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Newell: EA's Origin shouldn't be a "zero sum game"

Valve managing director expresses concern over Origin game exclusives

Valve's Gabe Newell has advised EA that creating a digital distribution platform for its customers should not be "a zero sum game."

Speaking on the Seven Day Cooldown Podcast - as reported by Eurogamer - Newell addressed EA's decision to make a number of key releases exclusive to its Origin service.

"We'd love to have their games on Steam. We think their customers would be happy if their games were on Steam. We tell them that on a regular basis," he said.

"I think EA wants to take their shot at building their own alternative to Steam, and if they're successful at that and their customers like that then that's great.

"As we learn about this stuff we're all going to be making things better for other gamers. Tim Sweeney [Epic Games] doesn't look at Steam and say 'F***, we shouldn't support that because that will hurt long term sales of the Unreal Engine'. He's like, 'that's pretty cool, that's pretty useful.' So hopefully EA get their head to the same place."

Newell initially seemed reluctant to respond to questions regarding his thoughts on Origin, but he eventually conceded that EA wasn't, "doing anything super well yet."

"They have a bunch of smart people working on it but I think they're still playing catch up to a lot of people who have been working in the space for a while. I think they're recognising what the challenges are with building and scaling out this kind of system.

"That's not to say they won't build stuff in the future that is useful to software developers or to gamers, but they haven't done that yet."

Newell made his debut on Forbes' annual billionaire list this year. The magazine estimated his wealth at at least $1.5 billion due to his minimum 50 per cent share of Valve, which receives a significant amount of its revenue from Steam.

In February, EA revealed that Origin generated $100 million for the company last year. However, COO Peter Moore believes that the service needs at least two years to reach its potential.

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Matthew Handrahan avatar
Matthew Handrahan: Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.
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