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EA confirms more platform exclusives for Origin

Online retail store will benefit from unique content; EA aims to be "the worldwide leader in digital publishing"

Electronic Arts has confirmed that it will release more titles digitally exclusive to its Origin service, as well as offer unique content for games sold via Origin to distinguish them from releases on competing services.

However, the aggressive move isn't a sign EA is ready to ditch its other digital partners such as Direct2Drive and Impulse, as it still intends to reach the widest audience possible through other retailers.

"We are going to continue to be great partners for our retail channel partners as they evolve their business models to account for digital," Frank Gibeau, president of EA Games, told GamesIndustry.biz.

"But at the same time you talk about platform exclusives like Halo or Uncharted, EA's going to have some of our own platform exclusives."

At the same time you talk about platform exclusives like Halo or Uncharted, EA's going to have some of our own platform exclusives

Frank Gibeau, EA Games

The publisher has already confirmed forthcoming MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic will only be available digitally from Origin, with Gibeau admitting it's using the Bioware title to attract new consumers to the rebooted service.

"In the case of Star Wars we're trying to build an audience for Origin. And it's also an opportunity for us to better manage the downloads and how we bring people over from the beta and that sort of thing. For a lot of reasons it made sense for an MMO, which is a highly complex deployment.

"I think long-term you'll see we believe in reach so we will have other digital retailers for out products because we want to reach as many audiences as possible.

"But at the same time if we can use exclusive content or other ideas to help grow our audience then we're going to do that because we're growing a platform," added Gibeau.

The recently released Crysis 2 has been removed from Valve's Steam service, and other PC versions of titles including Alice: Madness Returns are being positioned as "only on Origin" on the official website.

But EA wants to get across the message that Origin is more than a retail site, and will evolve with community features borne from the company's history in games creation.

"For us it's really about, we're the worldwide leader in packaged goods publishing, we'd like to be the worldwide leader in digital publishing.

"And we think that EA has unique strengths there related to what we can do with our content, because we're a content creator as well as a retailer in this business. But in general it's not just a retail site, it's a community, it's a platform, it has traits much like you see with Steam or PSN or Xbox Live, but it's unique to EA.

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Latest comments (33)

Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments5 years ago
How annoying this is will depend on how they pitch it - blizzard already has their own digital download setup, but you hardly notice it's there (no separate launcher to run or anything). If publishers all start expecting you to have their equivalent of steam running all the time, this may get annoying...
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
I would like to know, bearing in mind Crysis 2 and the new Alice game are EA partners titles, not in house developments and with some of the cost covered by Crytek /Spicy Horse rather than all paid for by EA, do Crytek think this is a good idea. It would be disgusting if this move was made without consulting Crtek and the others, and it really should be trialed on EA's own developments first, not games where a lot of the risk sits elsewhere. Try it out on Fifa or Need for Speed or Dead Space.
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Martin Shannon-Smith Motion Designer 5 years ago
I agree with you to a point Neil but people want convenience, that's what digital downloads are all about. The reason Steam is so popular is that it offers the convenience of all the games you want in one place. I don't want a different app or program installed on my PC for every publisher. I can't speak for Blizzard's downloader since I've never used it, but one thing I can say is that any game I've bought that required EA's download manager got played once and has never been reinstalled because I just don't want/need my computer filled up will silly little apps like that.

This seems like such a money move. EA could simply keep their games on steam at their current price and then just offer them at a slightly lower price on Origin to encourage people to buy direct from them. That way, people like me who already have a large library of games on Steam would have the option of buying there (at a small premium) whilst others who just want a good deal could buy direct from EA. But why do that when you can just alienate a large portion of your customer base to try and scrape out an extra few dollars per game?

As for having 'platform exclusives' I think EA have shown a fundamental lack of understanding about the PC audience. I love consoles but have always primarily been a PC gamer. One thing I've always hated about consoles is that if I want to play all the best games, I need a pile of consoles in the corner of my living room instead of just my console of choice. I have never once thought to myself "I wish PC gaming were more like this. I always felt like my desktop needed to be cluttered up with another half dozen needless icons for services I might only use to buy one game a year"
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Show all comments (33)
Loris Rio Marketing Assistant, Riot Games5 years ago
OMG EA what are you doing....I get the decision from a "board of director/ investors" point of view, but from a player/consumer point of view this is just so wrong.....I was planing to buy Crysis 2 from Steam (I just got the internet back after 3 months) and now I'll just skip the game... Do they really think pulling off their games from Steam will drag all the players to their own platform??

If it works, well done EA  but for now I’m really doubtful about this move, and as a consumer I am extremely pissed at this. As I absolutely don’t want to install another platform, my only choices as a gamer are going to either by a retail version of an EA game or just skip it (Crysis 2 I’ll never get the chance to play you…)
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Alan Pierce Programmer, Digital Delight5 years ago
"as it still intends to reach the widest audience possible" But yet they remove games from Steam.

Nothing has changed for me. Any games that aren't on Steam, I will buy the physical copy.

It seems that it's going to be EA vs (everybody else on Steam), and that's not a very sensible battle on EA's part.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
If this proves to be a bad move, how long will they stick with it?
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David Spender Lead Programmer 5 years ago
fragmentation is bad.

competition is good.

i'm confused.

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Barla Von Designer 5 years ago
Their £ and € prices are fucking ridiculous. 35£ = 50€? Screw you EA.
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Neil Alphonso Lead Designer, Splash Damage Ltd5 years ago
EA is bringing Origin back, I'm so excited!!

oh.
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Barla Von Designer 5 years ago
From the origin store:
"Crysis(R) 2

Available as Direct Download
£34.99 incl. VAT
Platform: PC"

go fuck yourselves EA.
£34.99 - for a digital copy?
asshats.
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Neil Young Programmer, Rebellion Developments5 years ago
@Martin - I wasn't making a case for fragmentation - my point was that separate digital download services aren't a problem as long as they're done right. I've not used the EA one, so can't comment on it directly.
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Abraham Tatester Producer 5 years ago
I'd love to see the business cases for this decision and the bricks-and-mortar EA Sports stores. Both decisions seem so against common sense. As others have said, taking games off of Steam does nothing but decrease the likelihood that I will buy them.
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Andrew Goodchild Studying development, Train2Game5 years ago
@David. Competition is good. I can go and buy baked beans from one of several supermarkets, or my local corner store, but I don't really want to go to the new Heinz store which only sells Beans, soup and Ketchup becuase they stop selling in Tescos.people can choose services other than Steam, but now the ones that don't want to can't buy it on Steam, and have to download a client where you can only buy EA games if they want to or not. And it's not promoting competition, as it is the only place you can buy that product.
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Vitalii Moskalets Game Designer, GameLoft5 years ago
And after such news, everyone believes that OnLive and cloud gaming services is the future of games??? Very funny...
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Vincent Riemer Games Writer, Icrontic.com5 years ago
While I don't think it was the best idea to remove Crysis 2 from steam, I applaud them for actually "going all in" with their download service. With steam being the digital distribution juggernaut that it is, anything less than "all in" would be unacceptable.
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Daniel Vardy Studying HND IT, De Montfort University5 years ago
all the most popular games are located on Steam and are not made by EA. for me, the EA store is something i wouldnt be touching anyways since they no longer have a catalog of good games i want.
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I can't see this ending well for consumers or EA...I think I'll avoid EA's games for a bit.
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Nick McCrea Gentleman, Pocket Starship5 years ago
I can't really blame them for trying to get into digital retail. It makes sense to make an attempt at carving out a rival to Steam. At least EA has the games stable to get some decent exclusives, which was is a problem for Microsoft's GFWL effort. Of course there is great resistance from consumers towards multiple stores, for a variety of reasons - people don't want to have multiple clients clogging up their machines, they've sunk a huge amount of investment into Steam etc. It's noticeable that in the music industry, before some different business models started to emerge (Spotify etc), iTunes was relatively unchallenged in the digital downloads arena.

I think we simply are looking at a future where digital retail is more fragmented, as undesirable as that is from a consumer point of view. It might take something more disruptive to shake things up a bit - I could have envisioned OnLive as something like the Spotify of the games world, but I think they're being hobbled by the triumverate of cost, performance, and a poor catalogue / lack of publisher support (and this may never change, with so many big publishers now having skin in the digital retail game).
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Ankit Bansal Assistant Manager - Testing, iEnergizer Inc.5 years ago
I know that Digital Download is the future but they should not make games as "Digital Download Only". I prefer a Collector's Edition game disc along with a nice box art and goodies, gives a sense of possession and always good to add in your games display.

EA should continue with the EADM/Origin feature of buying a Retail Disc and activating the Key on it to get a digital copy.
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Erick Mendonça5 years ago
I didn't like it.
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Andrea D'Orta5 years ago
I am not totally convinced the disappearance of Crysis 2 from Steam is entirely down to EA. It doesnt make sense to kill one profitable channel and to leave it on others like D2D. I suspect it is down to some "retaliation" from Valve or some ongoing new terms negotiation. I wouldnt be surprised to see it back on.
In any case I am not suprised of EA move and I am sure we will see more publishers doing the same in the near future. Premium SKU will be the way for publishers to go direct leaving the standard edition to other channels. This has been done already at retail.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Andrea D'Orta on 15th June 2011 7:12pm

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Aidan Fitzpatrick Artist 5 years ago
@ Barla Von
erm... did you just copy and paste my comment from Eurogamer?
:O
[link url=http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-06-15-ea-origin-compares-to-xbl-psn-steam
]http://www.eurogamer.net/articles/2011-0...[/link]
"actionfitz
15/06/11 @ 15:06
#12
+13
From the origin store:
"Crysis(R) 2

Available as Direct Download
£34.99 incl. VAT
Platform: PC"

go fuck yourselves EA.
£34.99 - for a digital copy?
asshats."

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Aidan Fitzpatrick on 15th June 2011 7:49pm

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Alan Pierce Programmer, Digital Delight5 years ago
hahahahah +£5 What are they thinking?

I guess they know that less people are going to buy it now.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Alan Pierce on 15th June 2011 8:02pm

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Lee Dewhurst Assistant Editor, SDS Digital Media5 years ago
In that case they should also make their own retail stores because game are taking some of their profits! :O
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Frankie Kang Producer / Consultant, First Post LLC5 years ago
Sigh. I was looking forward to purchasing Battlefield 3 through Steam. I guess I'll just have to buy a boxed copy and sync it.
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Roland Austinat roland austinat media productions|consulting, IDG, Computec, Spiegel Online5 years ago
"The publisher has already confirmed forthcoming MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic will only be available digitally from Origin"

Not a smart move. What about a Jedi/Sith Collector's Edition? Throwing away money that freely?
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Alan Pierce Programmer, Digital Delight5 years ago
I think they mean the only digital avenue is Origin.
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Jamie Watson Studying Bachelor of Games & Interactive Entertainment, Queensland University of Technology5 years ago
well then guess ill stick to buying retail.. (i am going to for BF3)

good idea EA but if this doesn't work...
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Julian Cram Producer 5 years ago
@ Vincent - it appears you are correct!

EA reps tell Kotaku that it was Steam’s “business terms” that resulted in Crysis 2 being removed from Valve’s platform.

“It’s unfortunate that Steam has removed Crysis II from their service,” reads a statement from the publisher. “This was not an EA decision or the result of any action by EA.”

“Steam has imposed a set of business terms for developers hoping to sell content on that service – many of which are not imposed by other online game services. Unfortunately, Crytek has an agreement with another download service which violates the new rules from Steam and resulted in its expulsion of Crysis II from Steam. ”

“Crysis II continues to be available on several other download services including Origin.com.”

Kotaku has contacted Valve seeking clarification on Steam’s business terms and the future availability of EA games through Steam.


[link url=http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/06/ea-says-it-was-valve-who-expelled-crysis-2-from-steam/#more-451400
]http://www.kotaku.com.au/2011/06/ea-says...[/link]
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Klaus Preisinger Freelance Writing 5 years ago
Online shops are quickly becoming as plentiful and as annoying as auto-installing toolbars.

Their launches are swarmed with dubious statements and marketing lies and at the same time riddled with bad grammar. A statement trying to say that a digital version of the game will only be available on origin, will often sound as if there was only a digital version on a digital platform and nothing else. The exact same thing happened early this week to ArenaNet when suddenly people were mass tweeting that they too were not selling any retail box, which is, of course, bollocks.

Worst of all for the customer is that no matter how many online shops there are, there seems to be no pressure on prices or any competition. It is like having ten overpriced fashion boutiques all of a sudden, instead of two.
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Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis5 years ago
While games have been pulled from STEAM there are other digital retailers with EA games on them. Direct2Drive being the one that springs to mind and has Crysis 2 (£27.95).

Then of course you have the physical copy. You can link either version into STEAM as a non-STEAM title and launch it from there if thats how you prefer to launch your games.
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Björn Loesing Producer, OnnetCorp5 years ago
In light of the recent hacking attacks, I'll certainly not leave my credit card details with yet another store. If I really want to buy a game digitally, it'll be via Steam.

For my and for EA's sake, I hope that I'll be able to find two English retail boxes for SWTOR here in Germany - otherwise this translates into lost sales on a base level.


Seriously, I get the lure with exclusive content (such as fancy new hats for your characters), but I think refusing to sell a game on other major digital download platforms is a rather idiotic move. Unless they're setting SWTOR up to fail, which would be a shame. Hello, memories of Warhammer!
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Konstantin Hohl5 years ago
I guess form a marketing point of view origin is very attractive if it works... You have direct control over the price, marges and costs. Furthermore you have the opportunity to bind the customers with social features.

However, the success of exlusive, highly anticipated games like SWTOR is going to be crucial for origin to build up a user-base and survive...
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