Thursday, 21 June 2012

Origin's No (Steam) Sale

Stay the course, EA, stay the crappy, crappy course.

In an announcement that will probably be shocking to absolutely no one, EA recently went on the record saying that people who use its digital content delivery service Origin better not expect any deep discounts of games a la Steam Sale. Although I can't say that this news comes as a surprise many people would also say that it's hardly good news either.

If you've been reading this blog for a while then the reasoning behind EA's decision might seem a little familiar; it's the same reasoning that Good Old Games gave for why they don't do deep discounts. Namely the rationale that discounting games so heavily cheapens them and puts gamers into the mindset of only waiting for sales. David DeMartini, one of the people at the helm of Origin, explained as much:

"We won't be doing that," he said, bluntly. "Obviously they think it's the right thing to do after a certain amount of time. I just think it cheapens your intellectual property. 

"I know both sides of it, I understand it. If you want to sell a whole bunch of units, that is certainly a way to do that, to sell a whole bunch of stuff at a low price. The game makers work incredibly hard to make this intellectual property, and we're not trying to be Target. We're trying to be Nordstrom." 

Not to sound like a broken record here, but again I think it's a case of in certain circumstances placing too high a value on something that doesn't deserve a forty or even sixty dollar price tag. If you want people to buy games off the start there needs to be some incentive, whether that's reputation, content itself, price-point, or a combination of any/all of those elements and more.

With Good Old Games, one might have been able to argue that the audience isn't really the same. After all, GoG sells mostly, well, older titles and what most people would consider classics. Origin can't really use that as an excuse; they are trying to compete on pretty much the exact same ground that Steam is already firmly entrenched upon.

EA is promising some sort of recompense in terms of buying older titles, but at the moment they seem to be keeping mum about it. All I can really say is that it would have to be something impressive in order to hold a candle to what's already being offered.

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