Dear Origin, You Stink

Kungfu_Teddybear

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I'm so glad I read this, only because I didn't know that Steam had Jade Empire. Now I do, and now I own it. Thank you, Shamus.
 

Micalas

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Alexnader said:
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.
Have you tried changing your download region in the settings? I've had some friends that have had great luck with that. Even some regions that made no sense gave them a speed boost.
 

RandV80

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Great article, but when it comes down to it I don't think EA is capable of learning here. The only thing they know is the old Embrace, Expand, Exterminate strategy. If we didn't have a company like Valve to go in and making it big doing things right, the digital platform would be a sorry place right now.

Consider their sports games for an example. I'm a hockey fan, and the last time I was into the console games was back in 2005. The competitor, 2K Sports, made a consumer friendly move by dropping their NHL games to $30. EA ignored it and just kept rolling along at the full $50 price (now $60). At this time, between 03-05 the 2K games were actually better as well, but EA stuck to their price tag. I'm not sure exactly what happened because at some point the quality flipped, but now EA completely dominates the market for NHL games and I don't know if 2K Sports even makes them anymore.

This is all EA knows what to do. They're not going to give you amazing deals on Origin like Steam does because they don't want to sell that low. They just bully their way into the room and stick to their guns, and hope/expect that eventually things will turn their way. I guess maybe they could learn, but I wouldn't hold my breath on it. As for other big players really the only ones with the clout to do it are Activision, who's no different or if anything even worse than EA, and Ubisoft who are too busy jumping at pirate shadows to start something like this.

But I'm perfectly happy in the meantime as I have full faith in Valve/Steam. I'm not even a big fan of Valve as a game developer, I've been PC gaming for 13 years and thanks to the winter sale I'm only just now getting around to playing the Half Life series.
 

Woodsey

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Major_Tom said:
Oh look, it's Shamus' annual column. Just kidding, I love you man.
[sub](But you should really write more often.)[/sub]
Presumably they're weekly again now. Yay!

Alexnader said:
Your download region isn't set to somewhere bizarre is it? And if it is set to Australia, set it to somewhere where it'll be the middle of the night.

(And are you SURE you get "a couple of mb/s" from Origin - I'm in Britain and I get 1mb/s, and Australia's hardly famous for its internet reliability.)

OT: Those idiots don't deserve the time you spent offering them this free consultation. They've not once shown that they're going to bother even pretending they're interested in their customers' well-being.

Say what you want about Valve and their likeness to other companies (personally, I think people vastly underestimate how humane such a successful company can remain when they don't have any shareholders), but I think you'd find people - even those who dislike Steam - struggling to deny that Valve don't do a great job of (at the very least) pretending that they give a shit about their customers.
 

Azmael Silverlance

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Oct 20, 2009
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Great article! I agree with all points that you made!

Hey look this all works better for steam, they are screwing Origin and that makes me and everybody else appreciate steam even more!
 

Baller195

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Mar 18, 2011
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WOAHHH !!! I just got tweeted back by Origin after sending them a link and telling them to pay attention this article:

'The Escapist : Dear Origin, You Stink *link for article here* via @TheEscapistMag Have a look at this @ea and @origin_ea .. From every PC gamer'

'@baller195 Thanks for sending this over. We appreciate constructive feedback.' - Origin twitter page.

...

I feel like we are going to get ignored anyway...
 

Xpheyel

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Great article. As on a fundamental level, I was thinking down the "Valve did it with HL2" line also. The "spying on you" and "banning you" parts aside anyway. So, they've managed to create a years outdated Steam and surround it with additional acrimony.
 

Noble_Lance

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Sep 4, 2011
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I love this article. I hate Origin, I mean I didn't mind it, I actually downloaded it pre-Origin change, because at the time, I was having trouble with my CD-Drive, not the disk, the reader was a problem. The online setting allowed me to download the game using my Product Key and then after that I was able to play it from disk or online. So I appreciated that, now that it became Origin I'd like its next name change to be Termination.

As for now, Mass Effect 3 will be the last game I buy from them. I love Steam, but I hate using credit cards online, (see in your article about impulse buying), so I always buy hard copy, with the notable exception of my loophole, driving to a store getting a Visa Gift Card loading it and then using it on Steam, tedious yes but it works, leaving only impulse buys for when I had credit. In addition to pay tribute to my love of the game I'm buying the CE version because well, in the last 6 years having bought probably 30+ games it will be only the 3rd CE I ever get.

Oh and for ME2 along with any other EA game if it is late enough you can install it on the Origin and still despite needing the disk I think I you can cloud it, maybe...

Other than that, yay Steam boo Origin.
 

1nfinite_Cros5

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Mar 31, 2010
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Damn! It's as if you dug into the deep recesses of my mind on why I don't want Origin, but couldn't quite put my finger on it. Creepy, yet true.

Anyways, I really don't want to not play ME3. I have 1 and 2 on my Steam account, and I really want to finish the series. I'm giving EA until the 21st of February (two weeks before ME3's launch date) for them to make the game available on Steam at launch, otherwise I'm cancelling my pre-order of the Collector's Edition.

I'm THAT much of a fan of this series, but turned off by their business practices. When the customer is smarter marketing-wise than the actual marketers, you know something has gone wrong with the company.
 

SnakeoilSage

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Sep 20, 2011
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Shamus Young said:
"-and if you were smart like Valve..."
Woah now, 12th-level intellects aren't something that they just pass out at the hospital when you're born, you know. If people could be smart like Valve we wouldn't be seeing modern games struggling to catch up with Half-Life 2.
 

LordMithril

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Jul 10, 2010
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Yeh to bad about Origin and Mass Effect 3. Ow wait. I play it on the Xbox :D
From what i've read and seen at friends there is no way Origin is going to get on my system.
Screw it, Ill play the games on console or find other "ways" to avoid it.
Hell, i'm even willing to go as far as buying the game then pirating it just to avoid it.

I applaud them for having the balls to try it. I mean, come on, EA knows its the "bad guy" out of all the company's and Valve is pretty much everybody's sweetheart.
But if you really want to make an impact do it on launch. And don't half hearted release a clunky client which you will patch later.
It isn't a game!

And yeh, I think the coders are gonna read this, agree with it, notify the management. Who in turn will fuck it up by either putting the coders on other projects or firing them outright :p
 

harvz

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Jun 20, 2010
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Dear Mr. Young,

Stay out of my mind.

sincerely, me.

on another note, is origin still doing the whole evil data harvesting thing?
 

Joabbuac

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Feb 23, 2010
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Its to bad a decent developer like bioware - one of the few around who still seem to want to make the sort of games i wanna play (OK...last one was Dragon Age origins but i still have hope for ME3) Is getting pulled down with all this EA crap.

Microsoft did a much better job with Bioware - kotor, Jade Empire, Mass effect 1, dont get much better than that.
 

octafish

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Apr 23, 2010
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As a store Origin is pretty poor, I can get better prices at retail stores, or Gamersgate, indeed retail and Gamersgate often beat Steam for new release prices outside of sales. EA do need to look at their pricing as it just isn't competitive. They also need to sell their old games for $5 or so and have their complete catalog available.

As an experiment I've added a bunch of EA games to Origin that I already owned, I added ME 1and 2 NFS: Shift and Shift 2, BF:BC2, and Crysis, all but Shift 2 and the Mass Effects were bought through Steam, I wish I could add BF2 and BF:2142 but it appears there is a cut off date. EDIT: There doesn't seem to be a way of installing old EA retail games to Origin from disk, but then the Steam solution for this is deliberately obtuse so maybe I just haven't found it yet. Bandwidth isn't a problem with my ADSL2 deal, and Origin's speeds are superior to Steam's for me.

As DRM Origin is fairly unobtrusive, except for BF3 (You can't play BF3 or the ME games offline anyway and the ME games didn't need Origin, just the usual online check) I didn't need Origin running to play offline. You have to have it installed, but don't need it to be actually running. That beats Steam any day.
 

Bostur

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Mar 14, 2011
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The_root_of_all_evil said:
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?
I don't know which is better, but I think clueless is the most likely reason. Also they probably have too many bored lawyers employed.
 

Spud of Doom

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Feb 24, 2011
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I think this article is a little late to really strike while the proverbial iron was hot.

That said, it's a really great essay. They better read this and take good notice of it.
 

pirateninj4

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Apr 6, 2009
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I used Origin for BF3. Once the happy warm glowy feelings go away for that game, it's all over for Origin I fear. Mass Effect is good, but not that good.
 
Feb 13, 2008
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Bostur said:
I don't know which is better, but I think clueless is the most likely reason. Also they probably have too many bored lawyers employed.
EA pulls in 3.5 billion dollars a year. I find it much more comforting that they're cackling away rather than thinking that "Your Mum Wouldn't Like It" was a good idea.