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LONG BLOG

Competition is bad, apparently.

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There may be many out there, right now, wondering how I can say such a thing. Well, I haven't said it, you guys have. More particularly, you guys have been saying it this entire time about the EA Origins service. When it was announced, I was curious. After all, the rumblings of Impulse being bought out were beginning, Games for Windows always was and always will be treated as that thing as that hobby Microsoft took up to keep them from hitting the bars on the weekend and waking up with a PC exclusive developer, and you'd have to be completely out of touch to ignore the rantings of several other publishers (like Randy Pitchford) against Valve policies. The PC gaming market needs competition in order to thrive.

But who is going to step up to the challenge? Penny Arcade tried and failed, Gamestop attempted their own route, so we obviously need someone big to attempt this and, provided they have the gumption to attempt an honest go, it should be a good thing. Right? Right?

Not according to gamers. You see, I had never before seen such an outrage and attack at an attempt at competition in my life. Lead by the screaming indignities of Jim Sterling, this mass collective of ragoholics has been ranting against Origin since E3. The bulk of the complaints being exclusive content and needing a second login. One could argue the real argument stems from no press account on Origin and a sense of entitlement is a horrible thing to deny a self-entitled individuals. But that's a harsh criticism to lobby so for now we'll just stick with not wanting a second login. (that, provided you bought an EA game in the past 3 years, you already have)

In the times between E3 and now, EA and Valve have had a bit of a falling out. Not too unsimilar from Steam's little tussle with Gamestop. You see, Gamestop and HMV refused to stock copies of games that would directly compete with their digital download service. Dawn of War II preorders were cancelled around the world and somehow, people forgot about this. The ironic part is that Valve, and Steam, while playing the victim card in these events, has the exact same kind of deal. You see, if a publisher has their own Digital Distribution service, they have to fight long and hard to get themselves on Steam. This is why Sins of a Solar Empire (nor Demigod or Elemental) never came to Steam. The only time you were allowed to come in and play is if you were simply too big to ignore. Like EA's Sims franchise, or Popcaps Peggle Empire. (amazing what not blatantly stealing other peoples games will do for your gamer cred)

But even when you're in the big boy club, you gotta straighten up and fly right. For example, all DLC purchases must be made through Steam. You cannot link your own storefront to a Steam version of a game. Likewise, let's say you bought that copy of Company of Heroes in a retail store... guess where you have to buy another copy if you want to buy the expansions on Steam? You guessed it, Steam. Valve demands exclusive Steam versions of PC games that do not play well with any other version of the game. Imagine, for a moment, if you bought a copy of Doom 3 at Walmart. But you bought the expansion from Best Buy and the game, upon installation, told you this content is not compatible with the Walmart version of this game. Back in the day, this would not have stood. But Valve and Steam are great guys and they would never do all the bad things mentioned above.

Not like EA. You see, EA struggled with a problem every PC gamer deals with. Getting you fuckers to actually pay for games. Odd, I know. So EA, like Take2, attempts DRM that is occassionally controversial. The very same DRM, by the way, that was crammed into your copy of Bioshock sold, right now, through Steam. Or how you need an additional login for Games for Windows when you buy and play Batman: Arkham Asylum on Steam. But EA, despite being a damn good studio that's fought long and hard to be a great publisher, we always forget the good they do when it's convenient to rage.



And what's another rage? Exclusive content. You notice the mention of the Steam exclusive versions above? That's not an issue, apparently. Steam exclusive DLC is also just fine. Mainly because it's on Steam, so it's forgivable. So let's say you're a console maker. It's perfectly okay for Sony to make Uncharted 3, Microsoft to buy Gears of War 3, and even Nintendo to make Zelda, but EA putting their own games on Origins as an exclusive is completely and totally out of line. Yeppers, that's what it is. But let's ask this question... with Minecraft being, arguably, the biggest thing to happen to PC gaming in years... where the fuck is it? Not on Steam. HOW DARE THEY?!?! WHO THE FUCK DOES HE THINK HE IS?!?! Oh wait... not a multimillionaire publisher so it's cool. Except he is. A multi million dollar publisher keeping his game exclusive to his distribution channel... where is the rage at this?

Of course Origin is not perfect by any stretch of the imagination and has a lot of controversial TOS. So does Steam if you ever bother to fucking reading it but still. So does Battle.net, iTunes, Xbox Live, PSN, Nintendo, Amazon, or pretty much anything you agree to. But if it really bothers you, here is a simple suggestion. Write to the company you disagree with, mention your concerns, and be respectable about it. Most companies, especially their community outreach partners, do keep track of this. Calmly express your concerns and you'd be surprised what happens. Don't steal games out of protest, you only prove the protections right. (aka, Ubisoft) Don't rant and rave, internet outrage is cheap and easy to ignore. And hopefully, in time, you'll give EA the chance to become the service that Steam is
today. You gave Steam that chance. Oh wait, when it first came out, no you didn't. Amazing how todays saviors of PC gaming was a bunch of Nazis a scant 7 years ago.
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About sheppyone of us since 7:01 AM on 09.16.2008

I suppose since one of my stories has been promoted, I'm on the spot to get off my lazy ass and describe myself. I'm a 3D modeler working on Flight Simulators by day, a doodlin nerd by night. I try to remain without system biases but let's face it, no one can do that. I do want to apologize for some of my terrible grammar. I'm hoping to correct this issue as time goes on. I want to get better.

As to which games games I'm into, which ones am I not into is a more apt question. I'm a collector with a fairly massive collection. And, maybe as time rolls on, I'll fill more of this out.
Xbox LIVE:NME Se7eN
PSN ID:sheppy


 

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