Dear Origin, You Stink

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A very good read.

Thing that gets me though is everyone is going apeshit over games requireing Origin, but at the same time, many games require Steam. Now I dont like either service much, I dont work with funds over the internet, currently, much, and I hate having memory used for a background service that only stands to suck up ram for me.

When I go out and pick up a hard copy of Shogun 2, I dont want to be forced to install ANYTHING besides Shogun 2, regardless of what service it is.

Now dont get me wrong, I respect Steam much more than Origin, and I completely agree the ladder is a shit service, but it seems hypocritical to me that the arguement has been made on this forum many times that Origin is overstepping its bounds by forcing itself to be used with EA games. This seems to me to be one of the few cases where it's either all wrong, or none of it is.

I just bought BF3 yesterday. $20 for a Russian key almost everywhere.

Or over $80 on Origin. Seems like Blizzard lines of thinking to me, which is why I hate both countries.

Anyone else think that EA is working some sort of secret scam where they get massive tax breaks by making irrefutably stupid decisions?

Or am I just reaching for a sensible reason for all this nonsense where none exists.

ninja51:
A very good read.

Thing that gets me though is everyone is going apeshit over games requireing Origin, but at the same time, many games require Steam. Now I dont like either service much, I dont work with funds over the internet, currently, much, and I hate having memory used for a background service that only stands to suck up ram for me.

When I go out and pick up a hard copy of Shogun 2, I dont want to be forced to install ANYTHING besides Shogun 2, regardless of what service it is.

Now dont get me wrong, I respect Steam much more than Origin, and I completely agree the ladder is a shit service, but it seems hypocritical to me that the arguement has been made on this forum many times that Origin is overstepping its bounds by forcing itself to be used with EA games. This seems to me to be one of the few cases where it's either all wrong, or none of it is.

i think the biggest issue is with EA's attitude about dealing with customers and the changing nature of the user agreement on the system

others have said its a drm that keeps track of what you do (to varying degrees on how they word the EULA that day) with games to lure you in

I also dislike the idea of making a game exclusive to any digital distributor, there will always be someone upset with whatever option you choose so why limit the options

Origin hasn't factored into any of my spending; if there's a game I want, I buy it, wherever it is. I've never had to go out of my way to launch it and it's never been a hassle, so I really don't care that it exists--and that is perhaps a larger failure than anything else.

That being said, my money has twice gone straight to EA. Not all a loss for them then. Sneaky bastards :P

ninja51:
Now dont get me wrong, I respect Steam much more than Origin, and I completely agree the ladder is a shit service

Just for future reference, it's "latter". Not picking on you or trying to be some English elitist. Just pointing that out for you.

For some reason I get the feeling that even if those air-heads in EA read this article, they will invest a lot of their money and time in finding a excuse for things being as they are instead of investing the same things in fixing that stuff.

But yeah, EA.

kibayasu:
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.

Seriously? Out of the bazillion of publisher, you write Nintendo?!?
The company that publishes only on their own consoles and has no connection to the PC market at all?

I... I don't even...
facepalm.jpg

All these posts from people saying they're going to miss Mass Effect 3 because they played the first two on PC and don't want Origin... Let's just say I'm really glad all my Mass Effect saves are on 360 right now. Not gaming on PC when I started playing that franchise is now paying off. :)

Anyway, great points in the article. Too bad EA thinks too highly of themselves to change anything.

kibayasu:
WB, THQ, Activision, Nintendo, and Ubisoft don't want their games on Origin because it helps a direct competitor.

Did you seriously just say Nintendo? NINTENDO?! Nintendo doesn't want their games on anything but their own hardware. Why don't you please explain why Sony also doesn't want their games on Origin while you're on such a great roll here.

Used Origin once. From a technical and user-friendly standpoint, their entire purchase process was painfully opaque and ultimately frustrating. At no point during the initial purchase process, made through their site, was confirmation given of such, and when I finally found the support pages, was handed back and forth between separate Origin and EA sites which required me to log in each time. My support options were on-line chat or phone, neither of which were available; the latter due to the time of day, and the former for an unreported reason. If there was some sort of ticket queue for assistance, it's well hidden.

40 minutes later I re-attempted the purchase through the Origin program itself, which processed and spat out a product key. Not the exact product available online, but I was unable to find that one within Origin. Immediately afterwards, I checked my account on the Origin (or EA - I no longer remember which site I was eventually handed off to) webpage and there was no record of the transaction.

Checking email, I had received a receipt. For my first purchase attempt from 45 minutes prior. Neither transaction is on my account page, nor did they appear for the next 3 days; I've long since stopped checking. Only one of them shows in the Origin program; I have since uninstalled it, so I can't tell if the 2nd ever appeared there. I did, however, have both charges on my card.

Waited for on-line chat support to show up as available for half the next day, and made some additional fruitless attempts to find relevant support information from their site. After briefly staring at my phone and wondering if their phone support was as limited and labyrinthine as their website(s), I decided instead, in the spirit of the holiday season, to just give the extra code away.

Was looking forward to Mass Effect 3, but if it really is only available on the PC via Origin, I will never play it. You got your extra money out of me by making your support system more difficult than it was worth the time and effort to fix, so congratulations on that. You will never get another penny out of me.

I'd send this to EA/Origin as feedback, but I'm tired of trying to find useful links on their site. They can come here and figure it out.

mrverbal:

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.

Did you miss the thread where users on the Escapist found that the privacy policy as it currently stands is essentially the same as Steam's?

You don't represent me. I'll get my copy of ME3, complete the single online activation through Origin and have very little to do with the service thereafter.

I agree with the overall sentiment that Origin is gasping for air as it tries to compete with Steam.

so true, but €A will not change their minds since they are too greedy and selfish. they want to spy on people to make sure they can make more money.
really a sad moment for people like me, who like to buy ME3 but dont want to due spyware origin.
i just hope that this open origin will happen. really dont want this crap on my pc.

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.

If this is true (I don't have Origin to verify) they need to ADVERTISE.

Goes back to the main points of the article, Origin PR is crap. Their games are cheaper when sold by the competition (both steam and used physical copies) their EULA was originally the most draconian in the market, and they're acting like a-holes, and their not advertising what could be a HUUUGE selling point for their system. If every ME owner could pick up Origin copies free of charge, it would boost ME3 sales massively.

I'd like for Origin to succeed. I'd like for their to be honest and genuine competition in the market... but right now, it seems that EA doesn't want these things, and their ass-backwards marketing only furthers the problem.

kibayasu:

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.

That simply isn't true. Honestly, it's so untrue that I have to wonder if either you haven't done this yourself or if you're simply counting on others not doing so and taking you at your word.

Putting aside that agreeing to Origin's user agreement explicitly forbids you from engaging in a jury or class-action lawsuit against the parent company and Steam's does not, EA reserves the right to make a record of non-Origin-related software and peripheral hardware at any time (That's under "2. Consent to Collection and Use of Data"); Valve's policy states that it only collects information about hardware and software in the event of a bug report or system crash. EA also openly states "we and other third parties use cookies and other technologies to passively collect non-personal demographic information, personalize your experience on our sites and monitor advertisements and other activities as described below" (Privacy Policy, IVB,) a notable contrast to Steam's Subscriber Agreement, which states "Valve does use cookies on their websites." And while EA claims not to collect "personally identifiable information", their privacy policy includes under "non personal information" such things as "gender, age, zip code... Internet Protocol (IP) address, network Media Access Control (MAC) address... username, user ID or persona..." Which, if stored together, begins to sound a lot like personal information.

It's been argued that new installers of the "Orange Box" didn't fully understand what they were signing on to, and in many cases, that's probably true. But this "Origin's and Steam's user agreements and privacy policies are exactly alike" line is not, and it needs to stop. I'm getting really tired of this kind of obfuscation of the issue.

in a bit of a pickle:
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 very sad truth indeed, but that's EA through and through. It's never their fault, for anything they do. It's always somebody elses, or they have "valid reasons" for it which we cannot understand.

The wording used towards critics of Dragon Age 2 were more or less the same on the Bioware forums. "Oh, well we won't take your criticism's seriously as the game is just out, we will wait for a few months down the line when people have calmed down" is more or less what one of the people who worked on it said.

EA are, and always have been, in denial.

I installed Origin, so I could play BF3. I played the game for a while, and then something happened. I think Origin got patched, or something else. Anyway, I was no longer able to run Origin, and therefore no longer able to play BF3. I dutifully contacted tech support, and they flat-out told me to turn off all firewalls, run Origin with Admin privileges and have a nice day. After that I uninstalled Origin, BF3 and swore never to touch this steaming pile of excrement ever again.

Dear EA: I no longer wish to purchase games that require Origin. Have a nice day.

It feels like EA CEO and people running the company in general just don't get how digital service is supposed to work.
But they will learn in time. Remember how they gave a free Mass Effect 2 copy to everyone who got Dragon Age 2? It's not like they never run any promotions. They simply failing at Origins, for now.

It's so tremendously odd that I've had such a polar opposite experience of digital download platforms than most other people on this website seem to have.

I've never once had a problem with Origin, I run two games through it (three if you count the now shutdown Battlefield Alpha) and I find it runs them smoothly, doesn't really get in the way and I quite enjoy using the service. I haven't tried downloading any DLC so maybe that'll screw up for me if I ever decide to buy some Sims 3 expansion packs online.

For that matter, GFWL has always worked perfectly for me as well... considering I have around 6 games that require it I really haven't experienced any noticeable trouble.

But Steam has given the most hassle out of any platform, to the point where I avoid Steam at all costs, if I see a game I want I go to GamersGate long before I'll try Steam.

Ah well, to each their own and whatnot.

I hope EA and Microsoft one day do fix up and improve their platforms, I enjoy using them and it'd be nice to see them become more popular and not suffer from the many bugs people seem to encounter.

Sober Thal:
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.

I think you're overlooking something with that "7 year monopoly," namely, that it's set the standard for judging things by.

It's the same reason why no MMO can hold a candle to WoW, it's because WoW set the industry standard by being the first truly popular MMO, anything that tries to compete with it directly will never get near the same level of success if it's in any way a worse game, or even an equal game when you take player inertia into account ("I keep playing WoW because it's the game my friends play.")

In the exact same way, for anything to hold a candle to Steam, it needs to be not close to, not even comparable to, it needs to be in all possible ways BETTER than Steam. Steam has been around for 7 years, and for a large portion of that time it was the only online retailer in the game.

Mistakes are easy to forgive and work past when there isn't an alternative around, and when Steam was getting its legs there really wasn't any other option for people who wanted to try out digital distribution. But in those 7 years, Steam has made itself into something very reliable, very trusted, and very big.

Origin is a newbie to the field that seems to think it can overcome it's competitor by starting where the competition did 7 years ago, instead of modeling off of where it is now. The mistakes that we forgave Steam because we didn't have an alternative? For Origin, Steam is that alternative. If we don't like how glitchy the client is, if we don't like what they tried to pull with the ToS, if we aren't content with the small number of games for high prices, we can just ditch Origin and go right back to Steam.

As it stands right now, Origin has no ability to compete with Steam. It has the potential to do so however, and that's what this article is about. This article is not saying "Origin sucks and it should feel bad about itself," it's saying "Origin sucks, here's why it sucks and what it could change to become a real competitor."

In a free market environment, there would be as much logical reason to use Origin over Steam as there would be to buy a Model-T over a Ford Fusion. The only reason anyone is using Origin right now is because of the games that require Origin to use. EA's counting on that even, but their mistaken if they think luring people in with BF3 and ME3 will keep them around while they get their act together.

The only way Origin could be considered a success right now is if you think of it as a DRM platform for EA games that happens to sell games, as opposed to Steam being an Online Store that happens to have some DRM integrated.

ninja51:
A very good read.

Thing that gets me though is everyone is going apeshit over games requireing Origin, but at the same time, many games require Steam. Now I dont like either service much, I dont work with funds over the internet, currently, much, and I hate having memory used for a background service that only stands to suck up ram for me.

When I go out and pick up a hard copy of Shogun 2, I dont want to be forced to install ANYTHING besides Shogun 2, regardless of what service it is.

I do see your point, but as things you never asked for, Steam is a lot better that EA origin or having your arms and legs lopped off and replaced with bionic ones. It may not be perfect, but at least it keeps to itself, doesn't spy on you and won't allow your legitimate games to be deleted.

I noticed I had to sign into Origin on PS3 when trying the Kingdoms of Amalur demo. Talk about digusting...

I did have an account - from that time I thought DA:O might be a worthwhile game to play. Then it turned out it was a shit game, that had NPCs asking me to buy DLC *cough* - all done through EA's servers...

I play on PS3 so that I can avoid this kind of shit. But no, it begins to invade anyhow.
And no, I didn't rejoice when I heard Steam on PS3. The opposite actually.

Fucking DD is evil.

Damn fine article sir usually i skim most of the news articles on this site but i read yours completely full of damn good points as well it would be nice if steam did get a proper competitor so then the steam sales like the christmas one would become the norm.

I havent used origin myself, but my cousin has battlefield 3 with it, what a PITA to watch him have to join games from the internet then the program opens for him to play. He complains a lot about lag and the interface not working with him. He has a really modern PC (he has $$ i have brains). At the time of this writing he has pretty much stopped with the BF3 due to origin itself. (he is a big fan and user of steam)

/shrug

EA was probably counting on getting congress to pass a law that will outlaw steam.

"Steam is infringing on EA profits by using illegal business tactics like sales that hurt legitimate companies that sell ten-year-old games for 20 bucks and expect people to buy them. Also, steam is actually run by Russain hackers who are attacking American jobs."

Seriously, EA is blundering through this. No wonder they made ME3 origin exclusive; it's the only trick they've got.

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.

I've felt this way about Shamus' last few articles. He's always a few months late on these sorts of things. I understand he's a busy dude, but if you can't get your rant out there in a timely manner, it really shouldn't be front page material. Especially if you're referencing outdated material that's now straight up wrong.

Animyr:
Seriously, EA is blundering through this. No wonder they made ME3 origin exclusive; it's the only trick they've got.

Which is different than what Steam does with Valve games how? Please, try to explain.

It's how they even got people to use Steam in the first place. Because it was required to play their completely offline, single player game, Half Life 2.

From the trailers and videos I've seen of ME3, I am not impressed. Sorry, the whole thing seems to be too human focus for my liking.

Since it was announced that it's origin required, the decision to not bother with ME3 became abundantly clear and easy.

I will no longer support any game that require Origin. (Still holding strong against UBISOFT's always online garbage too.)

Frostbite3789:

Animyr:
Seriously, EA is blundering through this. No wonder they made ME3 origin exclusive; it's the only trick they've got.

Which is different than what Steam does with Valve games how? Please, try to explain.

It's how they even got people to use Steam in the first place. Because it was required to play their completely offline, single player game, Half Life 2.

they offered all of their previous valve games in 3 simple packages to get your Steam library going. Its too long for me to remember the exact specifics, but valve offered something like the Gold, Silver and Bronze packages. for something like $60 it included, HL, HL2 and episode1 , Richochet, Team Fortress1, Day of Defeat and DOD Source, Counter-Strike and CS Source, that single player CS (blue something). if i miss something i forgot. So yes they are doing the same thing as EA, except they seem to be giving the customers more options to start with and use steam. Where as EA just seems to want to strong arm ppl into using Origin.

Also the ORANGE BOX. HL2, HL2 ep2, TF2, and Portal for $60... yeah where is EA's multigame bundle for $60?

is EA going to give BF3 away for free so ppl would want to use Origin? You know like how Valve gave TF2 away for free after about a year of its release.

after the bullshit i went through with EA's DRM and GFWL from microsoft, i make sure the only service i need for a game is Steam. otherwise its a console purchase. and so far thats worked out fine for me.

Steam needs competition?
Perhaps to keep them on their toes, but at the moment, they are awesome.
I've bought so many triple A titles for $5 it's ridiculous, not to mention the other awesome deals.
I think steam is doing a great job.

Frostbite3789:
Which is different than what Steam does with Valve games how? Please, try to explain.

Steam has more tricks. Come for their exclusive games, stay for the other stuff. From what I can tell, Origin has no "other stuff" that Steam doesn't do better.

ninja51:
A very good read.

Thing that gets me though is everyone is going apeshit over games requireing Origin, but at the same time, many games require Steam. Now I dont like either service much, I dont work with funds over the internet, currently, much, and I hate having memory used for a background service that only stands to suck up ram for me.

When I go out and pick up a hard copy of Shogun 2, I dont want to be forced to install ANYTHING besides Shogun 2, regardless of what service it is.

Now dont get me wrong, I respect Steam much more than Origin, and I completely agree the ladder is a shit service, but it seems hypocritical to me that the arguement has been made on this forum many times that Origin is overstepping its bounds by forcing itself to be used with EA games. This seems to me to be one of the few cases where it's either all wrong, or none of it is.

Well, for me, it's because Valve has a track record of improving their service, and generally being (relatively) consumer friendly.

EA has a track record of completely abandoning their products and services after a few months, and generally treating their customers with contempt, at best.

Could also be a case of gamers going "yeah, we're not falling for this shit again". I mean, we already need one service running to play games. Or two, if you're unfortunate enough to buy a game with GFWL. At this point there's just too many damn "services" out and another one, from EA of all people, isn't exactly a welcome sight. EA definitely has the potential to make it great, but they're track record suggests that isn't likely.

image

It's a perverse joke on EA's part to use the Origin name to distribute swill like DA2 and SW:TOR, on top of all the other disguisting crap they're pulling.

No, all of EA's problems are caused by used games and piracy...

duh

DTWolfwood:
they offered all of their previous valve games in 3 simple packages to get your Steam library going. Its too long for me to remember the exact specifics, but valve offered something like the Gold, Silver and Bronze packages. for something like $60 it included, HL, HL2 and episode1 , Richochet, Team Fortress1, Day of Defeat and DOD Source, Counter-Strike and CS Source, that single player CS (blue something). if i miss something i forgot. So yes they are doing the same thing as EA, except they seem to be giving the customers more options to start with and use steam. Where as EA just seems to want to strong arm ppl into using Origin.

Also the ORANGE BOX. HL2, HL2 ep2, TF2, and Portal for $60... yeah where is EA's multigame bundle for $60?

is EA going to give BF3 away for free so ppl would want to use Origin? You know like how Valve gave TF2 away for free after about a year of its release.

Lets do this point by point shall we?

They offered none of those packages upon Steam's startup. Especially considering half the games you named weren't out when Steam originally came out (HL2 and episode 1, episode 1 didn't come out until 3 years after Steam's launch, HL2 a year later. Day of Defeat a year later. DoD Source just came out last year...)

The Orange Box was released in 2007. Four years after Steam's launch.

TF2 went F2P in 2011 if I recall. Late 2010 maybe. So either three or four years after TF2 came out and 7 or 8 after Steam launched.

But you're expecting EA to give away one of it's biggest releases of the year a few months after launch? I don't think you'd make it in the business world, guy. I really don't think you can compare TF2 and BF3 in terms of budget and all that. Not everyone can have Valve's lax release deadlines.

Anyways, back to the original point, Steam did none of this when it came out. When it came out and even now, it's just DRM. And this coming from someone who greatly enjoys Steam sales and Valve games. They're great, but people who want to damn Origin for the same crap Steam does are ridiculous to me.

"Derp I have to use Origin it to play EA games!" So? I have to use Steam for games that aren't even made by Valve these days.

Animyr:

Frostbite3789:
Which is different than what Steam does with Valve games how? Please, try to explain.

Steam has more tricks. Come for their exclusive games, stay for the other stuff. From what I can tell, Origin has no "other stuff" that Steam doesn't do better.

I could look at it just like people are looking at Origin. Be forced into it because I want to play PC games. Dawn of War 2's xpacks. Dead Island. Saints Row the Third. Skyrim. Space Marine. And there are others.

Those aren't even Valve games but I'm forced to register them on Steam. Or else I don't get to play them.

Tom Goldman:
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.

You can't come in and get users exactly how Steam did it when it launched! That's not fair!

Boy, I really enjoyed HL2's release day when I couldn't play my single player only game because Steam's servers went down. Just, so good. But gamers don't remember as far as back as '04 I guess.

Should consoles stop having exclusives too? Sony is only letting the Uncharted series be in the PS3? THEY'RE NEVER SEEING ANOTHER DOLLAR FROM ME!

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