EA's digital distribution platform, Origin, is essentially the new kid on the digital block, a block that has been dominated by Valve Software's Steam platform for almost a decade. Naturally customers are going to view Origin with some prejudice given that it's owned by the biggest games publisher on the Earth (for now). The service seemingly exists only to fatten EA's wallet even further while imposing annoying DRM.
Based on that, EA recognizes that -- just as they did with Steam back in 2003 to 2004 -- core gamers will have an issue with the new service until the construction dusts settles and customers see what the new platform has to offer.
"The hardcore sometimes has issues with Origin, but they seem to love these crowd-funded games," said Origin chief David DeMartini. "It was one of the few things we have done that wasn’t controversial and nobody had anything negative to say."
DeMartini refers to the company's new promotion which offers Kicksterter-funded games the opportunity to be listed free on Origin for the crutial first three months. That means the authors won't be required to pay EA publishing fees or share revenue. EA will make no money during this timeperiod save for collecting transaction fees stemming from credit card purchases and so on.
Still, despite what it's doing for the Kickstarter community, DeMartini realizes that whenever EA does anything in the industry, it generates a "certain reaction." However he insists that Origin isn't out to rule the world, that all the publisher wants to do is offer gamers another choice.
"People forget that when Steam launched, there was a lot of backlash from the core," DeMartini added. "Origin represents a change, and anytime EA does something that is significant in the industry, it generates a certain amount of reaction. Really it’s just to give customers an opportunity for choice."
Just last month, DeMartini said that Origin's first year was a huge success, stating that gamers downloaded around 12 million copies of the Origin software. He also said that EA wants Origin to be better than Steam, comparing both platforms to MySpace and Facebook.
"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," said DeMartini. "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."
"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," he added.
'Dem sound like fightin' words.