Dear Origin, You Stink

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fix-the-spade:

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?

its actually worse than that
i got the game cheaper (14 pounds cheaper, thats around 30% off)
and earlier
by pre ordering through a retail store.

THATS A BIG BLOODY PROBLEM if their trying to push digital distribution.

The thing is, if Origin proves successful for whatever reason, it'll probably encourage more people to pull their franchises from Steam to do something on their own as well (pulling in people with exclusive sequels - UbiSoft could do that very well), complicating things for the customer unless they move to something like xFire and offering questionable innovations by competition if they do it like EA/Origin.

I'm all for more competition to keep the gears turning, but it doesn't work if you create small monopolies on titles to draw customers in instead of providing a better service.

It seems most of the issues people have with Origin is that it's not Steam and is competing with it. I use Origin and have had absolutely no trouble at all. The privacy issue ain't pretty though ...

Edit: also, note that you can buy games from other distributors besides Origin (just not Steam), so unless your definition of monopoly is having to have Origin installed they certainly don't have one. That is just what Steam does btw.

Shamus Young:
Dear Origin, You Stink
free copies of Mass Effect 1 & 2 on Origin to people who already have copies through Steam.

Read Full Article

You know you can redeem the key's you have bought in steam in origin ? At least that's what I did.
Don't know of it still works but that's how i got ME2 and DA2 on origin.

Shamus Young:
Speaking of Mass Effect, I see that you're going to make Origin mandatory for all Mass Effect 3 players. This is a pretty cynical move. Your fans have been building their Mass Effect library on Steam, and now the final title of the set will only be available on a platform that didn't exist when the series began. In effect, you're punishing your biggest fans.

Thank you for articulating something I could not. I have always been a BioWare fan, having played everything (multiple times) from Baldur's Gate to ME2 and DA2. The simple fact I cannot now own ME3 on Steam, alongside 1 & 2 is frustrating beyond measure. I want to play it, I want to buy it, I want to get all the pre-order goodies, I don't give a damn about selling it on used and I don't want Origin.

EA because of their business strategy (and for having the downright cheek to say "it's valve's fault" when not one person alive buy's that garbage line) are actually preventing me from playing it. I may just get the 360 version (although I'm sad I don't have an ME2 Shep to import) or I may try to find an Origin-free version online, or I may buy a physical copy and hope it doesn't require origin, and if it does, "tweak" it so it doesn't.

Shamus Young:
OP

Great post, shame it's a little late, but well argued. I'm in that unfortunate position of absolutely loving BF3 but being compeletely unable to recommend it because of Origin - I had to download 24Gb of data all told trying to get BF3 working, and I had the freaking disk.

Not impressed.

Very good read, Shamus. I could feel you cringe everytime you had to compliment Steam, I know you're not a huge fan. :)

All your points about price are moot. Steam is the most expensive place to buy games. 40 for Arkham City? Fuck that it was under 30 the day it came out at retail. 29.99 for Portal 2? Fuck that it was 25 from online retailers. The only time it's worth buying games on Steam is if you're desperate enough to spend an extra 5-10 or its on sale. Even then when the newer releases go on sale its either cheaper to buy it from a store/online retailer or the same price.

Also at least Origin lets you install your games to different hard drives, as for DLC I don't see what problem is. I installed Karkand fine, the game just updated itself with the DLC.

I think people just hate on Origin because its the trendy thing to do, Steam is still full of faults and the customer service is abysmal, it takes well over a week to get a response (This is from experience, I've raised 3 tickets total each one took over a week to get a first response). You hear horror stories about EA's live support but I've never had a problem with it, and at least you get to talk to someone within 30 minutes instead of waiting ages for a reply.

Wicky_42:

Shamus Young:
OP

Great post, shame it's a little late, but well argued. I'm in that unfortunate position of absolutely loving BF3 but being compeletely unable to recommend it because of Origin - I had to download 24Gb of data all told trying to get BF3 working, and I had the freaking disk.

Not impressed.

Origin wasn't downloading the game from the internet, it was taking it off the disk. I was really annoyed as I thought it was downloading it myself, so took the disk out and it stopped, could of done with something to say its reading the data from the disk not downloading it.

I had the miss fortune of helping my cousin with installing Fifa 12. It was a mess. He knows a basic thing or 2 about computers, but he could not get fifa 12 installed.
Technical aside, I'm completely behind the point that's made in the post. I'm a heavy steam user with a 100+ games in my library. Why should I even think about switching to Origin. Only because I can play one game, which being Mass Effect 3? That's not worth all the effort of switching or even installing it for that part.
I'm very much looking forward to playing Mass Effect 3, but origin makes me think twice. I don't know if I want to deal with this, knowing that there's a platform which just works very well.
EA, fix origin or Mass Effect 3 on pc will have a very hard time. Just like Fifa 12 and Battlefield 3.

I liked that final part about Mass Effect.

For instance, I hold Mass Effect (1) - Steam, Mass Effect 2 - Disk ... IF I'd now also buy ME3, I'd go straight for three different means, as - since I'd be forced to use Origin anyway - I'd buy it via Origin.

Now, I refuse to use Origin. Due to your points, as well as the parts you mentioned in the intro: It's simply not worth it, when this service is an intrusive, bugged pile of ... yeh ... And trying to compete with an already established service - one I already use.
However, there is this one important point: There are means to avoid the data collection (legal means, actually ... You can demand a change to the service designed specifically for you, in regards to such a thing. It doesn't mean they have to agree, but it's at least an option. And of course there are other means, such as effectively blocking Origin's access to certain files - either via external hard drives you simply don't connect, or whatever. Thing is: it's possible.)
So, with that piece'o'cake solution of giving anyone with valid copies (which EA always managed to collect through serials and whatnot) their digital counterparts on Origin, I might even bother working with such a solution, and at some point even accept their service, once they improved to a certain point.

Callate:
This is a very well written article, and given the small bomb dropping that no version of ME3 would be available without Origin, perfectly timely.

The whole attitude that's come down with Origin has made it impossible for me to be a part of, even for the sake of Mass Effect 3. EA wants this to be the new industry standard, and to be blunt, if that comes to be the case, we're all fucked.

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...!

And....added to favourite quotes. Good job!

SovietX:
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)

But Origin has nothing to do with what you got a problem with. It's how Battlefield 3 plays with Battlelog. Origin just launches the game for you. Do you have a hard time telling the two apart?
Also you don't alt tab to change server, you just quit and find a new server. This is also not a Origin feature.

With Battlelog the whole part about finding servers have been so much easier and faster at the same time that I want Battlelog in all of my Battlefield games from now on.

As for the article. You claim it handles DLC badly while you have never tried it. I bought limited edition of BF3 and I got those codes with me. Put them in and it was done. The B2K DLC was downloaded in a patch and I could play it on launch when it came out.

So what part of it is hard? As I can't really find any.

The spying part is also quite laughable now. How many people have you seen gotten into trouble or publicly framed by EA for doing something from the information they've gathered? Not a single case.
So that whole paranoid part about being spied upon and getting fed with spam and such was and still is harmless.

You also claim Origin is clunky. How? Buttons works nice and quickly. The Origin Overlay works just fine as well. I doubt I will get any sort of answer on this because I've seen people trash other things and when you ask for proof they kinda just forget about it.

All I really see is people hating it because it's made by EA. Because it seems to be popular to hate EA and everyone has to do it.

The problem with origin i essentially the same problem with GFWL; it isn't first and foremost meant to be a decent Digital dist platform it is proprietary DRM with the express aim of forcing your customers to use your platform and cut out your competitors. EA has no interest in developing a decent service, all it wants to do is greedily horde its own titles behind a wall of software becuase it can't compete otherwise.

Here is where Origin really fails; I use Steam, eventhough i am ocassional forced to, because i WANT to use steam. No one wants to use Origin. They are forced to. Without people wanting to use Origin of their own free will the thing will NEVER take off.

The intent of Origin is not to entice people to use an interesting and developing new platform; it is to stong-arm them into being tied to EA at every turn. Origin takes things away and adds nothing, using blunt instruments to make customers have to use it. Its forced down our thoats without incentive, enticement or even any form of choice. Steam has useful and interesting features, its also got crazy crazy sales that make me foam at the mouth.

This article just made everyone realize how much they loves their steam account. And the impulse buy thing is spot on. An impulse buy got me Terraria for $2.50 before Steam noticed the mistake and raised it to $5. It has allowed me to try franchises I would have normally passed on, for example MASS EFFECT! Yes, reading about the game I was never convinced it was for me, then a Steam sale had it for dirt cheap and I said hell i'll give it a try for that price. I then proceeded to buy the collector's edition of the second one and will do the same with the third one. EA owes Steam a big thank you for that because i'm sure om not the only one that did that.

ash-brewster:

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

But isn't that another huge failing? The vast majority of MMOs are done purely digital these days. When you give the option of dealing with Origin and all which Origin use entails, or running out to buy the box, as little an inconvenience that it is, it's enough for people who are only passively interested to say "screw it" and spend their MMO dollars elsewhere. And really, releasing a full price MMO with a monthly sub in a world were nearly every other MMO has gone F2P in some capacity was a bad idea at best. They don't even have a few day free trial available to help entice those on the other side of the fence.

bit_crusherrr:
All your points about price are moot. Steam is the most expensive place to buy games. 40 for Arkham City? Fuck that it was under 30 the day it came out at retail. 29.99 for Portal 2? Fuck that it was 25 from online retailers. The only time it's worth buying games on Steam is if you're desperate enough to spend an extra 5-10 or its on sale. Even then when the newer releases go on sale its either cheaper to buy it from a store/online retailer or the same price.

Also at least Origin lets you install your games to different hard drives, as for DLC I don't see what problem is. I installed Karkand fine, the game just updated itself with the DLC.

I think people just hate on Origin because its the trendy thing to do, Steam is still full of faults and the customer service is abysmal, it takes well over a week to get a response (This is from experience, I've raised 3 tickets total each one took over a week to get a first response). You hear horror stories about EA's live support but I've never had a problem with it, and at least you get to talk to someone within 30 minutes instead of waiting ages for a reply.

Wicky_42:

Shamus Young:
OP

Great post, shame it's a little late, but well argued. I'm in that unfortunate position of absolutely loving BF3 but being compeletely unable to recommend it because of Origin - I had to download 24Gb of data all told trying to get BF3 working, and I had the freaking disk.

Not impressed.

Origin wasn't downloading the game from the internet, it was taking it off the disk. I was really annoyed as I thought it was downloading it myself, so took the disk out and it stopped, could of done with something to say its reading the data from the disk not downloading it.

portal 2 was 26 quid pre order, which meant you could also play it as soon as it was released, unlike the boxed copy. As for arkham city, its a popular game, why shouldn't they charge for it (i grabbed it for 20 on the sale, but still). Their competitively priced on most things, there will be some anomalies but for the most part its not too bad price wise.

bahumat42:

THATS A BIG BLOODY PROBLEM if their trying to push digital distribution.

I'm still not convinced they are. I think they were dragged into the digital market kicking and screaming and they're doing this solely to take the share away from Steam (the guys who did this to them).

At least when I tried to install Origin on my Computer,it just installed without problems.
When I tried to install Steam though,it just wouldn't normaly do,Steam support didn't knew what the problem was,and I had to be searching the internet for weeks until I found random dude in a modding community forum and he instructed me to open the Command Prompt so I can copy and paste some Commands random dude told me,so it could install and run.

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'm an aussie and haven't had a single issue with download rate on steam. No Proxy or anything , just regular adsl2 connection.

Learn to fight like underdogs? EA?

Well someone who is used to be big is not good at think on ground level. But we will see.

I also missed demo,s on Origin (then again I used it for less then a minute)
but yeah if they do stuff that,s described in the article and add demo,s it might be a serious contender against Steam.

but who are we kidding EA hates the consumers.

This article is so smart. You can't come into a Steam world forcing people to use something that is way worse and expect them to grab onto it. Then again, maybe EA is just testing stuff out for now and will get it together later, like Nintendo with the 3DS price.

Dear Shamus,

I think an image is worth a thousand words.

Irridium:
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.

...That. Would. Be. AWESOME.

I could really go for that! I mean, I actually picked up 2 games on steam that I really regret buying (Civ 5 and Section 8, respectively), and I wish I could do something with them...

But of course, EA is a public company and if they don't give their shareholders their daily...umm..."friendly stroke" with hundred dollar bills, the shareholders will put their foot down and fire high ranking people. And of course, most of the shareholders have no freakin clue how to run a business properly, since they only care about profit growth. Ergo, EA is not likely to do anything that smart.

You have no idea how happy I am that Valve isn't a public company. Shareholders. Ruin. EVERYTHING.

Upon reading this, my reaction was "Origin has a store?" So I guess that says just about all I need to say.

I only use Origin because it makes you use it for The Sims. When it comes to branching out to new and unheard of indie titles, I immediately go to Steam. This is exactly what is the problem with Origin. I don't think they really understand that it's a competition here. Because they're sure as hell not acting like it. If they were trying to be successful they would actually undercut Steam's prices, but that doesn't happen. So I don't even know what to do with you, EA. It's like you couldn't care less about sales.

Great article! I agreed with every word. (Well, almost. Origin has changed their EULA since that article you linked to was written. You should change that.)

Shamus, I agree with you entirely. I've never used Origin because every time I visited the (awfully designed, BTW) store, lots of games are restricted and the ones that are not are ridiculously expensive. Not to mention they follow the 1$ = 1 euro nonsense. I wouldn't complain much about that if it were not for the fact that I live in freaking South America! Why the heck am I being charged in Euros? Haven't they figured out that "Euro" might have something to do with "Europe"?

But alas, a friend of mine gifted me Mass Effect 3. A few days later I read it's going to force Origin on its users. And I'm still on the fence about what to do about this. Do I allow that piece of malware into my system? I've got nothing to hide (well, there are a couple of things I'd rather my mother didn't find out about), but that doesn't mean I want them going through my things. Also, I hear some terrible things about how it works (when it does) and EA customer support. Then again, this would be the only game I'd use it for. Once I beat it I could uninstall the damn thing and set the hard drive on fire.

bit_crusherrr:
All your points about price are moot. Steam is the most expensive place to buy games. 40 for Arkham City? Fuck that it was under 30 the day it came out at retail. 29.99 for Portal 2? Fuck that it was 25 from online retailers. The only time it's worth buying games on Steam is if you're desperate enough to spend an extra 5-10 or its on sale. Even then when the newer releases go on sale its either cheaper to buy it from a store/online retailer or the same price.

Also at least Origin lets you install your games to different hard drives, as for DLC I don't see what problem is. I installed Karkand fine, the game just updated itself with the DLC.

I think people just hate on Origin because its the trendy thing to do, Steam is still full of faults and the customer service is abysmal, it takes well over a week to get a response (This is from experience, I've raised 3 tickets total each one took over a week to get a first response). You hear horror stories about EA's live support but I've never had a problem with it, and at least you get to talk to someone within 30 minutes instead of waiting ages for a reply.

Steam is the cheapest option in my country an many others, in which import taxes make retail purchasing something only the wealthiest can afford. And, as I stated before, Origin's prices are higher than other digital download services. For instance: Mass Effect 2 on Steam costs $19.99 in my region, while the same game (we're talking about the regular edition in both cases) on Origin costs 24.99 euros. That's 32+ US dollars. It's more than 50% higher on Origin.

And I've never had a problem with Steam support. I've had my tickets answered in less than 24 hours. Besides, customer support response speed is not a valid way to compare services, since Steam's userbase is far bigger than Origin's, which means customer support has to deal with many, many more people, so of course it's going to take longer to answer.

I think it's naive of you to assume people hate Origin because it's "trendy" to do so. We have valid complaints. So far mine extend to their store because I haven't used the client, but they're still valid. I also have complaints for Steam, but this is not the place or time for them.

The thing is, to say Origin has problems because it's new it's not a legitimate excuse, because the problems they have are not part of being a new service, they're part of being a company with a fundamental misunderstanding of what they've gotten into. Bugs and installation errors are problems that come with being new. Ridiculous prices, restriction, bad localization and lack of an extensive library are problemas that come with being stupid. EA has had years to observe Valve and learn from their mistakes. They clearly haven't.

So in other words, "The Steam is good, the Origin is evil!"

ThingWhatSqueaks:
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.

Gotta love that Sandbox.

I was lucky as I played the first two on Xbox 360.

I picked up the first one new for $20 and loved it so much that I preordered the collector's edition for Mass Effect 2. I've bought all the DLC for it but now I am saddened. My hatred for EA has grown to such lengths that I will wait for a used copy of the game with all the content on it in a couple of years. Yes EA. I hate your policies that much. You need training and need to be punished. No more money from me.

Sober Thal:

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!

I see - so if I release a new car, and it has a hand cranked engine, that's just fine because, hey, the Model T did, right?

If I release a product to market, it doesn't matter if I have been working on it for a day or a decade, or if my competitors have same. The public get to judge our products against each other right now; I don't get to get bonus points for being new to the game.

I agree with one key thing here, you're selling your games digitally, yet you offer no discount and it's just silly.

I can buy the ME3 collectors edition and get a physical copy,manual, artbook,lithograph, some digital content OR, I buy Origin for the SAME PRICE and get everything ...digital. Why would ANYONE want to buy it on origin? Same price but you have nothing in your hand? Drop the price 10-15 bucks then you'll generate interest.

Hell that was a fairly big part about me switching from Xbox to PC when ME2 was coming out, I could get the collector edition for 60 bucks the same price as the xbox standard, hell yeah I'll switch, I'll even buy ME1 when it goes on sale on steam!

Well I guess that marks the end if my interest in Mass Effect 3. If they are going to restrict it to origin only, I won't be getting it.

Overall great article, but I'm afraid it will fall on deaf ears if it fall on EA's ears at all. They are about as stubborn and thick headed as it gets. Great for hostile take overs, not so much for public relations.

harvz:
Dear Mr. Young,

Stay out of my mind.

sincerely, me.

on another note, is origin still doing the whole evil data harvesting thing?

didnt you know that by having an account on the escapist you gave them the right to pick through your mind and give your thoughts to their authors? i suggest trying to stay focused on important things

excellent article shamus, and unlike some of the others i will at least thank you for finding something of value while digging through my brain.

just remember even when preaching to the choir the drunken gamblers in the back alley may hear and take it to heart

For everyone saying you're dead right on every point, you sure are wrong on several points and mistaken on others. Let's take it from the top:

1) Origin's Method of Installing DLC is Horrible:

First I think everyone is confusing Origin's method for downloading DLC with BioWare's. BioWare making you download every single tiny piece of DLC from their website is terrible.

Since Steam is the favorite, let's compare it with that. You buy DLC on Steam, it updates your base game automatically if its already installed and will be downloaded automatically the next time you install the game if you delete it. With Origin you buy the DLC and you have to install it manually from the "Show Game Details" page. What a hassle right? Well, yes, I suppose for some it could be. Plus it could be more obvious where the DLC shows up to be downloaded. However, say I don't want to install the DLC I've bought? I want to play Borderlands with a friend but he only has the base game with none of the expansions. He has to download 8 GB of game. I have to download 12 GB of game. What if I only want one or two of those packs to be installed?

But there's also the matter of bonuses like soundtracks, wallpapers, art books, and so on. With Steam, to get these relatively tiny files, you have to install the whole game. Guess what is also listed in the "Game Details" window in Origin? That's right, you can download your 10 MB worth of hi-res JPEG's without having to download 10 GB worth of game as well. What if I have limited bandwidth but I want to listen to the Dragon Age: Origins soundtrack? Well, I guess I have to go illegally download it off The Pirate Bay because otherwise I'll have to waste 12 GB worth of bandwidth if I only have access to Steam.

2) Origin's Back Catalog is Lacking:

I'm really surprised I have to be the one to explain this to someone. Valve is an independently owned developer that puts out, if we're lucky, a game a year. EA is a publicly owned, shareholder run company that puts out dozens. That means that Valve will have a much, much, much easier time negotiating with other companies than EA will. Some people may note that Origin has Batman: Arkham City and Saints Row The Third. Even with a hefty amount of speculation I can guarantee you that EA is not making as much money on the sale of those games as Valve does. Why? Because those are games that belong to other publicly traded, shareholder run companies.

It's pretty simple to understand. WB, THQ, Activision, Nintendo, and Ubisoft don't want their games on Origin because it helps a direct competitor. That is, unless they can get an incredibly good deal on it. To get a good deal both companies would have to agree to it. If Ubisoft wants 90% of the sale of Revelations, EA isn't going to accept that. If EA wants 30% of the sale of Revelations, Ubisoft isn't going to accept that because they can already get a better deal with Steam and they won't be helping out someone they see as a direct threat. Valve, for all their quality, do not make most of their money on games any more. They do not compete with Ubisoft.

EA and other publishers have to negotiate a hell of a lot more than Valve does with publishers. It's a slow process and will probably result in a lot of games not being on Origin. But to say this is EA's fault for being the company it is, is completely asinine.

3) Activating Games on Origin

Any EA game published 2009 and later that's also for sale on Origin can be activated, for free, on Origin. So that copy of Alice that's scratched? You don't need to buy it for $5 on Steam, you can activate it for free on Origin.

4) The Price Disparity of Origin and Steam is Terrible

Now I did read about some price discrepancies between countries with Origin. I don't know if these are fixed yet. I can only go by the prices I see though. Let's begin shall we?

Mirror's Edge: Steam price - $20 Origin price - $20
Mass Effect 2: Steam Price - $20 Origin price - $20
Dragon Age Origins: Steam - $20 Origin Price - $20
Medal of Honor: $20 on both
Bad Company 2: $20
Battlefield 2: $20
Dead Space and Dead Space 2: $20
Crysis and Warhead: $20

And so on.

So I guess I'm wondering why you're throwing this as a complaint against Origin specifically? Their prices are the exact same as Steam. Shouldn't this be a complaint against EA and not their digital store? A small difference to some but an important one to make nonetheless. This is not Origin. This is EA. This is an article about Origin. This isn't an article about digital prices. If this is an article about digital prices, then you need to include every single digital service in the world. You're no longer talking about Origin and EA, but THQ, WB, Activision, Nintendo, LucasArts, Valve ($50 for Portal 2 at launch on Steam! Preposterous!), and so on. Everyone charges full retail price at digital right now. Lumping all of this onto Origin and EA seems unfair at best and disingenuous at worst.

Then there's the fact that the clear majority of those $5 games you mention are not the kind of games you imply they are. Many, and I mean many, are downloadable content packs that Steam counts as a game. On the first page of listing, sorted by release date, 20 out of 25 items are DLC packs. The next page is 25 of 25. The next is 25 of 25. The next is 21 of 25. The next is 18 of 25. So in the first 5 pages of the "Under $5 listing" I've already knocked off 109 "games" of the current 583 "Games Under $5." There's also the matter that another huge chunk of these games are things that, to be frank, most people aren't interested in and probably don't even approach 10,000 copies sold. Those 583 Games Under $5 you see Steam proclaim is marketing. Which has its place. That place is not within a serious piece of criticism.

5) EA's Privacy Policy and End User License Agreement is Terrible

I would suggest that everyone who actually got up in arms about this go read Steam's Terms of Service (ToS) and End User License Agreement (EULA). What you find may really surprise you. You'll find the exact same language saying the exact same thing. If you really want to scare yourself go read the ToS and EULA on a copy of Mac OS or Windows. Any service with a client you install on your computer will have the exact language that Origin does. Those controversial sections that EA removed and changed just made their wording even more vague and that makes things worse. Vague legalese is bad. Specific legalese is good. People badgering EA about their EULA... Made. Things. Worse.

Now if you want to argue that these things need to go away entirely I'll be with you. But the fact of the matter is, for the purposes of this article, Origin is no different than Steam when it comes to data mining and gathering.

I'm a hardcore Mass Effect fan (logged at least 300 hours in total on both) and I might not buy ME3 if it's only on Origin.

Hey EA ...
image

Get your shit together. I just watched the James Vega featurette. THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING

bahumat42:

bit_crusherrr:
All your points about price are moot. Steam is the most expensive place to buy games. 40 for Arkham City? Fuck that it was under 30 the day it came out at retail. 29.99 for Portal 2? Fuck that it was 25 from online retailers. The only time it's worth buying games on Steam is if you're desperate enough to spend an extra 5-10 or its on sale. Even then when the newer releases go on sale its either cheaper to buy it from a store/online retailer or the same price.

Also at least Origin lets you install your games to different hard drives, as for DLC I don't see what problem is. I installed Karkand fine, the game just updated itself with the DLC.

I think people just hate on Origin because its the trendy thing to do, Steam is still full of faults and the customer service is abysmal, it takes well over a week to get a response (This is from experience, I've raised 3 tickets total each one took over a week to get a first response). You hear horror stories about EA's live support but I've never had a problem with it, and at least you get to talk to someone within 30 minutes instead of waiting ages for a reply.

Wicky_42:

Great post, shame it's a little late, but well argued. I'm in that unfortunate position of absolutely loving BF3 but being compeletely unable to recommend it because of Origin - I had to download 24Gb of data all told trying to get BF3 working, and I had the freaking disk.

Not impressed.

Origin wasn't downloading the game from the internet, it was taking it off the disk. I was really annoyed as I thought it was downloading it myself, so took the disk out and it stopped, could of done with something to say its reading the data from the disk not downloading it.

portal 2 was 26 quid pre order, which meant you could also play it as soon as it was released, unlike the boxed copy. As for arkham city, its a popular game, why shouldn't they charge for it (i grabbed it for 20 on the sale, but still). Their competitively priced on most things, there will be some anomalies but for the most part its not too bad price wise.

The prices are always 5+ on Steam compared to other retailers. I'm not saying Steam is bad, but at the same time its not the amazing thing people make it out to be, and Origin is no where near as bad as people like to make out. It's just fanboyism for digital stores.

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