Dear Origin, You Stink

RedEyesBlackGamer

The Killjoy Detective returns!
Jan 23, 2011
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Cowabungaa said:
I wonder; why is this posted now, in late January, while the whole Origin spiel went on almost three months ago.

It's sort of, y'know, not really relevant. We all complained about it long before, the EULA was changed (really, an article from August 2011?) making it only a bit more harsh than Steam, feature-wise it's a bit pointless but other than that it doesn't do much at all and hardly affects your actual gaming experience.

Really, Origin rage has come and gone and this article tells us nothing we don't know already. Not quite sure what's the point of it, but that's me.
RedEyesBlackGamer said:
It seems like all of their projects to top big dogs fall short. Battlefield 3, Origin, and SWOTOR
Except that Battlefield 3 and SW:TOR has been recieved very well, so I'm not sure what constitutes as a fail here. Of course you're right though about SW:TOR's staying power, that's something it has yet to prove.
Battlefield 3 was supposed to be the CoD killer. It didn't come close. It did well, but failed to meet their lofty expectations. I'm guessing that SWOTOR will go the same route.
 

thiosk

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Sep 18, 2008
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Yay Shamus! Are you back from a hiatus, or what? I've missed you and your stealing of pixels and what not. And such things. Etcetera. I havn't seen nearly enough Shamus articles lately.

I was too busy knee-jerk frothing at the mouth over origin to actually install it and try it out. Most of my concerns with the company and the business model appear to be well-justified in your report on how its actually running.

Steam has completely changed PC gaming. What used to be a mess-- finding and installing patches-- is now a hassle free, easy experience. I've had very few technical problems with steam. None of the common steam complaints (Grahhhh [email protected]@! graaahhhh offline [email protected]!) have affected me one iota. And it is a pleasant product to use.

The only game i'd consider buying from Origin are the effects of mass. I gave ME2 a miss already-- guess whats going to happen when ME3 comes out. Sure won't be purchased on origin, i can tell you that.
 

isometry

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Mar 17, 2010
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Steam doesn't need corporate competitors, because they are already facing and conquering a competitor that very few corporations have handled: massive piracy. Piracy forces Steam to have low prices and good service, because Valve already knows that if they fail to provide those things then PC gamers will return to piracy.

The next mistake is to assume Origin intends to "compete" in the sense of free market competition. Everything EA has done with Origin so far shows that their business plan is to strong-arm customers into using it with monopoly, not to entice them by competing in an open market.

So this article is good for pointing out obvious problems with Origin, but it's premised on two key errors: that steam needs a corporate competitor, and that Origin has any intention of competing in an open market.
 

Something Amyss

Aswyng and Amyss
Dec 3, 2008
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Cowabungaa said:
I wonder; why is this posted now, in late January, while the whole Origin spiel went on almost three months ago.
I could almost argue that this is in light of recent tactics, but as you bring up:

(really, an article from August 2011?)
Indeed, bringing up dated information from the start was poor form.

Except that Battlefield 3 and SW:TOR has been recieved very well, so I'm not sure what constitutes as a fail here.
Not being MW3 and WoW respectively?

Seems to be the watermark these days.
 

esperandote

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Feb 25, 2009
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I'm oblivious to digital distribution but for what i've read this sounds spot on. Great ideas.



Megaupload's id shot whos license?
 

Mr Companion

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Jul 27, 2009
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Typical EA user unfriendliness, force customers to give them money once (provided you still care about Mass Effect) and scupper any thought we might have of ever buying from them again. And its arrogant acting as though its not even worth examining Steam's business practices on top of being undoubtedly unprofitable. Self destructive is what they are.

Oh and expecting everybody to rush towards their service on the sole basis of it having a cover based third person shooter now devoid of depth and a bigger version of COD is cute, just cute.
 

Charli

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Nov 23, 2008
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It's been a little while since I've clapped after reading an official Escapist Article guys.

Here is your internet gold medal.

Great read. And very very painfully true. Now weather EA will consider this as truth rather than listening to the geniuses they have running their marketing department. (2 Chimps smoking cigars and smearing feces on peices of paper no doubt.)
 

Alexnader

$20 For Steve
May 18, 2009
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fix-the-spade said:
To be honest I think EA just need to quietly give up and go back to Steam. They've already failed as far as I'm concerned, between battlelog and Origin I sent my (pre-oredered) copy of B3 back unopened.

If it was on Steam and used Steam's server browser, I'd have kept it, if it appears with those options, I'd buy it again.

As it is, who ever thought that having no less than three layers of separate DRM that all require log-ins to operate a multiplayer shooter that boils down to a cut down version of something that was released eight years ago needs to be taken outside and beaten.
Three layers? There's Origin, Battlelog and what else? Also Battlelog will automatically start and log you on to Origin if you join a game from it. To be honest if it wasn't for the notifications I get telling me that my friends are playing things I wouldn't even know I had Origin on my computer. At the moment Origin is basically the same thing as EA's old download manager except with a store, rudimentary social features and some spyware loaded into it.

isometry said:
Steam doesn't need corporate competitors, because they are already facing and conquering a competitor that very few corporations have handled: massive piracy. Piracy forces Steam to have low prices and good service, because Valve already knows that if they fail to provide those things then PC gamers will return to piracy.

The next mistake is to assume Origin intends to "compete" in the sense of free market competition. Everything EA has done with Origin so far shows that their business plan is to strong-arm customers into using it with monopoly, not to entice them by competing in an open market.

So this article is good for pointing out obvious problems with Origin, but it's premised on two key errors: that steam needs a corporate competitor, and that Origin has any intention of competing in an open market.
I'm not so sure steam doesn't need a competitor, I'm in Australia but Origin's download speed shits on steam's and this is something most of my friends have noticed too. This is both in terms of max speed and general reliability. With steam my download will go at 5 kb/s until I restart the download then it'll jump up to 500 kb/s for about 5 minutes before dropping back down again. Origin just chugs along steadily at a couple of mb/s and then bam the 4 gig BF3 patch/DLC is down in record time. Steam claimed to have fixed this a while ago by changing how the servers handle load distribution but it's still a problem.

But hey, when you're competing against torrents then for anything other than popular/new games you're setting the bar fairly low.
 

Zen Toombs

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Nov 7, 2011
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"Wow, that's a lot of valid complaints! I bet EA is going to change it's policies and treat its customers better so that EA can make more money!"

Is what I would say if EA was any sane company.
 

Major_Tom

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Jun 29, 2008
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Oh look, it's Shamus' annual column. Just kidding, I love you man.
[sub](But you should really write more often.)[/sub]
 

isometry

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Mar 17, 2010
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Alexnader said:
isometry said:
Steam doesn't need corporate competitors, because they are already facing and conquering a competitor that very few corporations have handled: massive piracy. Piracy forces Steam to have low prices and good service, because Valve already knows that if they fail to provide those things then PC gamers will return to piracy.

The next mistake is to assume Origin intends to "compete" in the sense of free market competition. Everything EA has done with Origin so far shows that their business plan is to strong-arm customers into using it with monopoly, not to entice them by competing in an open market.

So this article is good for pointing out obvious problems with Origin, but it's premised on two key errors: that steam needs a corporate competitor, and that Origin has any intention of competing in an open market.
I'm not so sure steam doesn't need a competitor, I'm in Australia but Origin's download speed shits on steam's and this is something most of my friends have noticed too. This is both in terms of max speed and general reliability. With steam my download will go at 5 kb/s until I restart the download then it'll jump up to 500 kb/s for about 5 minutes before dropping back down again. Origin just chugs along steadily at a couple of mb/s and then bam the 4 gig BF3 patch/DLC is down in record time. Steam claimed to have fixed this a while ago by changing how the servers handle load distribution but it's still a problem.

But hey, when you're competing against torrents then for anything other than popular/new games you're setting the bar fairly low.
Sorry to hear that they are giving Aussies a crappy connection. I'm in the same part of the US as Valve headquarters, so downloading from Steam always maxes out my connection at 3 MB/s. I agree they need more competition in that area if they are giving you guys crappy speeds.
 

The Random One

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May 29, 2008
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isometry said:
Steam doesn't need corporate competitors, because they are already facing and conquering a competitor that very few corporations have handled: massive piracy. Piracy forces Steam to have low prices and good service, because Valve already knows that if they fail to provide those things then PC gamers will return to piracy.

The next mistake is to assume Origin intends to "compete" in the sense of free market competition. Everything EA has done with Origin so far shows that their business plan is to strong-arm customers into using it with monopoly, not to entice them by competing in an open market.

So this article is good for pointing out obvious problems with Origin, but it's premised on two key errors: that steam needs a corporate competitor, and that Origin has any intention of competing in an open market.
I call bovine feces upon you, sire.

It's true that Steam is competing against pirates. What's also true, and that most people forget, is that pirated games rarely compete against original games. It's basic marketing: different prices plus different means of distribution means a product so commercially different it's a completely different one. However, that also implies that brand new games are an entirely different product, one that Steam also deals with; so piracy is only a partial competitor. Even if it wasn't, more competition doesn't mean worse services. It may after a point, if there were so many services that you needed four different programs just to play the biggest hits of a given year, but I assure you two isn't that point. Even if you include GFWL and piracy that's only four, still far from that. Steam sure as hell needs corporate competitors - the fact that they wear a nice hat doesn't mean they're not Microsofting.

Your second point also shows how little you know of marketing. Would you say Valve is strong-arming its costumers into downloading Steam by offering Team Fortress 2 for free but only if you have Steam? Because I assure you I wouldn't have a Steam account or care about its existence in the least if it wasn't for that, so I pretty much was strongarmed into it. What EA is doing is the most basic way to wrestle into a market dominated by a strong competitor: make it extremely beneficial for consumers to try it, for after they get past the hurdle of registering and getting used to the interface they'll start buying. (That was my story with Steam.) The problem is that EA fails with the followup, which is pretty much what the article covers; and also that Valve always wears its nice hat, while EA wears its corporate hat. So when EA forces you to use Origin to play BF3 they're strongarming you into playing it, while when Valve forces you to use Steam to play TF2 they just want you to use their awesome gaming thing. And when EA's privacy policy is bad it's because it's EA, what do you expect, but when it turns out it's actually just as bad as Steam's I think you're mistaken, because Valve really respects us. I'm not pulling EA out of the hook here though; changing its public perception to be like Valve's is possible and should be a priority, but they leave it to the marketing department, when it should be a company-wide effort to be nicer to their customers.
 
Apr 28, 2008
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They could even turn Origin into their own little "used shop" for digital games. Does a gamer have a game they don't want anymore? Let them trade it in for half the current price. Give them credit to spend on Origin. Now they have a reason to keep shopping with you, and if they don't like a game, they can trade it back for more credit. Now they have a sense of security. I'd be more likely to buy a game if I knew I could get something back if I didn't like it/finished it a bit too quickly.

Reward continued spending with digital coupons. If someone, say, buys Dead Space 1, give them a coupon that halves the price of Dead Space 2 (or vice-versa). Do this with all franchises, give them coupons for other games in the franchice. Do they have each game in a particular series? Let them swap the coupon(s) with some others so they can use that to help pay for more games.

Reward spending. Give people reasons to use and buy from your service EA. Steam has proven that if you offer a better service, people will buy from you. Right now, all Origin is doing is showing how good a service Steam really is.
 

Bostur

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Mar 14, 2011
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You make an awful lot of sense Shamus, probably too much for a company like EA ;-)

To add a bit of defense for EA and Origin, it seems they were surprised with the backlash and have actually made some changes.

The original EULA felt like making a deal with the devil, now it is a lot more reasonable than most software EULA's.

The creepy system scanning that Origin used to do was reportedly a trivial but very unfortunate bug. Recent reports suggest much more normal behaviour.

There is still little reason to use Origin voluntarily, and having it forced upon us is not the best way to attract customers. EA will probably learn eventually, and in the meantime I guess they have plenty of cash to burn.
 

Waaghpowa

Needs more Dakka
Apr 13, 2010
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Shamus Young said:
Dear Origin, You Stink

Shamus believes EA is the underdog here, with Steam the clear favorite.

Read Full Article
Please do the world a favour and send this to EA if you haven't already.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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Bostur said:
To add a bit of defense for EA and Origin, it seems they were surprised with the backlash and have actually made some changes.
See, I really don't get this:

Either A) EA knew they were testing the waves with Origin, so are fully aware of the number they tried to pull.
Or B) They have no clue about the market.

A) means they'll try again (Origin's EULA states they can change it whenever necessary and you automatically agree to it, without you having to re-sign it) So they can revert it to it's original state legally.
B) means that they're incompetent at their job. Or actively blocking competency.

Which sounds better?
 

Beryl77

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Mar 26, 2010
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I've been saying this for a long time. Origin isn't that bad, depends a bit on what you want but that's it. It's just "not bad", nothing more.
Origin doesn't do anything better than Steam and some of the things worse. The only thing that it has going are the games which force users to use Origin, like ME3 but that's not enough to make people want to use it.
Offer something, something that Steam doesn't do, something that makes people go "wow, that's a great service/feature." Exclusives won't achieve that.
Like Shamus said, Valve pretty much pioneered in the digital distribution market for games back then. You on the other hand EA, were able to take notes from Steam. People won't have the same forgiveness for flaws and lack of service that they had for Valve seven years ago.
 

Carnagath

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Apr 18, 2009
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I don't even care about their prices, simply the fact that EA expect me to sign over the full contents of my hard drive to them to use as they see fit is more than enough to stay as far from Origin as possible. If there's an EA game that I really want to play, I'll just get the console version of it. If the console version is horrible or there is none, then I will not buy it. It's as simple as that.

I had the same stance against Steam right around the time Half Life 2 was released, when Valve expected me to take 90 minutes of my time waiting for them to "unlock" my heavily encrypted Half Life 2 retail installation via Steam and convince them that I'm not a criminal. Several years later, Valve realised that they would make more money if they stopped treating their customers like convicts and downgraded their DRM to a simple cd key check while upgrading their service to a gamer's candy shop. They still have a long way to go before they make Steam perfect (it's still unacceptable to charge the same amount of money for a digital download as the retail copy on release day and the way Steam handles mods is bullshit), but at least they did make a lot of progress.

EA is going to do not such thing. The key word to describe them was already eloquently mentioned in the article: strong-arming. Borderline illegal, unethical, stingy, retarded bullies. This is who they are and why noone likes them. And this is why their service will inevitably fail.