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EA to "re-think Origin", may wish to re-re-think.

Tagged: steam, origin, ea

What do they want Origin to be?

GamesIndustry International conducted an interview with EA's Executive Vice President, Andrew Wilson, during this year's Electronic Entertainment Expo (E3 2013). Wilson was on the team which originally designed Origin before marketing decided to write off all DOS-era nostalgia they once held with PC gamers through recycling an old web address.

The service, itself, has also changed since the original project.

'"Over the years ... there've been some permutations of that vision that have manifested as part of Origin," Wilson said. "I think what we've done is taken a step back and said 'Wow, we've actually done some really cool things with Origin.' It is by no means perfect, but we've done some pretty cool things. As you say, the plumbing is there. What can we do now to really think about Origin in the next generation?"

Fans of Sim City, who faithfully pre-ordered, will likely argue that Origin does not have enough sewage treatment at the end of their plumbing and the out-flow defecated all over their experience. A good service can be built atop the foundations of Origin; but, I have little confidence in their ability to realize that potential.

Wilson, on the other hand, believes they now "get it".

One assertion deals with customers who purchase more than one game. He argues that multiple update and online services are required and that is a barrier for users who desire a second, third, or hundredth purchase thereafter. The belief is that Origin can create a single experience for users and remove that barrier to inhibit a user's purchase. In practice, Origin ends up being a bigger hurdle than a single-game's service. It washes a bad faith over their entire library and fails to justify itself: games, such as Sim City, update on their own and old titles still have their online services taken offline.

What it comes down to is lack of focus. Wilson believes development of Origin was too focused on the transaction, and that lead to bad faith, presumably because customers would smell the disingenuous salesman. Good Old Games (GOG), on the other hand, successfully focused on the transaction. The difference? GOG gets out of your way immediately after the transaction, leaving you with just the game plus its bonus pack-ins you ordered, not DRM and a redundant social network.

Steam is heavily focused as a service and that is where EA desires Origin to be. The problem? Valve has set a high bar for EA to contend with. Steam has built customer faith consistently, albeit not perfectly, over its life with its user-centric vision. Not only would EA need to be substantially better than Steam, it is fighting with a severe handicap from their history of shutting down gaming servers and threatening to delicense merchandise if their customers upset them.

A successful Origin will need to carefully consider what it wants to be and strive to win at that goal. While possible, they are still content to handicap themselves and, then, not own the results of their decisions.

July 2, 2013 | 10:08 PM - Posted by Panta

i play battlefield 3 WITHOUT Origin! (google it)
i never understood why I need origin steam or any other software to run a game, this is very us-full & profitable for the company's but very unnecessary & even harmful for the gamers interest, so no Origin/Steam for me thank you.

July 3, 2013 | 12:00 AM - Posted by Nilbog

Steam is more of a service as i see it. Sure its technically DRM, and was created to prevent piracy of Valve games, but it doesn't feel that way. It feels more like a game manager and library for my games.

Where Origin is strictly DRM created for the express purpose of EA completely controlling the DRM so they don't have to pay anyone else for the service of distributing their games.

July 3, 2013 | 03:39 AM - Posted by Laurențiu Roman (not verified)

I probably won't ever buy another EA game unless it's pre-Origin and/or available on another platform (Steam, Play Store etc.).

I had so much trouble with that crap soon after it launched (~6 months). I preordered a game on it and after i installed and played it for a while it crashed when i was trying to access 3 planets of the game (it was a zone based game). After three sessions in three days of the support guy telling me to uninstall the game and/or Origin and then reinstall, even the previous support guy told me the same thing and it did n work at all, it took me all of 10 minutes to install a bootleg copy which had zero hiccups.

I was so mad because i had preordered a deluxe copy of the game that i vowed to forever aim a bird in EA's direction.

What's even sadder is that i get better deals on older EA games (up to 2011) on Steam or sites that sell Steam codes than i ever got on Origin. I got a Tomb Raider Steam Code for 13$ even tho it never moved an inch below it's initial price on Origin.

July 3, 2013 | 10:40 AM - Posted by someuid (not verified)

It completely baffles me that their upper management can go into a product like Origin, screw it up for a looong time, then sit back and finally realize why (worse than Steam, lack of focus, poor customer support) and vow to fix it.

This is something upper management types are supposed to know BEFORE and DURING product development, not AFTER. This is why you clowns get paid the big bucks.

Any upper level manager who was invovled in the development of Origin should be shown the door due to lack of vision, failure to understand the customer, and a total inability to develop a viable product on which to build upon, especially with such a central product like Origin.

July 8, 2013 | 07:33 PM - Posted by Gabe Newell (not verified)

Gabe Newell here.

I *LOVE* what Origin has done for the huge spike in Steam traffic.

LOLOLOLOLOL.

July 18, 2013 | 10:15 AM - Posted by Anonymous (not verified)

Origin is EA's way of mimicking a game server just to have something available, and that's all it is a clumsy poorly designed game server, Origin should cut it's losses now and get out of that business, and let Real players like Steam, sell their product successfuly and consistently> EA doesn't have the reseouces to continue to develope origian like steam has> EA, I would suggest you allow steam to sell your titles, cause so far...you've lost $$$$'s.

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