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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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Matt Martin


Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.