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LONG BLOG

Digital Distribution: The new school playground of RAGE!

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So a lot of people are in a rage over EA basically re-branding their online distribution and pulling their dicks out of the Steam money train by taking away some games from Steam (just Crysis 2?) and only making their new Origin service to provide upcoming EA games online or buy them from a shop like Battlefield 3 and Star Wars: Old republic thingy (yep keeping up with every game me). I think itís a lot of chest beating over something thatís technically new but has been around longer than you think.

Now I remember back when Valve first announced Steam and said to itís community: ďYou want new updates to Counter-Strike? You gotta use this!Ē Back then when they said that. They also said you need a fucking better computer to play your Counter-Strikes! This did not go down well with the community because people liked playing Counter-Strike on their old computers. Mine was actually new enough at the time to run it all without problems and I had no issue with putting in CD keys back to Valve. But considering it was new way of distributing their games and updates and trying to make sure the player base all had the correct versions of game and start this online buying madness we have now. As before Steam I bought the first Half-Life collection box, which included Counter-Strike and I was immediately fucked over by having an already old version of the game and running on dial-up. So actually playing was painful and even when I got all the updates. I had trouble finding servers that used the same version. It was a bit of a messy experience for me. But with Steam it was up to date as soon as it was downloaded and was easier to find good servers. I knew some people werenít happy with the service despite this new found ease but thatís no surprise. Then they started to sell the games later on once they got their service all sorted out and the rest is pretty much history as everyone knows today.
I simply wanted to give that history lesson from my perspective. It's not perfect but I think I've seen this happen enough times to start thinking that reactions people have towards 'new' things seem to follow the same pattern

But EA has had their online store services available for a good few years now as I have made purchases from their service and it has made 2 changes since then and even on Origin there is still the first couple of games that I bought are still available. Even when they first started to sell games they played a "5 quid more to make sure your games don't disappear within a year" service. I didn't like that idea of losing my games so backed up the install files like paranoid man writing every thought onto a piece of paper and making a copy to put in a vault. EA's prices have never been particularly great but they know that if some one wants a game badly and stores donít stock it/ can't get it soon enough. There will be customers. But seeing people get angry about a service like Origin put Battlefield 3 as £40 for limited edition and be angry that they should sell it for less as thereís no discs and packaging involved. Just go and get it cheaper elsewhere! Some shops are still going to stock that game for less and I found it for £30 on pre-order. You see what I'm getting at yet?

There have been other digital distributors out there that have needlessly outraged people as well. Impulse with being bought by Gamestop. Although I keep looking around Impulse and it still seems the same with what they have on offer and that they have sales. They also offer games not available on Steam like Sins of a Solar Empire and no one raged about that from what I remember. But I have just gone on Impulse now and there are sales going on. They are never going to be as fantastic as Steam but who will when you have pioneered a store for nearly everything. But just today, I have seen Fallout 3 GOTY edition for under 7 quid (that tempts me as I didnít see Fallout 3 GOTY on the Steam Summer Sale as I wasnít at my PC for the entire week. So it shows that even with a buy-out operations within Impulse havenít changed to reflect what I have heard of Ďthe hatred of Gamestopí. Although I've only seen a single Gamestop store ever in the UK so it's hard to judge them myself.
Also letís not forget Good Old Games little stint at humour...
No one is perfect.

So basically Iím just getting at saying, if you donít like what you see or read. Buy your games elsewhere and stop bitching as I donít understand that no one thinks to shop around if they have to. I know that EA seem to be getting a lot of hate from PC gamers at the moment for wanting all their games from Steam but you donít have to have this 1 service, 1 rule mentality to where to get your games from. I like being able to download from where ever has the best deal at the time I want something.
I'll leave you with a final thought of mine. Iím going to be curious if high street stores begin to feel pissed off by EA like they did with Steam and threaten to stop stocking EA games from now on. I think it's unlikely as EA is a big publisher but it will show how the time of brick and mortar shops are nearly setting their own businesses on fire.
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About supamunkyone of us since 5:25 AM on 03.20.2010

I live in the UK. I work in IT and I play far too many videogames as some may say to me. That's all you'll get for now like the dark and mysterious man who hides under your bed.
Xbox LIVE:supamunky2
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