Origin Head: Steam Damages Brands With Deep Discounting

In an interview with GamesIndustry International, David DeMartini, Senior Vice President of Global Ecommerce for Electronic Arts and the head of EA's Origin digital distribution platform, decided to talks some smack about Valve's Steam. He also talks about the platform's rocky first year and how the company wants Origin to be the number one hub for gamers.

The first derogatory thing he says about Valve's Steam is that it cheapens intellectual property by offering a regular stream of sales that discount games as much as 75 percent. It's a practice that DeMartini says Origin will never engage in.

"We won't be doing that. 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."

He goes on to say that the deep discounting Steam does can hurt a brand:

"Also what Steam does might be teaching the customer that 'I might not want it in the first month, but if I look at it in four or five months, I'll get one of those weekend sales and I'll buy it at that time at 75 percent off.' It's an approach, and I'm not going to say it's not working for Valve. It certainly works for Valve; I don't know if it works as well for the publishing partners who take on the majority of that haircut."

The rest of the interview talks about what direction EA wants to take its digital distribution platform including being platform agnostic, offering a friendlier and more accessible environment for indie developers to hawk their wares, and how they will handle games that find success in crowd-funding via services such as Kickstarter.

You can check out the rest at GamesIndustry International.

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  1. PHOENIXZERO says:

    Origin is just the start, it won't be that many years until all major publishers pull their games from Steam and set up their own DD services with this idiot's mentality.

  2. lordlundar says:

    Funny, Indie developers who use steam as a platform tend to love the deep sales (which Valve asks permission to do from them first). Not only does it give them advertising power (the Forums tend to be filled with "Is it worth it on sale?" questions) they also make a fair amount due to a massive increase in volume.

  3. GrimCW says:

    roflmao.. the only games i own that use origin (BF3 and ME3) i got on sale from other sites.

    i also got TOR for 35 bux FROM ORIGIN not long after release…

    i agree with others, pot calling the kettle black..

    tbh i don't like origin because even if in offline mode, its online, and it gets nutty when my net drops and reconnects by trying to reconnect itself.. wth? its in OFFLINE mode! how did it even know my net dropped?! let alone why is it giving me a login error NOW?

    oye… EA is digging themselves a nice hole aren't they? love it, can't say i've seen valve sling nearly as much mud despite being outdone in some sales by other sites like greenmangaming (which often has a 20% or more discount on its pre-order titles, including for steam linked ones)

    heck got FEAR 3 from gamefly for 5 bux while steams sale was only 10. damit valve, you need to start hounding your competition more so you can claim better pricing!

  4. Yammo says:

    Not only is it stupid to be bragging and promising that they will never have any real sales… (Yet another customer here who is happy to be proven right that he will never have to touch Origin, btw)

    I think that we can all agree that if sales did not increase both number of copies sold as well as over all profit… Steam would not have them. The fact is, by Steams own words, they not only increase profit in the short term, but customers continue to purchase the games at FULL prise for a time after the sale.

    Furthermore, not only does the "deep sales" increase the number sold copies and amount of profit, it will also increase the possible fanbase. As for example with me purchasing "Payday: The Heist" on a sale that I did not even consider purchasing before. Not only did I turn out to LOVE the game, but I'm still wallet-in-hand waiting for any DLC.

    In Conclusiuon:
    David DeMartini is a moron who has no idea what he's talking about and I'm happy not to be a customer of his store which bans people at random.

  5. Craig R. says:

    Well, I was never going to use Origin anyways, but they keep giving me reasons to never want to use this service.

    I'm betting that these loons are the only ones who have a problem with Steam, as I'm sure there's plenty of evidence to back up how great those sales are for, well, sales of games.

  6. axiomatic says:

    Wow every game I own on Origin (except for SWTOR) I bought at a deep discount.

    Hey Pot

              Hey Kettle

    You're black.

  7. Leahelm says:

    Bleh. This is the same mentality when these people argue for heavy DRM on everything. I don't condone piracy but the same way that every pirated copy does NOT equal a lost sale, so too does a "bought cheap" copy not mean loss of sale. The people that are really excited for a game will buy it at full price when it first comes out and the rest would not have spend that much on it in the first place anyway.

  8. hellfire7885 says:

    I got Skyrim a week after release when Steam had it for 20 bucks off, I even got my brother a copy for Christmas.

  9. Mr.Tastix says:

    "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.""

    Such a stupid statement.

    Many of the games I've gotten for cheap prices off Steam have been good quality. Many of them were even better because I felt like I even paid the price I should be paying for them, rather than paying twice as much for half the content.

    Another thing is that many of their sales aren't on account of "going-out-of-business". Look at their Christmas deals and you'll notice that many popular and recent titles are offered at hefty discounts.

    I don't see how it "cheapens" IP when IP is cheapened already by inflated prices. The average prices of video games have gone up in the past 10 years and are continuing to do so, and what am I getting for it? Half the content I did 10 years ago. But yet, I'm paying more? And that's justified? Discounts don't cheapn IP, they allow me to pay what I think the games actually worth. The only sad thing about them is they're discounts when I think they should be standard retail price for some games.

    Not only this but EA can't talk to me about "cheap" when they have bullshit terms of services. That's just a big middle finger to gamers. What a bunch of tossers, frankly.

  10. hellfire7885 says:

    That or he';s embarrassed that EA's games wind up in the bargain bin and it looking for a culprit.

  11. Chris Kimberley says:

    I get the sense that he equates a great sale on Steam with the bargain bin at a brick and mortar place.  I know that if I see a game in the bargain bin for $5 or $10 my first thought is, "This game must suck."

    But when I see a Steam sale I'm excited to know what's there, because I fully expect that there will be great games at a great price.

    Seems to me he's way off the mark.

  12. Thipp says:

    And here I was, thinking that the frequent sales were one of the better features of Steam, I must be doing it wrong…

  13. Andrew Eisen says:

    "…occasionally there will be things that are on sale… just don't look for 75 percent off going-out-of-business sales." -David DeMartini


    Andrew Eisen

  14. SeanB says:

    Awww, he's bashing the competition. Lets all listen, cause he couldn't possibly have another motive for this 'oppinion' 

  15. DorkmasterFlek says:

    Nothing wrong with setting your own prices, but if you want to talk "fair value" and Origin in the same sentence, I suggest you fix your dumbass EULA and DRM bullshit first.  Origin is not quite as laughable a platform as Games for Windows Live right now, but it certainly isn't taking on Steam.

Comments are closed.