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Origin aiming to be "better version" of Steam

Origin wants to be Facebook to Steam's MySpace

EA's Origin online store wants to be a "better version" of the current downloadable game king, Valve's Steam service. EA senior vice president of global commerce David DeMartini told MCV that Origin is on "a path of constant improvement."

"There are better mousetraps that ultimately get built out of this innovation and the only way you get to the innovation is to have other people try and do a better version of what someone has previously done. And that's what we're attempting to do on Origin," said DeMartini.

"If MySpace had stayed the one answer in social networking and no one switched to Facebook, then we'd all be stuck on MySpace right now and we wouldn't have had the Facebook phenomenon."

"We're on a path of constant improvement. I didn't expect to be able to out-feature Steam within the first 12 months. But I'm quite optimistic we will differentiate ourselves as a service. We've built the foundation and now we are starting to add value to the service off of that foundation."

EA was slammed by some fans for pulling Crysis 2 from Steam after Origin's launch, but the move to keep some of its biggest titles on Origin has obviously helped in the long run.

"If twelve months ago you would tell me we'd be in the conversation, I would have been pretty happy. And when you look at the fact that over 12 million people have downloaded Origin, we have over fifty partners that have flocked to the service in less than twelve months, and we did over $150 million in revenue, which represented 400 percent growth over the previous year - those numbers show we are making huge progress."

"EA is in a really interesting place. We have this bar that is set so high, so that whether it is any of our games or services, we want to be 90 plus Metacritic at everything. Origin is moving in that direction. We are not there yet. We understand that. But we are going to get there soon."

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Latest comments (19)

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 8 years ago

1) David DeMartini, you're a laughing stock of a man. Your "Steam Sales Cheapen IP" comment is now a running joke on the internet. How can anyone take what you say seriously, especially when you compare Steam to MySpace?

2) "I didn't expect to be able to out-feature Steam within the first 12 months"

Seriously, people have to actually call EA and DeMartini on this. EA have had the basic infrastructure for almost 7 years. The name-change to Origin happened twelve months ago. For something that has been in existence 7 years, "Origin" is shockingly poor.

Edit to add:

Apparently, behind-the-scenes EADM and Origin are "different beasts". I notice no real difference between them, but obviously I cannot speak from a dev perspective, so am willing to be corrected by Mats.

3) ""If MySpace had stayed the one answer in social networking and no one switched to Facebook, then we'd all be stuck on MySpace right now and we wouldn't have had the Facebook phenomenon." "

So, drive forward a better service. Provide real competition, not just name-calling Steam, and actually do something - any single thing - that is catagorically better than Steam. And don't treat your consumers like morons just because they want to buy games cheaper than you're selling them. Some EA published games are actually cheaper on Steam than Origin. You can't tell me that's the action of a) someone with good business sense, and b) a company that is trying to be innovative.

There's been no substantial updates in how Origin delivers content, or how the UI works. It's still the same as it was since its relaunch 12 months ago. It still lacks basic features, as compared with Steam. The mere fact that you can't gift other people games on Origin is the most appaling oversight ever. A feature that's existed on Steam for years, a feature that would provide a substantial revenue increase for EA, and it's nowhere to be seen. Words just fail me. DeMartini seems ot think that just because there's more third-party publishers using Origin, that this makes things better. Well, it doesn't - not when those games are as expensive or moreso than Steam, anyway.


DeMartini's words remind me of Peter Moore's in this interview

"I think the fans, the people that have to use it in the early going, are the ones that get it last in regards to what we are trying to do."

Implicit in everything I read about Origin is EA begging to be given more time to make Origin better. To provide real services. To get as good as Steam. And it's just tiring and sad to watch. EA come across as being petty and jealous of Steam. This whole article is pointless - of course EA want Origin to be a better version of Steam. The fact is, it isn't, which is why there's the constant PR, and the constant belittling of Steam.

(wall of text is... wall-like. Sorry. :) )

Edited 5 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 24th June 2012 12:38pm

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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers8 years ago
Origin might the latest in a line of ways to download EA products, but to my understanding it's the first real service akin to Steam that's more than just a downloader. Maybe I'm mistaken on this, but it was my understanding that EA wasn't trying to approximate Steam on their own until they launched origin.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 8 years ago
No, that's entirely true. But, surely that's the point? EA sat on EADM for 5 and half years, trying to work out what to do with it, whilst Steam grew. They watched digital distro and retail grow and grow (with help from D2D, GMG and Impulse) and then, eventually, decided that they should try and make a service that was maybe worthwhile. And the only reason they're doing it is for financial reasons (again, reading this article alongside the EA Stock Price article-and-comments is interesting). Not for consumer reasons. There was no vision at EA about EADM - if there was, they would've noted every single one of Steam's successes and failings, and delayed the release of Origin for a few months to pack in some of the Steam success stories (like gifting). No vision until the Origin announcement.

In short, both as a consumer and as a writer, I find EA have lacked business-sense with their handling of EADM/Origin. So it's galling to have to watch DeMartini and Moore trying convince people that there's a vision now, and improvements in the pipeline. As a writer I think EA is slow-witted, as a consumer, I ask them why I should wait to spend my money with them, when the Steam Summer Sale should be starting next week. :)
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Show all comments (19)
Mats Holm Battlefront Producer, Electronic Arts8 years ago
Morville, we all know you hate EA, even on posts that have no mention of EA you are more than willing to start the EA flamefest, but you are very much mistaken that Origin is a reskinned EA Downloader. Having worked on EADM, and seen all background stuff in my CS days, and now what Origin is, they are a very different beast. You might as well argue that a Google account is just a gmail account with a fresh layer of paint.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 8 years ago

I used EADM before Origin. I saw no difference between the two. If you say there is, then okay. I think the key point is
Having worked on EADM, and seen all background stuff in my CS days, and now what Origin is, they are a very different beast.
To me as a consumer, I see no difference. Obviously, I can't speak from a dev perspective.

Also, I honestly don't hate EA, and I don't recall ever starting a flamefest , nor mentioning them when they're not at least tangentially related to the topic at hand. Heaven Forbid I start getting like Bruce Everiss. :p

In a way, I can see why people might think I hate them. But really and truly, they annoy me, because they could do so much more - with Origin, with their IP, with the studios that they have under-their-wing. So, no, not hate, just annoyance. :)

Edit to add:

Even if you remove my comment about EADM being the same as Origin, my comments still stand, I think? Unless you think otherwise? I'd be pleased to be corrected by someone who actually knows the thing, to be honest, rather than just someone hyping up the thing. :)

Further edit to add:

Just installed v5.00 of EADM. Good gravy that thing looks old. :p I'll concede that Origin does have improvement over that version, including better UI, Friends List and ability to pull profiles in from PSN/XBL and Facebook. :)

Edited 6 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 24th June 2012 1:11pm

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Robb Lewis Director of Marketing and Consumer Products, PlaySpan8 years ago
If Origin expands the available games catalog including both EA and third party titles, ideally exclusives, could Origin realistically capture a significant share of market from Steam? Or would user just use both?
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 8 years ago
@ Robb

I, personally, think gamers would use both. Unless Valve do something drastic, they've won the hearts-and-minds of a lot of people for a long time. No-one's going to turn away from Steam without a reason to act negatively towards them. So, I think the best that EA can hope for is that PC gamers buy from both Steam and Origin. The manner of EA's leveraging of Origin means that people don't view it as a better service, but more a requirement. In this way, people seem to think of Origin in the same way as DRM.

But, hey, that's just my opinion. For all my valid arguments up there ^, Mats seems to think I'm just a hater, so take what I say with a pinch of salt. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 24th June 2012 11:59pm

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Keldon Alleyne Strategic Keyboard Basher, Avasopht Development8 years ago
Facebook addressed the many problems MySpace had. It wasn't just trying to be a better MySpace, it was trying to be the best tool for connecting with people, period. So far Facebook has pretty much replaced the reliance on chat and email for communication between friends and had a massive effect on social gaming, creating a new market of its own in the process.

If Origin just wants to be a "better version of Steam" it will fall flat on its face, it has to at least have some perspective of what it wants to make better and easier for the user. They have to focus on the user, not the user base.
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Kingman Cheng Illustrator and Animator 8 years ago
And still the 'cheapening IP incident' will be echoing for a long time to come.
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Alfonso Sexto Lead Tester, Ubisoft Germany8 years ago
If I find something of interest in Origin I will download it and, just as Morville said, use both. I only care about games (That is why I spend money in my two consoles and my quite powerful gaming PC) and that is what most of the gamers will do (excluding fanboys and zealots).

It's as easy as: If EA offers a good service I'm in, but they'll have to offer something appealing for me to make that step; at the end personal preferences is what matters.
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Thomas Dolby Project Manager / Lead Programmer, Ai Solve8 years ago
This man is a joke, he reminds me of that scrawny kid in school who runs around saying he could beat anyone in a fight. Someone get the stage hook and get him off the headlines please.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Thomas Dolby on 25th June 2012 12:53pm

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David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers8 years ago
I can agree with the sentiment that if EA was going to do something like Origin, it probably would have been better to do it a few years ago rather than last year. Still, things can't be changed now - EA is doing what it can with what it has, and after they reported sales of $150 million total on the service, they're probably pretty satisfied with that.
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Jarret Redding Executive Editor, Mash Those Buttons8 years ago
Steams success comes from more than just Steam sales. One of their major draws is how community centric Valve is. This is something I doubt EA can compete with. From a community standpoint anytime they take a step forward it, won't be too long before they take a step back.

Companies always put a confident face forward, but I do hope they have someone on the inside really looking at the differences between ORIGIN and Steam and not just some yes man saying they are doing just fine.
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Craig Page El Presidente, Awesome Enterprises8 years ago
That's funny, I just uninstalled Origin a couple hours before reading this. I have no use for it anymore since I'm done with Battlefield and SWTOR, and I don't trust EA's billing department enough to ever purchase anything from them again.
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Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic 8 years ago
@ Craig

I uninstalled Origin to install the old EADM I found. Uninstalled that after poking it, but still haven't reinstalled Origin. The only game I use it for is BF3, and none of the rest of my mini-clan play it right now, so will probably just remove BF3 until they do.

No loss for me, to be honest.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 25th June 2012 5:40pm

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EA has no decent sales, they have a forced advert which you cant turn off, being forced to have to use origin for SWTOR and BF3 was annoying enough, being then forced to see an advert on my own pc for games I don't pay for is offensive, if I could ditch origin, I would instantly as long as origin exists and you are forced to use it for certain games rather then enticed to use it and adverts are forced as well, no one will want to use it.

I will never buy a game available via any other medium inc. steam via origin unless origin does a complete 360 u-turn, separates itself from games which should be offered cross-delivery platform (ie bf3 on steam for instance, no swtor requirement for origin), and offers decent sales, not to mention make up for all the time to date it has forced people to use it and not offered decent sales, until that happens I will stick to the above policy, no one likes being forced to use something let alone forced to use something with adverts in it that unlike steams you cant turn off, and I had EADM for a few years before Origin I actually didn't mind it I even bought a couple of games of it, why because no one forced me to do so, and it was a convenient way to buy games not available yet on steam.

However as soon as I was forced to begin using origin, eadm's replacement it became a different matter now I vehemently dislike it specially since ever other time an advert spawns on launch that im forced to waste my time disposing of, that's plain offensive, I can block every other advert not on a billboard in my life, I watch recorded tv shows so I can fast forward through adverts, I run ad blockers on all my browsers, I have steam's launch "notification" adverts turned off, and I don't play games with obtrusive in-game advertisement or if I do only if they offer a way around it by going premium or some such deal, but because of EA one advert I cant avoid, I find adverts an offensive waste of my time, if I want something I'll go search for it, only when I'm looking for something do I want to see adverts (normally goggle ads are fine by me) sometimes I'll check out a youtube video on something, I got sick a few years ago of seeing hours of adverts a week to watch a bit of tv and browse the net, every 15-20 minutes in most tv shows you get interrupted for more inane attempts to part with your cash for some drivel you likely don't need or want and even initially funny ones grow real boring the 900th time you've seen it, so I went advert free and I like it, so yeah I hate adverts and I hate being forced to use something I dont want with something I do.., and I'm not alone.
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Abraham Tatester Producer 8 years ago
On the plus side for DeMartini, at least he's changed his phrasing from "12 million users" to "over 12 million people have downloaded Origin." God knows the vast majority of those only downloaded it because they had to in order to play BF3, ME3, etc.; and those people would not necessarily qualify as "users"—at least not in the sense of "active" (or voluntary) users.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Abraham Tatester on 26th June 2012 2:10am

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Lisa Pham Owner at Calipip-Sims 8 years ago
To be honest, there isn't a lot of differences between Steam and Origin technically but if there was only those to choose from, I'd hand my money to Steam, simply because although neither rate as consumer friendly, at least Steam are more consumer focused than EA has been for a very long time. I think they actually stopped being consumer focused when they started buying up the competition and then destroying those games and then started introducing SecuROM without fully understanding what it would mean to their HONEST consumers/fans and not notifying them of what was being sneaked into the games (ME, Sims2, Spore, etc...)
It's a shame really because if they had done things right, they would probably be the most loved gaming company instead of the most hated.

And the only reason they have 12 mil people who have downloaded and installed Origin is because many were forced to do so, even for older games etc, that doesn't even require Origin and Origin wasn't even in existence when those games were released. So those numbers are NOTHING to brag about.

That's my 2cents anyway.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Lisa Pham on 26th June 2012 2:39am

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Wayne Gibson UK Marketing Manager for 8 years ago
I use Steam everyday and am constantly checking their sales/discounts for bargins. I logged into Origin two days ago after 3 months to update BF3 and ME3.

Says it all really.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Wayne Gibson on 26th June 2012 3:55pm

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