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Valve Boss: EA Origin Isn't ''Doing Anything Super-Well Yet''

By - Source: Gamasutra | B 49 comments

Gabe Newell had quite a few things to say about EA's Origin service on the Seven Day Cooldown podcast.

EA’s download distribution service, Origin, essentially a makeover for the old EA Store, launched the summer of last year. Although EA assured that the service wasn’t meant to be a competitor for Valve’s Steam, curiously, various EA titles became “Origin” exclusive or disappeared off of Steam’s virtual shelves. EA pointed an accusing finger at Steam, blaming Steam’s download policies for EA’s title’s removal. In all but words, EA is going for a bout of fisticuffs with Valve.

Valve head Gabe Newell had some interesting things to say about Origin. When asked on the Seven Day Cooldown podcast about his thoughts on the Origin service, Newell stated, “I don’t think they’re [Origin] doing anything super-well yet.” He believes that Origin, since it’s still relatively new to the market as a digital distribution service, is at a disadvantage because “they’re still playing catch up” and as a result, they’ve yet to really build anything that’s “useful to software developers or gamers.”

However, Newell did have some positive comments about EA as well. He stated that Valve would still want EA’s games on Steam’s virtual shelves, but if “EA wants to take their shot at their own alternative to Steam, and if they’re successful at that and their customers like that then that’s great.” He hopes that EA will listen to Valve’s advice that bringing EA games to Steam would please Valve customers, after all, “Tim Sweeney [Epic Games founder] doesn't look at Steam and say '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.”

EA and Origin have been facing a lot of criticism from fans, mostly due to bad customer support. However, it seems that EA’s been taking steps to turn Origin’s image around, recently introducing an update to Origin’s account policies that allow banned players to continue to access their games. Although it’s highly unlikely, maybe EA will continue to listen to their fans’ pleas to bring EA games back to Steam.

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Top Comments
  • 25 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , April 26, 2012 9:28 AM
    Origin sucks. They need to ditch it and take advantage of Steam once again.
  • 15 Hide
    mrpijey , April 26, 2012 9:21 AM
    Why would EA ever allow their stuff back onto Steam? EA has by now shown it's all about the money and not a bit (hah!) about customer satisfaction, quality or long term support. So naturally EA wants to close in all their products into Origin and never let it go, thinking they can be a serious competitor to Steam...
  • 15 Hide
    DroKing , April 26, 2012 10:43 AM
    EA's full of it. They pulled them all off steam because they wanna jack prices up period. I already compared prices steam n origin on website and I seen some games being 30 buck more expensive on origin over steam. EA actions are very obvious no discussion.
Other Comments
  • -8 Hide
    casualcolors , April 26, 2012 9:20 AM
    This article would be more endearing to me if Valve was speaking from point of higher moral ground. Unfortunately, as bad as EA is, Valve still hasn't bothered to add independent volume control to their game trailers since it doesn't have anything to do with pushing games out of the door. Neither company is a sparkling example of competence and Valve's customer service rivals EA's for which is the most abjectly lacking. Furthermore for every bug Origin has, Steam has an equally annoying counterpart bug. If it weren't for potential good sales, and in EA's case a couple of decent exclusive titles, I wouldn't use either of these services at all. By any objective metric, they both reflect an industry catering to users with monumentally low expectations.
  • 15 Hide
    mrpijey , April 26, 2012 9:21 AM
    Why would EA ever allow their stuff back onto Steam? EA has by now shown it's all about the money and not a bit (hah!) about customer satisfaction, quality or long term support. So naturally EA wants to close in all their products into Origin and never let it go, thinking they can be a serious competitor to Steam...
  • -6 Hide
    casualcolors , April 26, 2012 9:28 AM
    mrpijeyWhy would EA ever allow their stuff back onto Steam? EA has by now shown it's all about the money and not a bit (hah!) about customer satisfaction, quality or long term support. So naturally EA wants to close in all their products into Origin and never let it go, thinking they can be a serious competitor to Steam...


    Perhaps if you had a clearer understanding of history as recent as within the last 12 months, you'd be familiar with the reason why EA pulled their games from the Steam service in the first place. Their products that weren't originally part and parcel to the Origin service were rolled into it to essentially fill the role of the old EA downloader, which is presently defunct. The games were pulled from Steam because Valve attempted to assert a DLC policy concerning Battlefield 3 in particular that was disagreeable to EA and bordered on harmful to other retailers that EA supplies both retail game copies as well as DLC to. Regardless of how you want to look at EA, both they and Valve are eminently shrewd and you shouldn't be misled into thinking there is any good guy or bad guy when it comes to corporate relations in the world. That's an entirely too simple light to view things in.
  • 25 Hide
    JOSHSKORN , April 26, 2012 9:28 AM
    Origin sucks. They need to ditch it and take advantage of Steam once again.
  • -9 Hide
    rantoc , April 26, 2012 10:25 AM
    Orgin downloads are always at 9-10mb/sec, Steam downloads about 1-2mb/sec. I hope Valve turn up the steam, the service is closer to still water than steam as of late - At least in Northern Europe. Both are download services and download speed is in my book one of the biggest values as a customer.
  • 15 Hide
    DroKing , April 26, 2012 10:43 AM
    EA's full of it. They pulled them all off steam because they wanna jack prices up period. I already compared prices steam n origin on website and I seen some games being 30 buck more expensive on origin over steam. EA actions are very obvious no discussion.
  • -4 Hide
    thrakazog , April 26, 2012 11:06 AM
    I'm not sure why there's so much hooha over origin. I use both steam and origin, and have never had problems with them. I've seen a couple new releases from EA appear on both origin and steam. Warp was one, don't remember the other. As far as I'm concerned, they are just a couple stores to buy stuff at. Whichever has the best price price, I get it there. For instance, been watching steam for a long time looking for a sale on street fighter 4 AE. But it's always been $39.99, never cheaper. When origin had it for $10, I grabbed it.

    I agree, for the most part, they don't have a lot of stuff for sale yet on origin. But they are still growing.
    I'll use them to buy stuff whenever it's cheap or something I want, the same as I do on steam.

  • 3 Hide
    dameon51 , April 26, 2012 11:22 AM
    rantocOrgin downloads are always at 9-10mb/sec, Steam downloads about 1-2mb/sec. I hope Valve turn up the steam, the service is closer to still water than steam as of late - At least in Northern Europe. Both are download services and download speed is in my book one of the biggest values as a customer.

    I've gotten 4.5 mb/s here (japan)
  • 6 Hide
    zybch , April 26, 2012 11:36 AM
    rantocOrgin downloads are always at 9-10mb/sec, Steam downloads about 1-2mb/sec. I hope Valve turn up the steam, the service is closer to still water than steam as of late - At least in Northern Europe. Both are download services and download speed is in my book one of the biggest values as a customer.

    Just change the servers steam uses to the US ones and you'll see your download speeds improve almost immediately. Its the same for me in Australia, I get okay'ish speeds but when I change to the US servers my game downloads fly.
  • 13 Hide
    zachusaman , April 26, 2012 11:43 AM
    casualcolorsPerhaps if you had a clearer understanding of history as recent as within the last 12 months, you'd be familiar with the reason why EA pulled their games from the Steam service in the first place. Their products that weren't originally part and parcel to the Origin service were rolled into it to essentially fill the role of the old EA downloader, which is presently defunct. The games were pulled from Steam because Valve attempted to assert a DLC policy concerning Battlefield 3 in particular that was disagreeable to EA and bordered on harmful to other retailers that EA supplies both retail game copies as well as DLC to. Regardless of how you want to look at EA, both they and Valve are eminently shrewd and you shouldn't be misled into thinking there is any good guy or bad guy when it comes to corporate relations in the world. That's an entirely too simple light to view things in.


    From what I understand, Steams game policy is this: If your game has DLC, it must be available to steam users. EA went out of their way and made some crysis 2 dlc exclusive to some other service, and Steam pulled the plug.
    (then Crysis 2 went ahead and won the most pirated game of the year award)
  • 7 Hide
    alvine , April 26, 2012 11:53 AM
    i only use origin for battlefield 3, other than than steam ftw i love their weekly deals
  • 5 Hide
    mindless728 , April 26, 2012 12:15 PM
    The only thing that bothers me about Origin is the fact that I know have to have a separate digital locker for my games. Its a pain in the ass to be honest.
  • 3 Hide
    tolham , April 26, 2012 12:40 PM
    competition is good, but origin has a ways to go before i'll touch it.
  • 1 Hide
    bucknutty , April 26, 2012 12:56 PM
    I have been using steam now for like 7 years. It works well and I am used to it. Origin and even Battle.net are just sort of their. They are not good or bad, I use them because I must. I really wish I could port all my Origin game and Battle.net games into steam and only have one log in to remeber.
  • 6 Hide
    Kand , April 26, 2012 1:11 PM
    EA Origin sucks big time, you need to install their software to get 1 game !!!
    with STEAM i get games from 10 developers inside the same software !

  • 4 Hide
    Anonymous , April 26, 2012 1:28 PM
    I have not purchased at least 6 games from EA as I don't want to deal with another download/gaming platform. Smarten up, EA!
  • 3 Hide
    matt_b , April 26, 2012 1:31 PM
    Quote:
    EA assured that the service wasn’t meant to be a competitor for Valve’s Steam

    I had a very good laugh at this line. Money/greed, deception, price-jacking, etc/ are synonymous with EA. Their PR can try and spread jokes like the line above all they want, but their reputation has a deep history and most consumers know better to not trust what this company has to say. Too bad I haven't been able to play ME3, Crysis 2, or DA 2 yet, my antivirus keeps flagging this thing called Origin as malware :) 
  • 3 Hide
    mrpijey , April 26, 2012 1:52 PM
    Quote:
    Perhaps if you had a clearer understanding of history as recent as within the last 12 months, you'd be familiar with the reason why EA pulled their games from the Steam service in the first place. Their products that weren't originally part and parcel to the Origin service were rolled into it to essentially fill the role of the old EA downloader, which is presently defunct. The games were pulled from Steam because Valve attempted to assert a DLC policy concerning Battlefield 3 in particular that was disagreeable to EA and bordered on harmful to other retailers that EA supplies both retail game copies as well as DLC to. Regardless of how you want to look at EA, both they and Valve are eminently shrewd and you shouldn't be misled into thinking there is any good guy or bad guy when it comes to corporate relations in the world. That's an entirely too simple light to view things in.


    Oh I understand it just fine thank you. My main issue isn't with Origin itself (even if I hate that I need to have yet another leaky service with my personal info just to play a game) but with EA that is by now well known for its hatred towards paying customers.

    And one very good point made in this thread is that Steam covers a lot of publishers. Origin covers EA, period. So when will we have BethesdaStore? ID-Wallet? MojangShop? ActivisionDollarSqueezer? Every publisher makes their own little store, just to pump customers of more personal info, draconian copy protections and buggy inbetween-software to slow down and cripple our computers... Steam was first and it has developed to a well respected and well used service. And one would think that companies would try to use the most known and most populated services to promote their software, not to make small stores of their own carrying a handful of games instead of thousands like Steam.

    And I also know very well the corporate world is everything but a dance on roses but here I choose the lesser of two evils - Valve. Valve has quality products behind them, a well established customer support and they listen to their fans. EA has gone from a respected developer to a black hole where there is no escape from - once EA sets their sight on a good developer they get sucked in and forced to make crappy console rehashes and endless sequels, each worse than the previous. I can't remember when the last time I was really excited over an EA game. Valve has continued to suprise me with excellent titles that stand up to time even today. Half-Life series. Portal series. Team Fortress 2. Heck, even Counter-Strike which I refuse to touch, but I can still see the quality behind it. With EA it's been endless crap products that may have looked nice at the surface, but quickly fell apart as soon as you touched it. And these endless sequels... The Sims series being the most notorious ones. The utter crappy Need For Speed series they dragged through the mud. And now Battlefield going the same way. There is just no end to their hunger of swallowing up creative studios and remaking them into drones, forking out one bad sequel after another.

    There was once a time I pulled a smile everytime I heard "EA Games - It's In the Game!". Today it's more "Oh crap, I hope this isn't one more cheesy console port sequel...". And yes, I am old enough to have experienced Skate Or Die! which was their first game. i still have the original floppy.

    Sorry for the long post, but I just don't have much respect for EA anymore after their swallowed up and killed most of my favorite developer studios - Bullfrog, Interplay, Binary Systems, Origin Systems (Wing Commander :love:  ), Maxis, Digital Illusions (for whom I worked for). And now I have to use their shoddy software just to play an occasional game from them (which is Mass Effect 3, and soon Crysis 3). Phooey.

    EA, give Valve a nice present, kiss and make up and strike some kind of deal. For the good of the customers.
  • 0 Hide
    catatafish , April 26, 2012 2:02 PM
    I couldn't care less about any of this except for one thing......pardoning banned players. Banned means banned, not grounded. This just tells me that there are A LOT of banned players for them to forgive them and get them back as paying customers. If Pete Rose can't return to baseball, then I_Use_Aimbot_to_Dart_Spam shouldn't get to return to BF3.
  • -3 Hide
    hapkido , April 26, 2012 2:02 PM
    mindless728The only thing that bothers me about Origin is the fact that I know have to have a separate digital locker for my games. Its a pain in the ass to be honest.


    No it's not. When we used to have to make individual boot disks for games and reboot the computer every time we wanted to play, that was a PITA. Starting two separate programs is not inconvenient at all, especially considering you can start both with Windows.

    Steam has a larger library of games, better deals, and better community features. Origin has a smaller footprint, faster download speeds, and lets you choose where to install games. As far as game launchers, they both do their job equally well.
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