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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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  • Re:Origin (Score:1, Interesting)

    by MalayPalay (2642729) on Friday May 18, 2012 @04:19PM (#40046271)
    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 - while they are available on Desura - the actual platform client doesn't work on OS X.
  • Re:Origin (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RobbieCrash (834439) on Friday May 18, 2012 @04:40PM (#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.

  • Privacy Issues (Score:3, Interesting)

    by Anonymous Coward on Friday May 18, 2012 @05:58PM (#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.

  • by discord5 (798235) on Friday May 18, 2012 @06:04PM (#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.

  • Re:Origin (Score:4, Interesting)

    by RobbieCrash (834439) on Friday May 18, 2012 @09:51PM (#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:4, Interesting)

    by Eskarel (565631) on Friday May 18, 2012 @10:38PM (#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.

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