Origin Boss Says Steam Sales "Cheapen Intellectual Property"

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Andy Chalk:

He [David DeMartini] 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 can go and kiss his slippery slope ass all he wants. First EA is claiming that used games are evil. Now, not only am I an evil person for buying a used game, but I am also evil because I'm not an early adopter and don't buy games at 60 dollars the week they come out.

The whole concept of entitlement is always slammed onto gamers. How about a publisher being entitled?

I don't think that's how economics work.

FoolKiller:

The whole concept of entitlement is always slammed onto gamers. How about a publisher being entitled?

They're the publisher, they're allowed to have rights and be entitled. You're a consumer so you're not. Look me in the eye and tell me that that's not how they think :P

Abandon4093:
Fucking unbelievable.

BULLSHIT!

This is EA we're talking about, don't you know that EA execs are allergic to profit, success and common sense?!

I agree with what he said. The games industry is not made up of just the big publishers, not by a long shot. A majority of the games on the market come from smaller studios, or even indie studios. If these studios don't get a fast return on their product within a few weeks (or even days) there is the very real possibility that these studios will be forced to shut down, and god knows we need as many jobs in this industry as we can get.

Also, I believe that buying a game does more than just expand your library, but it also supports the developers. I almost always buy games to support the publishers who make great games. It might mean I can buy less games overall, but I think that 1. I already have plenty of games in my library and 2. this generation's sense of entitlement is too big.

So overall, get over yourselves. Think: how many games in your library have you actually played, and how many have you actually finished?

EA still has to kow-tow to the retail guys, so of course they won't be able to offer the steep discounts, their retail partners would crawl up their butts.

Kayne Ruse:
I agree with what he said. The games industry is not made up of just the big publishers, not by a long shot. A majority of the games on the market come from smaller studios, or even indie studios. If these studios don't get a fast return on their product within a few weeks (or even days) there is the very real possibility that these studios will be forced to shut down, and god knows we need as many jobs in this industry as we can get.

Also, I believe that buying a game does more than just expand your library, but it also supports the developers. I almost always buy games to support the publishers who make great games. It might mean I can buy less games overall, but I think that 1. I already have plenty of games in my library and 2. this generation's sense of entitlement is too big.

So overall, get over yourselves. Think: how many games in your library have you actually played, and how many have you actually finished?

You are thinking about this in totally the wrong way. You think the little guys get hurt from the sales? They are the ones who do the BEST with the sales. Lets face it, life is tough for an indie developer. You struggle to find time and money to make your game, then once you do you have to make sure people hear about it, that it gets some coverage in the gaming press, and find partners to publish your game.

If you can get someone like Steam to publisher your game you are already half the way there. Look at the average price for an indie game on Steam, not even the sale price but the regular price. Between $9.99 and $14.99. They already know people aren't going to drop $60 on a new IP game from a new developer. So after their game has been out for awhile they will do a Steam sale, perhaps drop the price to $4.99. Now all sorts of people who had maybe heard of the game but weren't convinced to spend $14.99 will buy it. If they like it they will tell their friends, some of whom may end up buying the game. They have moved a ton more units so they may actually make more money for the duration of the sale than they were otherwise. There are several stories online that bear this out.

Bottom line, the developer does not have to let Steam discount their game, that much has been made public by Steam themselves. But after Steam shows them the numbers most jump at the chance. They wouldn't be doing this if it wasn't making them money, remember that.

Don't be fooled by EA's statements here. EA has a relationship it needs to maintain with retail to move all its console games. So they have to be careful about undercutting them or they will be in big trouble with their retail partners. Steam doesn't have that worry. So EA can't compete with Steam when it comes to these sales so the only thing they can do is throw a lot of FUD out there and try and convince people that sales like this are a bad thing. Fortunately most people aren't complete idiots so they see right through it.

It has nothing do with entitlement.

quote="Marv666" post="7.377755.14746784"]I think it would have been really silly for anybody to ever expect EA to do the kind of sales that steam does. Steam is able to do them for the same reason places like walmart and target can. When they put stuff on sale its not them that is eating the difference its the guys who made the product. EA on the other hand is the guy who paid to make the product.

The problem with steam sales is that they do hurt developers. Because of steam sales more people are willing to wait till the game goes on sale to buy it. Because of this you get less sales within the first couple months. Now this forces developers/publishers to agree to put there games on sale on steam just to make up the lost money. This leads to more people wanting to wait to buy games on sale. This leads to a never ending cycle of steam making tons of money and fucking over everybody who created the games.

It is different for small time indie developers though since they cant afford to advertise their games. They are forced to take a massive cut in profits just to get their game known.

Treblaine:
snip

Luckily though nearly every single one of your complains can be solved by not talking out of your ass and instead learning something about the situations.[/quote]

Marv666, I realize I'm reaching here but I'll say it, were you hired by EA? No if you have share Marv's opinon that doesn't put you on EA's payroll just please hear me out Ex EA employee's have admitted to creating accounts on EA's and other gaming sites forums largely to act as a sort of counterbalance to all of the inevitable negativity as well as hoping to sway some people to their way of thinking by posing as a "random passerby" instead of a largely faceless conglomerate. I bring this up because simply pu, if developers were getting shanked in any way by steam sales, they would bitch about it, developers these days seem to love bitching about things they don't like so imagining all the major studios and even the indie ones keeping mum about steam seems absurd. Hell there have been tales of how steam saved studios from bankruptcy (most famously the developer of Amnesia the dark descent) as well as how every time studios (for a while including EA) were asked about steams policies and how well it worked for them it was nothing but positive things. All in all Steam doesn't devalue games, GOG stays competitive by offering generally cheap prices (with the occasional sale) with additional goodies, Origin stays in business by having money and titles funneled through it by EA.

I appreciate the "value" of my products on Steam just fine. Idiot.

"Ohohoh! But no wun veel appreciate our products if vee do not give it so much 'VALUE', Ohhoho!"

Yeah, keep selling your digital products for $60+, EA. That'll teach 'em.

Do they just not understand how free market economics work?
Sure, they can keep prattling their prices at double Steam's or more and cite all the bullshit philosophical reasoning of value, etc. that they want.

But that's not how the market really works. People are going to go where they can get the products the cheapest, and Steam (in general) is where that happens.

I sorry but shut the hell up EA you just don't want to have cheap game sales on mass instead you want us the consumer to bend to your stupid out of date business practices which I don't understand cause steam makes fucking buckets full of money on steam sales.

I saw portal 2 on origin for 50 dollars.
It's twenty on steam.
Fuck logic.
If I want a game badly, I'll buy it when it comes out, If it's not a huge thing to me, I'll wait for the price to go down.
If it doesn't look like my cup of tea, I usually don't get it at all.
HOWEVER, steam, with its rampid sales, usually convinces me to buy a game I might not buy, effectivly increasing the amount of money I spend.
It's geneius.

EA needs to learn greed will get it no where.

It's just like cars! When the new models come out you keep the old models the same price so you don't devalue their worth! Or wait, what?

What this guy doesn't seem to acknowledge is that there are many people out there who don't have 60 dollars to throw out at every game they want to play. If there is a title I'm very excited about (Portal 2 for instance), I'm going to pre-order and even buy the Potato Sack just so I can get my grubby fingers on it a few hours early. However, if there is a game in a genre or series (Civ 5) that I have never played but am interested in, I'll probably wait for the price to drop before checking it out. If I don't like it, then no sweat, it was only 10 or twenty bucks. If I do like it though, I'll be very much more inclined to buy the next game in the series. And tell my friends how kick-ass it is and how they should buy it.

Here is the thing EA doesnt get. Not all games are worth 60 dollars. Hell. not all games are worth 20 dollars. However, really good games are worth a day 1 purchase.

Examples: Skyrim, Diablo 3, Guild Wars Factions Nightfall and Eye of the North, Dragon Age.

Examples of games that arent worth 5 bucks: Alpha Protocol, Far Cry 2, Wolfenstien.

Most other games fall in between. I regularly pick up games at 33% off on steam when they hit their very first sale, space marine, witcher 2, serious sam, batman arkham city.

the game industry needs to take a cue from every other entertianment industry and start putting out their product at a slight discount for the first week or two.

Andy Chalk:
-

How reliable is Gamesindustry.biz? Looking at their site, they seem fairly minor and not the sort of group I would think capable of interviewing the head of EA's Origin. If the interview is further outsourced by Games Industry, I can't seem to find where from.

Some will pay full price and get immediately.
Some will pay much less and get later.
Some people might be inclined to do either on a given title, but will prefer the latter if they expect a sale.

I have trouble believing that the third group is large enough to make the profits from sales to the second group not worth it for most titles.

MASTACHIEFPWN:
I saw portal 2 on origin for 50 dollars.
It's twenty on steam.
Fuck logic.
If I want a game badly, I'll buy it when it comes out, If it's not a huge thing to me, I'll wait for the price to go down.
If it doesn't look like my cup of tea, I usually don't get it at all.
HOWEVER, steam, with its rampid sales, usually convinces me to buy a game I might not buy, effectivly increasing the amount of money I spend.
It's geneius.

EA needs to learn greed will get it no where.

Portal 2 is not on Origin, is it? I can't find anywhere saying it is or has been. In fact, looking at the site now, there is no record of such a thing.

so, not so much evil per se, but more of an 'amoral' approach really

they're willing to do anything to protect the bottom line except doing things that don't directly protect the bottom line, like work in the interest of anybody else if that action isn't going to result in guaranteed (although still hypothetical anyway) revenue down the line

while this is technically how companies work, it also hamstrings their range of actions, and tends to ayn rand the crap out of studios they work with, if you can call using those studios as property that can be sacrificed for profit as working with somebody

which while once again they technically own, means that they have as much empathy for those employees as the printer or coffee machine

as for skyrim, i think people are excited to see what dawnguard's got in store

Origin boss is MASSIVELLY BUTTHURT.

I'm assuming he realised Steam is 10x the platform Origin will ever be.

A weak excuse to not drop their prices to a competitive level. I still can't understand why so many people talk about how Origin and Steam are basically the same when I can buy good games from steam at reasonable rates, while this guy talks about how having to compete is hurting his business. Boo-freaking-hoo. I've never been a valve fanboy or whatever, but it's hard to root for anyone else when this is the only other major contender on the market.

Games for Windows Live tried to be Stream and Microsoft has since abandoned the entire concept because it just wasn't working.

Steam commands the online games market for PC because it's an easy, unintrusive, fast and efficient system of getting games online.

They almost always have stuff for ridiculously cheap, often in bundles or related to other games, pre-orders with neat bonuses and discounts, and yes - if you have five or ten bucks there's something out there to suit your needs.

I'll never use Origin. My computer blocks it from running or sending me notifications, and anything from EA goes right into my spam box.

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.

Yeah, I'll be damned if that's 'something that actually benefits the interests of the consumer' and not 'something to forcefully attract customers, such as only selling our PC games on Origin under OUR price labels'.

Honestly, Digital Distribution is significantly cheaper than retail, why has the price not changed?[1] Hence, why I don't use Origin.

[1] because people buy it, so why change what seems to work.

Heh, I read the title as "Origin Boss is totes jelly of Steam".

I don't get it. EA has no moral standards at all. It's a proven fact that they're evil incarnate. So, if Steam's amazing attempts to wring every last dollar from me by enticing me to buy every single game I had even the slightest interest in are, as EA claims, actually bad for the industry; then why isn't EA all over that?

EA loves killing the industry, after all.

Marv666:
I said it earlier but the more often you put games on sale especially newer ones the more likely people are to wait a month or two and buy it when it is on sale instead of new. As this continues the problem only gets bigger and bigger. These are obviously not your week one sales people these are your month one and two guys. The economy being bad right now also serves to enlarge the issue.

The less sales a game gets in the first couple months the more likely they are to give in to the steam sales that caused them to have lower sales in the first place. This is the never ending cycle of doom that both EA and GOG were talking about when they say that steam sales are bad.

So sayeth the publisher -- that is, the guy that wants the market to stay the way it is now.

This could simply be the market adapting. More games are released at the same time, meaning consumers have to choose between one or the other under the current pricing model. That means we're more likely to have big winners and huge failures. Oddly enough, that's exactly what's happening.

This leads to the overwhelming sameness of the games coming out. If you want enough people to pay $60, you have to make it a sure bet. We're not talking quality, either. We're talking "make it a copy of a game that already succeeded." No changes, no risks, nothing new or different, just keep milking that cow until it's dry... well, it's drying out now.

The Steam sales and the casual microtransaction boom have proven that far more people will buy into games at a lower price. This is why so many games go free-to-play and see a massive increase in revenue. Why?

Because once the game is made, production costs for digitally-distributed games are done. You don't have to worry about disks, boxes, shipping, stocking, defects, or any of it. That means you no longer have to make an exact per-copy gain to stay in the black.

Steam sales aren't eroding the value of games. There hasn't been the least bit of data to back that up. But if EA and GOG want to see those deep discounts end, they're going to need more than empty conjecture based on the classic retail store model.

They're going to need to offer a lower starting price. $60 per copy has been, and remains, ridiculous to expect forever. Steam is simply proving there are droves of people waiting to get in, but that the current gate is shut a little too tight.

I think existance of Origin, infact whole EA cheapens whole gaming industry. By your logic, they should close shop. Lets not hold our breath on it though.

we're trying to give you a fair price point,

erm, no you dont. you take a fair price point, multiply it by 3 and then put it on sale.

maniacfox:
omg when's the last time this guy bought anything on Steam? it's always, always more expensive than a boxed copy. the only games that are cheap are indie titles that have no other real retail channel.

Wat. I'll just be over here hoping that you were being sarcastic, but in case you weren't: What the hell are you talking about?

Let's look at a popular example: How much does Skyrim cost in stores now? Still $60, you say? 'cuz it's been on sale on Steam no less than three times since its release for at least 33% off each time. Arkham City? Still around full price, you say? It's been on discount on Steam several times, too, most recently it was on sale along with its predecessor title as a bundle price. How about Assassin's Creed's newest PC titles? I don't even know off the top of my head how many times that franchise has gone on sale. And the list only continues from there.

And that's just individual sales. Do box-selling stores offer major sales on over a dozen major developers' entire shelf of products at least twice per year, with discounts ranging from 33-75%? Hell no, they're often still selling console games for $50-60 several years after the initial release! But Steam has massive winter and summer sales events in which the products of a number of developers, such as Ubisoft, ArenaNet, Square Enix, and so on are all on sale for at least 33% off. And they also have "Developer Weeks" throughout the year in which one specific developer's titles are focused on, with a new title in their roster going on sale each day.

About the only way your post could be more wrong is if you had posted that Origin is a better deal than Steam.

My first thought when I read the title of the article on the front page:

Also, Andy, I'm not so sure about your double negatives...

nikki191:

Scrumpmonkey:

i bought amnesia through a steam sale and i like it. if not for that sale i wouldn't of purchased it.

as for EA the comments coming out of EA's PR and marketing department lately is like watching monkeys use tools for the very first time

First off kudos on avatar (big fan myself : P) but more on topic; EA seems to think it can say anything it feels like and not have people laugh in it's face. There are two options as to why this is;

Option 1; EA knows its full of shit and is trying to save face; Let us hope this is true because the argument could kind of make sense, kind of, if you only squint real hard, focus on one narrow aspect of steam sales and turn your brain off. But with the comments they have come out with their haven't justified shit. It would seem to be "We don't want a sale because we don't feel like it. Kindly fuck off". This is, sadly, the better option as we shall see;

Option 2; EA actually believes it's own PR excretions; This is also plausible and actually a little sad. The baffling views EA keeps expressing (especially when it comes the Dig Dist and Origin) could actually be what the company really thinks and how its management really sees the world. I actually think this is very likely as the decisions it keeps making and language EA keeps using would hint that they really are this horribly and roundly out of touch with reality, sanity and decency.

I'm not going to go into the gaping holes and hypocrisy in their argument here but suffice to say its glaringly obvious. EA needs a financial reality check and hopefully consumers will give them a great big kick in the only place they care about; their wallets.

One guy buying the game at 60$ is better than 20 guys buying it at 20$?

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...

I was kind of thinking the same thing. I'll listen to GOG over EA any day because of the 2 big differences between the distribution systems.

1) No DRM or applications to deal with. You download an exe file, install your game, and that is the last you ever need to deal with GOG if you so desire, so long as you keep the exe file handy. It's the most consumer-friendly distribution system possible. EA is too scared of the pirates to do something like that.

more importantly:
2) Until recently GOG didn't have a single game over $10, which is a pretty fair price for most games. On top of that, they also run sales ranging from 40-60% off the price of the games involved (Including their Christmas sale, where they discount almost every game on the site), so they weren't so much saying that sales in general hurt the industry, they were saying that 90% off is excessive and may make people think that even $5 is too much to pay for a game, which could hurt the industry in the long run.

Of course, if more people have access to games because of the low barrier to entry that Steam sales provide, perhaps we'll see more people willing to invest in the $60 games, meaning the potential salvation of the industry in spite of the stuffed shirts at EA.

It could go either way. The only certainty is that when money's tight I'd rather spend my last $60 on a bunch of games that are likely to collectively entertain me for 100's of hours than on one that will probably outlive its welcome in 40-50.

I like Steam and GOG and own more games on both than I will ever be able to fully enjoy in a lifetime. If EA makes some smart decisions, maybe I'll buy into Origin, too, but I doubt it the way things are looking.

This is why Origin can't compete against Steam. Steam's Daily Deals may not be that great most of the time but atleast they try. EA doesn't even try to give consumers a good deal. Plus I find the interface to be confusing.

Oh well, probably for the best anyway, EA might turn the download servers off for any given game in 6 months and you will no longer be able to download a game you bought from them.

I can see his point here and he has said don't count out there being sales on origin just not the crazy sales that you get on steam cause I imagine they could end up hurting smaller developers in the future.

They wouldn't have them if they didn't make lots of moneys. It might cheapen the game for the buyer but when the devs get that cheque they wont be giving a shit. Jealous man is trying to stir shit.

I think Origin are wrong, but you are also wrong to think this is a retail affair.

The App Store is probably one of the most famous bottomed out markets around at the moment. It's hard to sell a game for more than $1. The ease of dropping prices probably actually makes this more likely to happen in a digital market.

Saying that, that's why Steam do sales and not just price drops.

Sure, there have been times when a game is massively undervalued due to steam discounts... but it also means that people will try out games that they otherwise would not have due to their price sensitivities. It's a good way to get surplus sales from people who aren't that interested but are willing to try something out when a sale comes along. Steam won't go against devs' wishes to sell their game at a certain price threshold.

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