sales? Note that digital games can't be re-sold. So why are you selling your AAA titles at store prices? Why are you giving gamers a reason to buy retail? I mean, if I'm going to pay $60, I might as well get the cool box and stuff. Every sale on Origin is pure profit because you don't have to share with Wal-Mart, and that's one less disc floating around the used game market. You were so proud of yourselves with "Project Ten Dollar", but if you were smart you'd be cutting online prices for "Project Keep All The Money For Yourself and Kill The Used Game Market".

This one problem actually has a reason behind it that is outside EA's control, retail stores themselves.

Retail stores know that the days of physical games is ending. You can increasingly just get a game in a form where you cannot just break the disk, not have to have some dedicated place for a game (and maybe the box), nor have to waste your time driving to the store to get it. Even the Playstation 3 can now download full AAA titles (don't know about the Xbox). With Onlive now... live, we have the Cloud. The system doesn't matter anymore, as long as you got the internet connection, you can play dark souls on your Android with full graphic settings. The disk is obsolete, it is still here just because most consumers have yet to make the switch.

Game stores are trying to fight this trend, and stave off their own finite existence. Developers on Steam tried to sell there games at a lower price (not as a sale) or before the normal release date, the retail stores have pulled the games from their shelves until they rose the prices or pushed the Steam releases to match the retail one. Also remember the fiasco with Deus Ex: HR where Gamestop removed coupons that would of given free copy of the game on OnLive.

EA knows that they still are in a position where they need more the retailers rather than the retails need them, thus they match the prices even though it makes no other logical sense.

I typed in my mass effeect 2 serial on origin and it added to my account. Its like their steamworks for a select few games. Me 1 didnt work though.
Its invasive. Thats why I dont use it. I dont need it, and to be frank, I rarely want EA games...

I feel like Shamus is under the impression EA has the capacity to be humble, reasonable, logical or hell simply respect their customers which is pure crazy talk. If anything they and Activision are the two heavy weight champions of asshole-ery when it comes to be being a game business.

It would be nice if they could both change their ways but I just, can't ever see that happening.

Shamus Young:
Remember when you were bellyaching about how mean old Gamestop was stealing all your money through used game sales? Note that digital games can't be re-sold. So why are you selling your AAA titles at store prices? Why are you giving gamers a reason to buy retail? I mean, if I'm going to pay $60, I might as well get the cool box and stuff. Every sale on Origin is pure profit because you don't have to share with Wal-Mart, and that's one less disc floating around the used game market. You were so proud of yourselves with "Project Ten Dollar", but if you were smart you'd be cutting online prices for "Project Keep All The Money For Yourself and Kill The Used Game Market".

This one problem actually has a reason behind it that is outside EA's control, retail stores themselves.

Retail stores know that the days of physical games is ending. You can increasingly just get a game in a form where you cannot just break the disk, not have to have some dedicated place for a game (and maybe the box), nor have to waste your time driving to the store to get it. Even the Playstation 3 can now download full AAA titles (don't know about the Xbox). With Onlive now... live, we have the Cloud. The system doesn't matter anymore, as long as you got the internet connection, you can play dark souls on your Android with full graphic settings. The disk is obsolete, it is still here just because most consumers have yet to make the switch.

Game stores are trying to fight this trend, and stave off their own finite existence using the one weapon they have, the amount of sales they have. While each year, the amount of games sold digitally increases, retail stores make up for the lion's share of games sold. Developers on Steam tried to sell there games at a lower price (not as a sale) or before the normal release date, the retail stores have pulled the games from their shelves until they rose the prices or pushed the Steam releases to match the retail one. Also remember the fiasco with Deus Ex: HR where Gamestop removed coupons that would of given free copy of the game on OnLive.

EA would lose so much if stores pulled all EA games from their shelves. EA knows that they still are in a position where they need more the retailers rather than the retails need them, thus they match the prices even though it makes no other logical sense.

For once its nice to see someone talking about the problems origin has without just being a valve fanboy. Origin could be really good if EA were willing to listen to points like this when they were made

I might've gotten Battlefield 3 if it wasn't locked to Origin. I would've got TOR. I would buy ME3. But my reflexive response to someone trying to strongarm me into something lies rather closer to Yol Toor Shul than meek acceptance. EA, you think you can make me get your platform by preventing me from getting your titles elsewhere? Sorry. I'm sure there's other games I can find to entertain me.

(Evochron Mercenary? Ooh, what's this?)

Bingo. EA isn't just criminally evil, they're stupid evil.

When you've created a huge subset of gamers that are MORALLY AGAINST BUYING YOUR PRODUCTS, you have done something horribly wrong. Origin is not a system anyone wants to use, it's a system they're forcing on us to make more money. It's all set up in the desperate hope that their customers don't know what Steam is. It's already set up for failure.

I can't by any good conscious buy ME3. Every single EA product I have bought in the last 5 years has made me physically ill with regret due to all the bull**** they keep putting me through; from abusive DLC, to ridiculous codes, to horribly buggy games, to overpriced PC titles, etc, etc. And they want me to trust them with my credit card? I can't trust them to release a complete game.

It hurts because they could actually be making much more money, they wouldn't even have to advertise quite as hard if they actually gave a damn about the people keeping them in business. People buy from their developers despite EA, not because of them.

You know I was browsing XBox Marketplace thinking the same thing as you said with Origin Shamus - I saw Oblivion, downloadable without any expansions for 20, when you can buy it for about 5 now, what a rip! I even exclaimed myself that it's dumb, they don't have to pay to burn a new DVD or buy a new box to put it in, do these developers think we're dumb? (On second thought, don't answer that)

I only used Origin to by SWTOR. Never using it again.

STEAM FTW!

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