Origin Boss Says Steam Sales "Cheapen Intellectual Property"

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Origin Boss Says Steam Sales "Cheapen Intellectual Property"

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EA Vice President David DeMartini says gamers shouldn't hold their breath waiting for deep-discount sales to come to Origin.

Like it or not, there's no arguing that Steam sales don't offer tremendously good deals. If you've got ten bucks and a Steam sale, you're all set; no matter what you're into, you're bound to find something that turns your crank, at a price you can afford. There's also no arguing that Steam isn't far and away the big dog of the PC gaming digital distribution pack, and so it stands to reason that anyone - like, say, Origin - who wants to contend for that top spot would have to offer similar, or perhaps even better, deals to its customers. Right?

Well, no, at least not according to David DeMartini, EA's senior vice president for global e-commerce. "We won't be doing that," he said in an interview with GamesIndustry. "I just think it cheapens your intellectual property. I know both sides of it, I understand it. If you want to sell a whole bunch of units, that is certainly a way to do that, to sell a whole bunch of stuff at a low price. The gamemakers work incredibly hard to make this intellectual property, and we're not trying to be Target... we're trying to give you a fair price point, and occasionally there will be things that are on sale you could look for a discount, just don't look for 75 percent off going-out-of-business sales."

He also suggested that despite giving exposure and huge sales boosts to indie developers and major studios alike, Valve's approach could actually be doing the industry more harm than good. "What Steam does might be teaching the customer that, 'I might not want it in the first month, but if I look at it in four or five months, I'll get one of those weekend sales and I'll buy it at that time at 75 percent off'," he continued. "It's an approach, and I'm not going to say it's not working for Valve. It certainly works for Valve; I don't know if it works as well for the publishing partners who take on the majority of that haircut."

The reaction to DeMartini's comments thus far has been almost universally derisive, and while my initial intent was to play devil's advocate on his behalf, I just can't bring myself to do it. I can't even figure out how to do it, really; the drive to bottom-line pricing can be damaging to conventional retail markets, where big-box stores can use their clout to muscle out smaller, independent outfits, but the digital marketplace, with virtual product and effectively zero distribution costs, is something entirely different. I can see the rationale behind his desire to maintain a price point, but expecting gamers to pay a higher price because it's "better" for the industry is a pure pipe dream.

Even though Steam-style sales are off the table, DeMartini said EA has "got something else that we do believe in that we'll be rolling out" to attract customers. I can't imagine what it could possibly offer as an effective substitute for ridiculously cheap games, but I sure am looking forward to finding out.

Source: GamesIndustry International

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As much as i hate to admit it training gamers to wait 3 4 months before buying a game is not good in the short run only in the looooooooong run.

I swear i've heard this before...pretty sure the guys at GOG said the same thing...

...and I still don't think they're right...

Andy Chalk:

Like it or not, there's no arguing that Steam sales don't offer tremendously good deals.

I think you meant "DO"...

Yet another reason Origin will never be able to truly compete with Steam. Besides the usual Origin issues...

And as to training people to wait for Steam sales... Maybe kinda true? Most people who want a new game want it NOW. If they wait, that probably means they cant afford to pay 60 bucks just to get something right away. So its giving them a chance to buy the game at a more affordable price at the cost of waiting. A cheap sale is better than no sale at all.

MrBrightside919:
I swear i've heard this before...pretty sure the guys at GOG said the same thing...

...and I still don't think they're right...

Andy Chalk:

Like it or not, there's no arguing that Steam sales don't offer tremendously good deals.

I think you meant "DO"...

If everybody buys games just because their cheap and not because their good,then yes that decreases value.
Also everybody waiting is not good for the devīs who need money the moment their done with a game and not 5 months down the line.

Daemascus:
Yet another reason Origin will never be able to truly compete with Steam.

Well their servers are better than steamīs and donīt crap out when you donīt want them to.
Also the games launch faster.

I haven't seen any devs express that these sales are really.a detriment to them.. I'm not too concerned what ea thinks about saving customers money

because thats what you do when you want your sale platform to succeed, you dont have any big sales.
(sarcasm in case you couldn't tell)

I bought Mass Effect 1 on impulse when it was $10 on Steam. I waited until Mass Effect 2 was $20 on Steam. I bought Mass Effect 3 for $60 as soon as I could. I don't have the money or desire to gamble on new franchises, but I'm happy to pay top dollar for a franchise that reels me in. Steam meets my consumer demand perfectly.

Let it also be known that the ONLY reason I installed Origin was because it was required for Mass Effect 3. The odds of me trying out new franchises exclusive to Origin are next nothing, especially given this announcement.

As far as I'm concerned, David DeMartini just told me not to even bother shopping on Origin.

Hey, EA, remember how in 2007 you said games were too expensive for consumers?

Steam seems to be doing something about that with its sales, and from what I can tell, it's working out pretty well for Steam, the developers, and consumers.

What about you? What are you doing about it?

Also, the goal isn't to have the most expensive IP. The goal is to make money. Steam, and developers/publishers who put their games on sale, are making tons of cash from sales.

And it cheapen the IP? Because it costs less? Tell me, which IP is worth more, Mass Effect or Angry Birds? I'll give you a hint, it's not the one who's games cost $60.

*Translation* "Sales? The hell would we do that for? We wouldn't get nearly enough money if we did that!"

It's not as though gamers don't buy games right away or even pre-order them, anymore. They still do that, the ones that they'll wait for a sale for are ones they were skeptic of in the first place so without that sale you could argue there wouldn't be a purchase in the first place.

You could even argue that sales help increase the value of IP, not cheapen them, as more players will be exposed to the game and, should they like it, put their money down on the sequel earlier as well as adding more feedback for the developers to help produce a better product.

Reason number 347 that Origin can fuck itself.

I had that on my computer for all of 12 hours while playing ME3 and I felt dirty the whole time.

Poor EA. They aren't happy with Origin's competitiveness and now resort to throwing around weak criticism to boost their ego. They really are hopeless.

Translation: GIVE STEAM ALL OF YOUR MONEY...WE DON'T TAKE NO HANDOUTS

As if consumers didn't already have enough reasons to despise EA. Really, that's just more of their disgusting greed and arrogance.

Oh EA, will you ever learn?

Between this and the latest round of HL3 rumours I'm sure Gabe Newell will be having a good laugh over his breakfast, before he goes for his morning swim in his pool of money.

Would someone shut this guy up before someone actually listens to him and we lose a good thing?

He seems to misunderstand what happens with Steam sales. The VAST majority of cases from personal experience and from people I know and talk to in and around the games industry do not wait for games to go on sale on Steam. They look at the Steam sales and buy the current on-sale item if it is low enough, without even checking out the game beforehand.

This means that the sale means it brings in a large amount of customers that were not even going to buy the game in the first place. And since another digital unit costs $0 to give to someone it is going to be pure profit to the developers. If someone is put off by the price of a game then sale or not they were, more often than not, never going to buy the game at that price.

I just can not trust EA when they try to talk to anyone about doing good by the developer. Maybe that's biased but I've heard some serious horror stories.

rolfwesselius:

Daemascus:
Yet another reason Origin will never be able to truly compete with Steam.

Well their servers are better than steamīs and donīt crap out when you donīt want them to.
Also the games launch faster.

Congratulations, your the first person I've ever heard say good things about Origin.

Surprise Surprise, EA trying to Justify greed. And I thought they were going soft, especially with how their E3 Press Conference was so Humble and about being Indie and giving every origin gamer a free unicorn that vomits gold.

"The game you bought was the game you got" and now with EA it's not even that.

Jesus you would think being named the worst company on earth would make them at least a little bit more aware of how horrid they are, but i guess you don't get to be the worst company on earth without having skulls as thick as dragon scales. i mean For christ Sake even the thick bs they say is grating "The game you bought was the game you got" and now with EA it's not even that.

Everything this company does disgusts me, and I have not purchased a game from them in a long time because of it, there are better places to spend my money.

Can't believe I'm the first to post this video.

But I have to hand it to EA, they really are a HORRIBLE publishers, and it's awful how many decent developers work under them and ruin them. I'm actually totally freaking OK with Activision now.

I just wish EA would GO AWAY FOREVER!!

What about the small detail that some of a games cost included package materials I.e. disks and the box. How do they justify that cost when it's no longer an issue on Digital distribution?

Treblaine:

Can't believe I'm the first to post this video.

But I have to hand it to EA, they really are a HORRIBLE publishers, and it's awful how many decent developers work under them and ruin them. I'm actually totally freaking OK with Activision now.

I just wish EA would GO AWAY FOREVER!!

Stop posting that immature propaganda aimed at 13 year old teens

Sure seems like EA is afraid again.

But who knows, they said that EVERY GAMER is looking forward to BF3 Premium, and clearly, they seem to think that if they SAY we like it we DO.

That's how it works? Right?

Oh.. wait, the other thing..

....Yet another reason, as if I needed one, to not use Origin.

Here's the thing EA. Part of the reason I use steam is because of those sales. I do NOT have the money to buy this shit on release day. I simply can't justify it. The games are too fucking expensive and just not worth it. Especially the tripe you constantly shovel forth. $60 is not something I can just throw away, and if I have to choose between food, fuel and bills and a shitty 3 hour scripted bullshit SP tacked onto a dry and dull DM/TDM/CTF multiplayer I'm going to go for the former without a second thought.

However, at $5, $10, even $15? I can squeeze that. Steam lets me afford this hobby, and unless Origin wants to at least match Steam's sales I'm not even interested in a free trial on that service.

Wow...now i know whats wrong with EA. their FINANCIAL department. it explains all the horrid decisions and lackluster profit. They just dont know how a fucking business works effectively.

Steam sales are REALLY useful for selling sequels. I've bought plenty of games at full price because I liked the previous entry in the series that I got for only ten bucks.

As for whether or not extremely low pricing points work for developers and publishers? Let's see, a Steam sale pretty much saved Introversion from bankruptcy, and has given a lot of smaller publishers a lot of publicity that they otherwise wouldn't have gotten. A game doesn't just sell more units WHILE it's on sale; if it's any good, it also gets a ton of free advertising via word of mouth from people who buy it during the sale, and recommend it to their friends, who may miss the sale but buy the game at full price anyway. Heck, there have been times when I knew about a sale but didn't have the money, and then bought the game at full price later because it was still on my mind after the sale.

It's not just true of Steam, either. Remember when Sony got hacked and taken down for a month, and came back bearing free games? Among those free games were things like LittleBigPlanet and inFamous, both of which were just past their prime, and both of which had sequels on the horizon. I'd be willing to bet that LBP2 and inFamous 2 both sold better as a result.

P.S. Thanks

This is why corporate officers shouldn't be allowed to talk to the press.

This isn't even "the pot calling the kettle black" this is "the pot calling the white-kettle black"

rolfwesselius:
As much as i hate to admit it training gamers to wait 3 4 months before buying a game is not good in the short run only in the looooooooong run.

rolfwesselius:

If everybody buys games just because their cheap and not because their good,then yes that decreases value.
Also everybody waiting is not good for the devīs who need money the moment their done with a game and not 5 months down the line.

I fail to see how this is Steam's fault. The exact same things happen with used games, and don't they not get money from used games? If anything, Steam gives them sales that they otherwise wouldn't have.

rolfwesselius:

Also everybody waiting is not good for the devīs who need money the moment their done with a game and not 5 months down the line.

I think I know what you're trying to say. But the way you say it isn't right, the economy doesn't work that way.

rolfwesselius:

Daemascus:
Yet another reason Origin will never be able to truly compete with Steam.

Well their servers are better than steamīs and donīt crap out when you donīt want them to.
Also the games launch faster.

I've seen more complaints with Origin's servers than with Steam's, and the "games launch faster" doesn't have anything to do with the servers unless they are using some Diablo III style service. Steam isn't perfect, but it's been around for far longer than Origin and thus has had time to figure out the major problems, and it sure as hell doesn't transmit your technical information.

All I hear is EA saying "I don't want your money, you poor sod; I only tailor to rich drones". That's fine by me, I've benefitted a lot of smaller publishers, valve, ad indie developers in the recent years. I just wish DICE wasn't with EA, since I would truly want to play Mirror's Edge.

I can't help but laugh at every single business decision EA makes. It's like no one in the organization even bothered to take a single business class. And Origin just flat out stinks. The only reason I even let Origin touch my hardrive is because I need it to play ME3. Steam will continue to do well because they understand a proper business model. And while I still prefer hard copies of games (I don't like paying to get permission to use a piece of software), I still do appreciate good Steam sales that offer games I wouldn't otherwise purchase if it wasn't cheap. I feel like that does more for developers than huge prices.

If I want a game, I'll buy it. The Steam sales really just sell more games that otherwise probably wouldn't sell, because people aren't that interested. Plus, it's hard to compete with "free", but 75% off is a start.

Well, the Steam Sales are the only way i buy games, since I cannot afford to buy expensive ones. Don`t really have much more to say about that.

But this EA guy...well, they would get more customers and users if they`d make bigger sales. Don`t really know much about how economy and stuff like that work, so Iīm not even gonna try to figure through this.

"What Steam does might be teaching the customer that, 'I might not want it in the first month, but if I look at it in four or five months, I'll get one of those weekend sales and I'll buy it at that time at 75 percent off',"

Yet a game like lets say Bulletstorm dropping to 29.99 within what like a month doesn't do the same thing?

The problem is, it's NOT a fair price point from the consumer side of things. If it was fair, people wouldn't be so eager to wait for deals.

rolfwesselius:
As much as i hate to admit it training gamers to wait 3 4 months before buying a game is not good in the short run only in the looooooooong run.

For who? It's awesome for STEAM in the short and long run. It keeps them firmly established as THE source.

Besides, it's no different from the retail model.

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