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EA To Provide Free Distribution To Kickstarter Games 120

Posted by Soulskill
from the doing-it-right dept.
New submitter The God of Code writes "EA has announced that they will be waiving all Origin distribution fees for crowd-funded games — like those from Kickstarter — for the first 90 days. 'The public support for crowd-funding creative game ideas coming from small developers today is nothing short of phenomenal,' Origin VP David DeMartini commented. 'It's also incredibly healthy for the gaming industry. Gamers around the world deserve a chance to play every great new game, and by waiving distribution fees on Origin we can help make that a reality for successfully crowd-funded developers.' The recently funded Wasteland 2 developer Brian Fargo applauds EA's move, saying, 'Having Origin waive their distribution fees for 90 days for fan funded games is a major economic bonus for small developers. We look forward to bringing Wasteland 2 to the Origin audience.'"
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EA To Provide Free Distribution To Kickstarter Games

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  • Origin (Score:5, Informative)

    by bonch (38532) * on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:15PM (#40046209)

    Just your friendly neighborhood reminder that Origin tracks your hardware, installed applications, software usage habits [giantbomb.com] and more with no way to opt-out, unlike Steam. This is the new games industry.

    • Re: (Score:1, Interesting)

      by MalayPalay (2642729)
      It would be nice if more distribution platforms would start supporting OS X. Steam is already there, but needs some more support from developers to bring their games to OS X too. Many have, but the percentage could be larger too.

      I'm actually surprised that Desura haven't done so, being indie platform and underperforming and all. There would be some serious market. Especially because many of their games actually have OS X versions too. Currently I need to download and update several games manually because
    • Re:Origin (Score:5, Informative)

      by Applekid (993327) on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:26PM (#40046347)

      EA offering to lend you a hand is a little like making a deal with the Devil.

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Definatly an Akbar moment, an indie enough to taint their product by working with this company probably deserves the massive burn they will get.

        • Re: (Score:2, Insightful)

          by Anonymous Coward

          Agreed. Kingdom of Amalur is a great example of a game that could have been great, but was tainted by EA and ruined the company. Kickstarter is good for exactly the same reasons EA isn't.

          • by zlives (2009072)

            i was saddened by the "origin" so much so that i am done with EA, i was already done with steam so i guess it just leaves indies for me or razr...

      • ... and by 'metaphorically', I mean get your coat."
      • Re:Origin (Score:5, Insightful)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2012 @08:19PM (#40047731)

        EA isn't offering to lend a hand. They're trying to woo popular indie projects to them, because they see that almost every single one advertisers in their campaigns that they *are* going with Steam.

        This is EA saying "WE ARE RELEVANT, TOO!".

        • by Cederic (9623)

          I have no issue with that. Games being available via multiple distribution gives people lots of choice.

          If EA were mandating exclusivity then it would be a massive concern, but going with Origin and Steam and Direct2Drive and ThePirateBay and other popular digital distribution channels should assure the highest possible sales and make it easy for everybody that wants to play the game to do so.

      • by EnsilZah (575600)

        At least the devil would have enough integrity not to try to spin it as a charitable venture.

    • Re:Origin (Score:4, Interesting)

      by RobbieCrash (834439) on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:40PM (#40046497)

      I know that I'm the bad guy here, but:
      http://www.gamerlaw.co.uk/2011/08/ea-origins-eula-is-non-story.html [gamerlaw.co.uk]

      Or, if you'd rather I link to the same site you're using:
      http://www.giantbomb.com/electronic-arts/65-1/a-look-at-the-eaorigin-privacy-issue/35-511847/ [giantbomb.com]

      Origin does nothing that Steam doesn't do, it's just a bit more convoluted to figure that out since you have to actually look at the privacy policy that the EULA references.

      • Re: (Score:2, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward
        Except Steam's EULA limits itself to Steam related programs and Origin's EULA is allowed to collect data about any/all programs/etc on your computer.
      • Re:Origin (Score:5, Informative)

        by vux984 (928602) on Friday May 18, 2012 @09:17PM (#40048111)

        The gamer/law article calling it a non-story doesn't make it so.

        The terms EA expect you to agree to exceed what any one else is expecting you to agree to.

        The reference to the "privacy policy" is irrlevant. It doesn't matter what the privacy policy says. They've declared they can take stock of everything installed on your computer, what is running, and when you run things. Period.

        It doesn't really matter what they promise to do with that information. They don't need it as a condition of providing me service, they have no business collecting it in the first place, and not providing an opt-in or even an opt-out is bullshit.

        As an addendum, a "privacy policy" is pretty weaksauce in terms of a legally binding document granting you protection. Its a policy -- since when does a company policy count as a legally binding contract with you?

        • Re:Origin (Score:4, Interesting)

          by RobbieCrash (834439) on Friday May 18, 2012 @10:51PM (#40048639)

          The terms do exceed what some other EULAs ask for, it's our call to decide if the service is worth what's required.

          The privacy policy does matter, as the 'legally binding document' dictates that the privacy policy trumps the EULA.

          They don't need it as a condition of providing you service, that's true; but they don't need a client to provide you a video game, they don't need to allow you to download the game instead of going out and purchasing it from a store, they don't need to provide you patches, updates, additional content either. But they do those things, and they require you to give them information back. If you're not cool with that, don't use the service, that's opting-out. Get your games from Steam, or buy a console.

          I back raising a fuss about things when they're worth raising a fuss over. But a company saying "we want to know what hardware people have, and what installation/uninstallation problems they have and what background processes may be running that will b0rk our shit, and you need to tell us that in order to use our service" isn't worth raising a fuss over. If they were selling that information, as originally was the case, this would definitely be worth raising hell over. But they're not, so this ceased to be something that I think is worth really caring about.

          That said, I would like to see an opt-out, but since there isn't one, I run it under a different user account and lock it out of anywhere I don't think it needs to be.

          • Re:Origin (Score:5, Insightful)

            by vux984 (928602) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @12:30AM (#40049139)

            The privacy policy does matter, as the 'legally binding document' dictates that the privacy policy trumps the EULA.

            Then why put it in the eula? Seriously. Given the community is fairly upset about it, why not just remove it?

            If you're not cool with that, don't use the service, that's opting-out. Get your games from Steam, or buy a console.

            I don't buy "Origin" games. However, I think its perfectly legitimate for me to tell them as loudly as I like why I don't buy them, and to advocate others not buy them as well.

            But a company saying "we want to know what hardware people have, and what installation/uninstallation problems they have and what background processes may be running that will b0rk our shit, and you need to tell us that in order to use our service" isn't worth raising a fuss over.

            It is to me. There are all kinds of abusive things they can do with the information that fall short of selling it. And more to the point, I don't really care what they do with it; I don't think its any of their damned business.

            Microsoft asks for permission to send an error report, and I can turn that off without any issue. If Microsoft made it a condition of using their operating system that they got to collect this information, there would be huge lawsuits. And lets be honest here... microsoft has at least as much, if not more of a legitimate need for this data. But they have decency to ask for it, and respect the wishes of users who say "no".

            EA doesn't.

            I run it under a different user account and lock it out of anywhere I don't think it needs to be.

            Then perhaps you should be posting the links to sandboxing origin's client rather than links claiming Origin is a "non-story", because I don't have any software on my PC that I've felt compelled to sandbox to that degree just to retain some that level of control over my own privacy from the vendor.

            • by zlives (2009072)

              lets even forget about the decency angle (they'd have to have a soul first)
              i wonder if there is a cost analysis of revenues lost to piracy vs the creation maintenance of Origin...

            • Then why put it in the eula? Seriously. Given the community is fairly upset about it, why not just remove it?.

              Because it's only in the event of a conflict. Which, initially I figured was a good thing due to the more restrictive privacy policy; now thinking further on the matter, not so much, as all they need to do is say their privacy policy includes selling your info to anyone who asks, So, fair enough.

              I don't buy "Origin" games. However, I think its perfectly legitimate for me to tell them as loudly as I like why I don't buy them, and to advocate others not buy them as well.

              Totally fair. It's also perfectly legitimate for me to tell you that you're crying wolf, and to attempt to persuade other people that you're crying wolf as well. Having privacy concerns about this type of thing is f

              • by vux984 (928602)

                I'm probably missing something here, but honestly I can't really think of anything I would consider abusive based on their collecting the information and not selling it.

                I can. Blacklisting people based on 3rd party software you have installed or running. Having the information harvested by the DHS or equivalent in some future scenario where tor or torrent clients or unregistered debuggers are illegal terrorist and pedophile tools. Turning the data over to the BSA. Crazy stalkers... I'm sure I could godwin t

                • At work so no omnislashing.

                  1. In that future EA won't be the one handing over the data, it will be harvested by the TPM mandated on every internet connected device, or from your ISP, or from Google or Microsoft or Facebook. The information EA is potentially gathering is infinitely less than from any of those other sources. Steam also tracks and bans based on Blacklisted software/hardware on your PC. Yes, EAs shit is worse, but it's a long way from the evilness of everything you're describing, and not truly

                  • by vux984 (928602)

                    Yes, EAs shit is worse, but it's a long way from the evilness of everything you're describing, and not truly worth the enormous amount of attention it garnered.

                    Fair enough. But EA's shit is -worse- so it does deserve more pushback. Backing it up to steams level owuld be an improvement... but that's a level where I still have a mountain of complaints... (what do you mean my son isn't allowed to play my copy of Magicka... and it goes on from there...)

                    but Windows Update maintained a hardware fingerprint, and

      • by LingNoi (1066278)

        It's run by a company that cares more about money then their customers. The fact that the policies are similar is missing the point. If you haven't seen the multiple screenshots of people contacting EA and getting horrible support from origin staff in india then check it out. No one wants that.

    • This is why I am a pirate.

    • by Anonymous Coward
      Sorry, but that doesn't excuse Steam. There is *no* legitimate reason for having to constantly run a separate, resource hoarding application simply to play games. Any and all copy protection or update mechanisms need to be in the game itself.

      Just because EA took a shit in your cornflakes doesn't mean it's ok for Valve to "only" take a piss in your orange juice.
      • Re:Origin (Score:4, Interesting)

        by Eskarel (565631) on Friday May 18, 2012 @11:38PM (#40048915)

        Steam offers you some carrot with the stick, it's up to you to decide if that's worth it. On the one hand you have to run Steam, which if you've got a PC from 2001 might possibly be considered resource hungry to play your games. On the other hand you can install and play that game on as many systems as you like(one system at a time). If you lose your disks you can download the game again for no cost aside from bandwidth, etc.

        Steam is selling you a license for your game with all the requisite downsides to that equation(no resale value, restrictions on use), but they're also giving you the benefits of that equation as well(play anywhere you have a net connection any time you like). Most "In Game DRM" on the other hand, is just about as resource hungry as Steam and provides you with all the downsides the license model and all the downsides of the box sale model in one fell swoop.

        Not advocating DRM here, simply saying that Steam is up front about what kind of system it is, gives you some benefits in exchange for you what you give up and is generally reasonable compromise when compared to systems where you have to be on the internet at all times to play but simultaneously have things like limited activations and no replacement of media.

    • by antdude (79039)

      Is there no way to avoid this software to play the newer games in Windows? :( I want to get BF3, but now maybe I don't.

      • by Cederic (9623)

        Depends on the game. BF3 requires Origin, which is why I didn't buy it. SWTOR is available via Origin but doesn't mandate it, which is why I did buy SWTOR.

        • by antdude (79039)

          Interesting and there is no way to avoid Origin with BF3 to play online. Lame! Good thing I don't play computer games anymore these days.

  • Translation (Score:5, Insightful)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:21PM (#40046285)

    "Oh shit! There are about to be a metric shit-ton of big budget games by people who have been in the industry for years and know what works and what doesn't and we won't be seeing a shiny dime from them. Over the same period we have been pissing off our customers with our crazier and crazier RDM schemes, we need to stay relevent!"

  • What's the point? (Score:3, Insightful)

    by Hatta (162192) on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:21PM (#40046289) Journal

    What's the point of Origin? Why not just set up a shopping cart on your website and offer direct downloads?

    • by h4rr4r (612664)

      Hosting those downloads costs something, Origin handles that for you and thus if you are getting it free for 90 days that means more money for the devs.

      • Re:What's the point? (Score:4, Informative)

        by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2012 @06:07PM (#40046733)

        rent a virtual server with a tiny fraction of your kickstarter funds

        seed a torrent

        post on slashdot

      • by Osgeld (1900440)

        Hosting those downloads costs something

        yea like less than 10 bucks a month for unlimited bandwidth ... your paying for advertising on something no one uses, and the privilege of being advertised on something some people use

        pay the 10 bucks, do a little leg work, kill the middle man, the only thing keeping the "official" industry alive, its not 1984, you dont have to produce physical copies, and mail them anymore

    • Because they now have an installed application on your computer which they can use to enforce DRM and track information.
    • by geekoid (135745)

      Back end.

      You don't 'just set up a button'. You need servers and support to be sure it's available for download.

      'Just a button'.
      Sheesh

      • by firex726 (1188453)

        These indie games are not like Steam, most would be good with a cloud server, maybe setup a couple for the initial launch and peak demand, then scale down after a couple weeks.

      • by Tynin (634655)

        You would need a small handful of servers, and a couple people who could do some admin work (developers aren't often the best admin's, but it isn't rocket science to show the basics to someone with a clue), and if you offer it as a torrent, once it is seeded, the base servers can fall offline for maintenance / outages, and not have it impact the accessibility of the installer / latest patch, and your bandwidth costs are much more accessible. For things like a forum or authentication, the cloud is easily the

  • by Anonymous Coward

    God damn it you better do it. Am I hell paying anything to EA ever again.

    EA CAUSE Piracy of games. They are exactly the shitty company we don't want to ever deal with.

    There are plenty of ways you can distribute your games, possible future Kickstarters.
    Amazon servers are actually really damn cheap, surprisingly.
    No doubt others think they are really expensive as well.
    So go check up websites, you will be in for a surprise when you realize the prices of them aren't really insane.
    Just don't go with EA or risk

    • What the hell are you talking about man? It's not as though it has anything to do with Publishing. Putting your game on Origin isn't like getting in bed with EA in the traditional sense. I also think this is a good move by EA to promote people putting games on their service. Considering after 90 games most games wind down in purchases, Origin is practically giving bandwidth to the developers for nothing while letting them reap all the rewards of their launch.

    • by tlhIngan (30335)

      Payment side isn't so easy.

      If you're not a business, the only way to take payments is Paypal, pretty much (no merchant account required). Though you have al lthe headaches of a merchant account.

      If you're a business, you can do Google Checkout/Amazon Payments.

      Then there's the handling of the download - either have to do a login system so people can redownload (hello lulzsec - just because you can write a game doesn't mean you can write a secure web app - I'd say it probably disqualifies you).

      Server's the che

      • by discord5 (798235) on Friday May 18, 2012 @07:04PM (#40047187)

        If you're not a business

        Then you start one, because it's foolish to keep developing games outside of a business. If you can't afford to start a business you're way over your head in dealing with EA.

        you can do Google Checkout/Amazon Payments.

        If you're a business you won't have any trouble dealing with a credit card processor. They'll take a cut, but so does everyone else. It's a matter of making the right choice and spending some time with a spreadsheet.

        Then there's the handling of the download - either have to do a login system so people can redownload

        You do realize that the guy who wrote minecraft (and he's far from a genius, bless him) actually did all this... Right? Minecraft had sold well over several tens of thousands of copies before he even started pondering about moving his stuff to "the cloud". It was all a single webserver handling it with a credit card processor. Not some sort of magic. Anyone considering making a game larger in size than minecraft has already begun considering the distribution options before slavishly beginning development.

        It's the payments and website downloads that are the hardest parts.

        If you make a game and you as a company find this "the hardest part", I fear for your business. You don't go to Steam or Origin because you can't handle the traffic or can't delegate payment, you go there because they have a freaking huge userbase and the companies typically have all the credit card numbers of their users neatly stored in a database for impulse purchases. Then after the impulse purchases you wait for the stragglers to buy the game when it's offered in a discount. Go on steam during the weekend, and look at the sales chart and the discounts offered. That's why you use these distribution networks: a large userbase. Despite all that though, there's still plenty of indie devs who succeed in selling their stuff and distributing it without Steam or Origin (or Impulse and its measly marketshare) for that matter.

        It's partly why the Apple App Store is very popular

        The apple store is an entirely different beast. iPhones and iPads are pretty much walled off from using "typical" software installations. It's the Apple way or no way at all. It's not a matter of choice. And again, you don't start iOS development because there's a neat little platform to distribute stuff over, but because you think your product will have a large userbase and can benefit from the impulse purchases.

        These platforms are not going to lower your cost, no matter how pretty they picture it. They have the same costs as you do: (virtual) server infrastructure, maintenance, and credit card processors. They may get a bit of a better rate, but not by much, and don't forget they're out to make a profit too (just like you are) so they are going to be in your pockets for that. So in the end the bill will probably be the same, if not higher because of overhead costs. Oh and there WILL be overhead costs. Don't forget they'll probably make you use their APIs as well, for a seamless integration (friends lists, chat, etc etc). Sure these costs aren't going to be the bulk your costs, but don't forget about that.

        You've got to ask yourself when someone offers you this: where is the catch? And it's pretty obvious what the catch is, right? After 90 days those games don't stop existing. Once you're deploying patch 1.12 out on the origin servers they're going to say "Wellp, that's gonna cost you. Remember that contract? Did you read the fine print?". Plan on doing some DLC? Are you sure it's not an Origin exclusive? Bandwidth used by people reinstalling the game after those 90 days? What about your price? Do you get to decide when they offer the inevitable discounts?

        I would be very cautious when approached by EA (or anyone for that matter) with such an offer, because you can be sure there's no such thing as a free lunch, and you can be damned sure that EA of all companies isn't doing this out of the kindness of their heart either. They're out to maximize THEIR profits, not yours.

  • by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:29PM (#40046387)

    Bend over and take my ughhhh snugg ugggghhhh drm ladden load of malware tracking. that's it baby right there. stop complaining about the pain. In 90 days I'll give you something to complain about. Right now it's free. Stop crying. You know you want it.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Looks like they'll try anything to get a leg up on steam.

    Right now, Origin is just a downloader/launcher for BF3 and ME3.

    Origin, shit you not, will snoop your steam directory and add EA titles you purchased on steam to your list on origin, just to make it look more relevant.

    • by whoop (194)

      Origin didn't pull Steam games and import them for me. But I did later type the serial numbers in to add them to my account. That way I can play one game on Steam on one computer and (...shifty-eyes...) another game on that other computer from Origin. Pay no attention to my wife sitting in that chair. I'm playing them both. She's just watching. Really...

      • by Anonymous Coward

        Holy shit, a 3-digit UID. The Great Old Ones walk among us (and casually violate copyright licenses)!

  • by hort_wort (1401963) on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:47PM (#40046575)

    If you follow the links, you eventually get an opportunity to pre-order a digital copy of Wasteland 2 for $20, DRM-free. That makes me think he's just using this Origin news for free press. I hope that's what he's doing. The idea that he's taking advantage of EA makes my heart warm and extra thumpy.

    • And also he's not unhappy about it I'm sure. To get big sales, the game needs to be on the most DD services possible. Steam being the big one, of course, but all the others are worthwhile. Id they don't charge for the downloads for awhile (that's how DD makes money, they take a cut of the sales, though less than retail) then all the better. More money for inXile.

      Also a developer isn't going to go out of their way to piss off the publishers. inXile may well want to make another publisher funded game. Kicksta

  • Privacy Issues (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2012 @06:58PM (#40047125)

    As an older gamer that protects his privacy, Origin is my version of the anti-christ. There is a general consensus that people do not trust Origin and a lot of games requiring Origin wont be purchased by these customers. It is for this reason SW:TOR didn't require Origin, they desperately required this game to succeed and making it Origin only would effectively reduce their client base.

    Origin offering 90 days free trial for upstarts is EA's way of trying to create a user base.

  • Well Stainless Games will be using Steam for Carmageddon: Reincarnation ... I'd prefer completely DRM free... but if they're going to use a DRM based distribution network Steam right now is the best there is - especially since they'll be using SteamPlay (for PC&Mac from one sale), SteamWorks (for multiplayer) and Steam Achievements....

    Just hit $270k of the $400k goal.... so if you loved the old Carmageddon games (well 1 and 2 anyway) check out their kickstarter page [kickstarter.com].....

    The reward tiers are pretty g

  • Origin simply isn't all that good a piece of software. It crashes frequently, the interface is bizarre, payment for things like ME3's DLC was in funny-money "points", and it has basic usability problems with things like paypal (it has a nonresizeable window that isn't big enough to show the button to actually pay). Origin is clearly designed around EA's requirements first and the user a very distant second if that.

  • by Anonymous Coward

    Fuck you EA and fuck you Brian Fargo, I want my 150$ back which supposed was to keep you away from "Big publishers" that did not see the potential of the genre.
    DRM free my ass....

  • After they botched up Command & Conquer, my feelings for EA has gone down to the level of contempt. Fuck them.
  • 2 mil for a shot on shitto promo featuring a tumbleweed, small child, and fuck all nothing as far as a game is concerned

    fools be parted

  • by BrookHarty (9119) on Saturday May 19, 2012 @02:16AM (#40049521) Homepage Journal

    EA knows that crowd sourced games will dig into their profits. EA already tried to buy everything up, but they cant buy the crowd sourced games makers.
    EA will just offer a "helping hand" with just a few legal strings attached... Maybe they will even use the same contracts the record producers give the artists....

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