EA's Origin chief bashes Steam over discounts

Pretty much everyone loves to see a Steam sale; there's no better way to grab an awesome game at such a low price, but David DeMartini, the head of EA's maligned Origin service, thinks that the sales are very bad for business. What's that, you say?

Speaking to GamesIndustry, DeMartini explains EA's thinking:

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 gamemakers work incredibly hard to make this intellectual property, and we're not trying to be Target. We're trying to be Nordstrom. When I say that, I mean good value - we're trying to give you a fair price point, and occasionally there will be things that are on sale you could look for a discount, just don't look for 75 percent off going-out-of-business sales.

Basically, what he's saying is that EA would prefer that you pay as near to full price as possible for a title (which you'll have to do, since you can't get it anywhere else). Of course, since this is EA we're talking about, you'll end up paying more than enough for DLC to make up for any sales cuts that they do make, so there's no need to feel bad about it.

Sure, the (mostly) no discounts approach has worked out well for some companies; just take a look at Apple. We could trot out JC Penny's as an example of where things can go wrong, but we think that's a bit too out of the field. Speaking strictly in terms of gaming, sales tend to draw attention to a game like nothing else can, drawing in people who wouldn't have bought the game otherwise, and hopefully building up enough positive word of mouth that more people pay full price for them later.

So, what do you think? Do sales 'cheapen intellectual property,' like DeMartini says, or is EA just being greedy?

Via: Joystiq
Source: GamesIndustry

Report a problem with article
Previous Story

Crytek transitioning to focus on free to play

Next Story

Google may release a Chrome OS tablet soon


Commenting is disabled on this article.

Thanks to Valve and the big sales on Steam I don't pirate games anymore. I have bought 150 games since the big Holiday sale last year. I bought Just Cause 2 for 9.99 and I was halfway through a pirated copy of it.

I am never going to pay 49.99 or 59.99 for a game. The absolute most I'm going to pay is 39.99 and that is stretching what a game is worth to me. I don't have money problems and could afford to pay for a new game. They just aren't worth it to me. Why spend $60 when a few weeks later they want you to pay $10 more for a few maps or some stupid costumes that cost $1.99 each. I try and wait for a GOTY or complete package that has all the DLC included. I will never pay a full retail price for a digital copy of a game. If they are saving $25 or more by releasing it as a digital item I want some of the savings passed on to me. I'm not going to pay the same price as I would pay at retail for a physical boxed copy of the game.

Pretty soon games are all going to be "freemium or free to play". Developers and publishers have figured out that there are enough idiots out there who they can nickel-and-dime to death with paid content in free games. They will pay $4.99 for a gun that only lasts a week then they have to buy it again or go back to using the crap weapons you get for "free". People are paying more than a normal MMO subscription every month so they can get the in game items that give them an edge over their opponents.

The game industry has in the last 20 years gone from developers making games that they loved and people loved to play to huge publishers buying every developer they can and every IP they see so that they can show X% profits to their board and shareholders. Publicly traded companies are going to kill video games as we know them. Just like it killed every other industry. Why do you think everything is made in china? It's cheaper and so it gives shareholders higher profits. It's why nothing is made in the U.S. anymore. Shareholders demand profits increase year after year and that will force publishers like EA and Activision to keep charging more for less.

This EA guy is short sighted (shocker!). When a game goes past the peak of it's sell rate and comes towards the end of its "shelf life", then getting more people aware of the game and its franchise (thereby making them more likely to buy the sequel at full price when it comes out) is MUCH more valuable than scoring a small number of sales at full price.

Also just for the record... Fix your Origin sh1te EA! A platform such as Origin should not be saying "Pre Release" or "Beta" at the top after it's released to the masses (Excluding Google of course). Also not providing an option to disable the featured adverts that pop up on screen when your PC loads is lame. So long as I can't stop them, then Origin won't be auto-starting on my PC. Lastly, fix your prices! Charging £10, sometimes £20 more than retail for a game through Origin is inexcusable. Digital distribution is supposed to be cheaper than buying the product in a store/online.

FUUUUUUU EA and your BS filled bathtub ... and I quote "When I say that, I mean good value - we're trying to give you a fair price point"

this bloody idiot rushed ME3 and made it so sh17 every time I take a sh17 is spells EA

Talking mince out there balloon knots as usual. 1 rule for them, and another for everyone else. Its this kind of bashing that drives me away from such services. Origin if it wasnt for BF3 and ME3 i wouldnt use you, end of.

Colicab said,
Talking mince out there balloon knots as usual. 1 rule for them, and another for everyone else. Its this kind of bashing that drives me away from such services. Origin if it wasnt for BF3 and ME3 i wouldnt use you, end of.

I totally agree. Origin is stupid.

ensiform said,
^ They also had a 50% off everything currently released not that long ago too.

That sale is still on in some international stores upto June 15th. Origin India is one example.

As if Origin didn't run sales - how many of us here remember Origin's *one hundred percent off* sale on Burnout Paradise? While BP for PC didn't get all the DLC love the console versions did, it was still far from a bad game - by EA standards or anyone else's. Yet EA ran an Origin-exclusive *giveaway* of the game. (Yes - I unashamedly took advantage of said sale - because I absolutely loved the game - I had trouble even FINDING the game retail, which is how I usually buy games. I never - as in ever - buy games electronically - not on Origin, Steam, or any other way; instead, I buy games retail, and pay cash. That is *despite* being an Origin subscriber, and a Steam *charter* subscriber.) Mr. DeMartini, or should I say, Mr. Pot - please; meet Ms. Kettle.

This is of course disregarding the large amount of on-the-web coverage of major Steam sales events (should be another one coming soon), and making games attractive enough to deter from piracy. Would developers continue to participate in such sales if they were detrimental to their profits?

In my view, Steam introduced something odd that I'm sure is the same for other fellow members - that we could go crazy with buying games that we may never play. Imagine that! All this talk of high piracy rates on PC and yet people have spent hundred of dollars on tons of games, some of which collect virtual dust since being bought in a sale?

But I suppose that's a foreign concept for EA, who also believes in an incredibly short shelf life for their games (their sports games being prime examples).