EA's digital distribution platform "has a long way to go," according to Valve's Gabe Newell, who owns Steam. As part of episode one of the Seven Day Cooldown podcast, Newell gave a blunt response when asked what he thought about EA's digital distribution platform.
"They have a lot of work to do to get to where they need to be and where I as a customer would want them to be," he said.
He was then asked if he thought Origin is currently doing anything particularly well Newell stammered on the air and then offered a long silent pause.
"I don't want to dodge the question – I don't think they're doing anything super-well yet," he offered. "They have a bunch of smart people working on it but I think they're still playing catch up to a lot of people who have been working in the space for a while. I think they're recognizing what the challenges are with building and scaling out this kind of system."
"That's not to say they won't build stuff in the future that is useful to software developers or to gamers but they haven't done that yet," he added.
Newell also responded to a question about the possibility of seeing any of EA's "Origin-exclusive" games coming back to Steam at some point.
"We'd love to have their games on Steam," he explained. "We think their customers would be happy if their games were on Steam. We tell them that on a regular basis. I think EA wants to take their shot at building their own alternative to Steam, and if they're successful at that and their customers like that then that's great."
Finally, Newell said that EA needed to recognize that "whatever they're trying to do to create value for their customers is not a zero sum game."
"As we learn about this stuff we're all going to be making things better for other gamers. [Epic Games boss] Tim Sweeney doesn't look at Steam and say 'F***, we shouldn't support that because that will hurt long term sales of the Unreal Engine.' He's like, 'that's pretty cool, that's pretty useful.'"
"So hopefully EA get their head to the same place."