Origin faces backlash from core gamers, but so did Steam, says EA.
If you’ve been paying attention to the gaming scene over the last few months, you’ve probably noticed that Origin, the Electronic Arts digital distribution platform, is not very popular ’round these parts. Whether or not the backlash is warranted, EA has taken a few steps towards addressing gamers’ concerns that Origin is not as friendly a platform as Valve’s analogous Steam service. EA acknowledges that it has had its share of difficulties trying to appease core gamers, but believes that Origin is on the right track with new initiatives like offering to list crowd-funded games for free.
“The hardcore sometimes has issues with Origin, but they seem to love these crowd-funded games,” says David DeMartini, chief of Origin at EA. “It was one of the few things we have done that wasn’t controversial and nobody had anything negative to say.” Judging by some of the reactions on this very site, DeMartini has a somewhat liberal definition of “nobody.” At the same time, Origin’s embrace of indie developers does seem to have fostered some goodwill for the sometimes-controversial service. “Origin represents a change,” DeMartini adds, “and anytime EA does something that is significant in the industry, it generates a certain amount of reaction.”
While Steam seems to be the go-to digital distribution service these days, DeMartini is quick to point out that its status as the darling of PC gamers everywhere is a relatively recent development. “People forget that when Steam launched, there was a lot of backlash from the core,” he explains. Whether gamers’ ire with Origin will ever peter out is hard to tell at this point, but between its support for crowd-funded games and the soothing, curative powers of time and hindsight, the hardcore crowd may have to eventually find something new to hate. Then again, EA has been wrong before.