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.