EA is looking to expand its support of small studios, this time through its Origin digital distribution service, by capitalizing on the indie development wave du jour: Kickstarter. The publishing giant announced today a new initiative specifically geared toward developers working on successfully crowd-funded downloadable PC games. EA is offering to sell those games on Origin with an attractive deal: the company will waive distribution fees for the first 90 days of release.
Brian Fargo and inXile Entertainment, whose Kickstarter campaign for Wasteland 2 recently collected nearly $3 million, are already on board. In a press release from EA, he called the program a “major economic bonus for small developers.” Newly created indie studio Pinkerton Road will also be releasing its Kickstarted game, Moebius, on Origin. The company’s founder, Jane Jensen, also praised the initiative, saying, “It’s great to see a big publisher like EA acknowledging [crowd-funding] and opening up distribution opportunities for these games.”
It’s a mutually beneficial arrangement. Small studios get access to the Origin audience of over 12 million registered users, and EA gets a cut of the action by selling the indie developers’ crowd-funded games through their upstart platform. Plus, it’s an enticing hook that will probably provide long-term revenue for EA: it’s unlikely that developers would pull their games from Origin after the initial three-month period rather than start paying distribution fees.
Studios can visit Origin’s website to contact EA about the program, which is only available for games whose development fans have already funded.