EA Boss Addresses Virtual Reality's "Dork Factor," Origin Vs. Steam

Peter Moore highlights an interesting challenge facing VR headset makers, and addresses the state of Origin.

Electronic Arts didn't launch Origin--what many would simply describe as a Steam competitor--simply to compete with Valve's digital distribution service. Instead, it did so because of the type of future it expects to see, according to a recent interview with COO Peter Moore, who also discussed one of the major hurdles--what he calls the "dork factor"--that VR headsets like the Oculus Rift will have to overcome.

"I think Steam does a fabulous job," Moore told GamesIndustry International. "They have a great catalog of games. It's got a broader catalog than we do, and a different focus on the business model than we have. We didn't go into business to compete with Steam. We went into business because we saw the future being direct-to-consumer."

One of several games given away through Origin.

Origin is one of several services that some gamers write off as being Steam clones which offer nothing more than Valve's platform. Despite the naysayers, Origin has established a sizable user base of more than 50 million users. And although a number of those users likely signed up only because certain games (such as SimCity) require Origin, EA has made commendable moves to encourage people to use it by choice. Moore points to two examples in particular: the "On the House" program that gives away copies of games for free (including Battlefield 3, Plants vs. Zombies, and Dead Space), and the policy of allowing unsatisfied customers to return a digital game within 24 hours of purchase.

Many companies are accused of regarding PCs as an afterthought: Microsoft's support has been questioned for years (despite its proclamations), Ubisoft often releases its games later on PC than on consoles, and countless companies have released subpar versions of their games on PC. EA, on other hand, has made a strong investment in PC gaming over the years, according to Moore.

"We've been making games for the PC platform before [Valve managing director] Gabe Newell was graduating high school," Moore said. "And we've been the number one publisher forever, and have been the one developer/publisher that has supported the PC platform even more than Microsoft over the years. Yeah, you may say that's a low bar, but that's who we are, and our roots."

As for whether virtual reality could be the next area EA makes a big investment in remains to be seen. We've already heard EA is hesitant to do much with VR until it has a sizable install base, a sentiment Moore reiterated. "We keep looking at it," he said, "but there's not much to jump on board towards right now."

He did go on to make an interesting note about one problem that companies like Oculus VR, maker of the Oculus Rift, will be faced with as they attempt to turn VR headsets into the mainstream products they aspire to be. "It's an incredibly immersive experience, but it's you," Moore said. "You're inside this world and you're oblivious and of course, you can't see. You hope it doesn't get what I'll call the Segway effect: incredible technology that kinda looks dorky. Or the Google Glass effect, which is the dork factor that goes with that."

This isn't to say Moore is down on VR, but he simply foresees this as being a challenge. "And that's what we have to overcome, because I think the tech is great," he continued. "These things done right, commercialized so they can be truly a consumer device with plenty of innovative content to go with it, feel like a blast."

Do you think the way VR headsets look will stop you from picking one up once they begin being sold to consumers, or do you only care about whether the VR experience is any good? Let us know in the comments below.

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MrBlondeX

Chris Pereira

Twitter/Xbox Live/PSN/Nintendo Network: TheSmokingManX
177 comments
thingta42
thingta42

I refuse to have Origin on my PC just to play a few Select EA Games such as Mass Effect, or Red Alert 3. Sure i have an account. But that's like your dad saying "hey son, I ****** your mom!"


I mean, there's no arguing with that. So why do i need two digital service style browsers for my games? Games for Windows Live already failed hard. And most recent PC games (Unless EA) are always installed on Steam. All EA will have is a select few Niche fans that will keep Origin installed and used maybe daily just to play games like Battlefield or Mass effect or Dragon Age etc. 


Steam is where it is at. All EA wanted was a bigger slice of the profits, so they decided to remove the steam middle man from the room. And just slap there own Version of Steam called Origin onto their own EA games. Origin is a pain anyway. Most of their games are over priced even for some of their older titles.


I'll just simply buy these games on Consoles rather then PC if it means not having to install Origin onto my HDD.

kalmah_winter
kalmah_winter

EA please any chance of a new Humble Bundle featuring some new games :D ?

SaintJimmmy
SaintJimmmy

Origin not about money ? Yeah i'm sure it has nothing to do with you having to give a small amount of your profits to valve for using steam no reason to make up excuses 

On the other hand they aren't far off with occulus rift the "dork factor" is very real it's going to be hard for something like that to be cared about by the masses I mean to start trust me my girlfriends not going to like it if i buy one lol

lfebaggins
lfebaggins

"EA does not care about money"


-Peter Moore

alphawolf-j
alphawolf-j

50 million origin users is utter horse crap  even by EA's LOW PR spin standards considering steams just hit 8 million users.

I actually uninstalled all my EA games and have not purchased a single EA branded game since BF3 was utterly DLCed to death. I understand there is no actually way to delete your origin account , That may have something to do with those FAKE numbers.


IF anything the day of these corrupt  publishing houses is over I think the kickstarter area has proved they are just a relic and are not even necessary anymore.



they prob dont know how to exploit VR with DLC and drm yet so are keeping away until they can figure out a way to nickel and dime users 

DEV KIT 2 ORDERED btw :)

ValedictorianXD
ValedictorianXD

@alphawolf-j


Jeez...do any gamers know how to read?


Origin has 50 million users. Fact. Steam had 8 million CONCURRENT USERS (psst, that means they were online at the same time).


Steam has more than 75 million users. That's a figure back from January of this year. Don't worry, your precious DDP isn't going to lose its top spot anytime soon. At least not to Origin. GOG Galaxy on the other hand...

Hvac0120
Hvac0120

It's not the dorky look that I am concerned with as much as my personal comfort level during gameplay and transitioning between the real and virtual worlds.

Hurvl
Hurvl

"Electronic Arts didn't launch Origin--what many would simply describe as a Steam competitor--simply to compete with Valve's digital distribution service" No you're competing with Valve's Steam, because you refuse to allow any of your recent games on Steam. You also don't and (currently) can't compete with Steam on a lot of other areas, so that apparently not your goal.


Wearing a VR device is something that people would do at home, with nobody around except people they know. There's nothing stopping people from waving their arms in front of a TV to play a game, so putting on a "blindfold" like the Oculus Rift to play a game is no big step. VR devices are kind of isolating, though, while arm-waving games are usually games that are fun with other people, but co-op or split screen or whatever for VR gaming shouldn't be so hard.

megatronx2
megatronx2

Admit it, it's because Valve was not sharing with you Big Data about their customers who bought your games, so you went out and start your own data collection service. 

min64
min64

The problem with Origin is that most people that use it, use it because they have no choice if they want games like Crysis 3, Mass Effect 3, Battlefield, Titanfall and im sure this will continue when Battlefront releases. 


EA knows they have PC gamers by the balls so they hardly offer any sales and for a company that says they support PC... where are all those EA Sport games? Madden, NHL, NBA, UFC? The fact that EA considers those console only game experiences is a slap in the face. show us some love and give us those if you want more players to embrace you on the platform. 

Anigmar
Anigmar

Hey Gamespot moderators, can you fix the automoderation? I'm tired of posting comments only to see them gone moments later. And again, no harsh language at all.

DeusGladiorum
DeusGladiorum

Yea, I have to say that as bad as EA can be, they've certainly supported PC gaming a lot more than many other companies. Though I can't comment on Battlefield 4, I remember what Battlefield 3's launch was like. A well put-together game with intuitive PC controls that was optimized for practically every end of the PC spectrum? There's so much I take for granted in certain EA PC games that are just problematic elsewhere.

Take, for example, Ubisoft, which has clearly been porting over games with little care for years now, and though the games are functional, it's only if you can get past the microstuttering and frame drops, and that triple-buffered V-Sync that only decides to be triple-buffered when it decides that it's convenient for it.

Or perhaps we should look at Activision, who decided that a linear crap fest of a game that still doesn't even match Battlefield 3 graphically two years later should make a GTX 770 sweat, and all while leaking memory.

As much hell as EA gets, it's certainly been picking up pace, and I can tell it still does well to support the master race.

theflabbergast
theflabbergast

mobile phone early adopters looked like dorks, did this prevent the not-so mobile hardware to become what it is now ? Anyway, the Rift (and other VR headsets) target a seated experience in the first place, so you'd be playing at home, where you don't give a f*** about looking like a dork.

thesilverape
thesilverape

Ah man I was gonna buy the Oculus Rift until I realized I would look like a total dork...

klasco
klasco

Origin is okay, Steam is more trust-able.

Ferrets_one
Ferrets_one

In my opinion... who cares what you look like.  If you look like this or look like that, if you are, then you are.  If you are not, then you are not.  Why would anyone's opinion stop me from doing something that I really wanted to do?  I DON'T CARE WHAT YOU THINK AS LONG AS I AM HAVING FUN!

Poodger
Poodger

I don't use Origin because it sucks, I don't use it because I like all my games collected in one application, and that is Steam. But Origin doesn't have anything I am interested in buying anyway.


Also, does anyone ACTUALLY care about looking like a "dork"? In my experience, the people who are most conscious about looking like dorks are usually the biggest dorks already. People brimming with personality and confidence wouldn't care about wearing a headset. And having tried Oculus recently, it was a very very cool experience. I look forward to where this technology goes, because it really made games come to life.

nomadski69
nomadski69

The Electronic Arts (because lets not forget that is what it still stands for) of 2 decades ago wouldn't have been sitting around waiting for OR to fail or succeed, they would have been trailblazing the platform with dozens of ongoing projects.


Lead, follow, or get out of the way.

atopp399
atopp399

I still haven't bought an EA game since Origin was released and became required.  If it wasn't required for no apparent reason other than as spyware as far as I can tell I would have bought Battlefield 3, Battlefield 4 and Sim City.  I am glad there are alternatives but it really is too bad.

Lhomity
Lhomity

@atopp399  Seriously, dude. Origin doesn't track any data that Steam doesn't. There's no spyware. If you don't want to use Origin, just don't use it. Or make a valid complaint. There are many legit things to complain about with Origin. Origin has many problems. But don't use silly stuff like "it's spyware". Those rumors have always been false.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

@atopp399 It sounds like you should be thanking it as those are some rather big disappointments to have dodged!

hystavito
hystavito

The dork factor is a valid point :).

Poodger
Poodger

@hystavito Is it? Who cares about looking like a dork? People who know they aren't dorks won't care if they wear one or not. Dorks don't have a look, if you are a dork its because you act like a dork, not because you look like one.

---Cipher---
---Cipher---

"EA, on other hand, has made a strong investment in PC gaming over the years, according to Moore."

Ok, first of all, a thousand expansion packs, all the same as the previous installments, for Sims, doesn't count, especially when you are taking out basics for the newest Sims game. Second, SimCity is -10 PC games as you pretty much did your best to F over the PC market on that one. Third, broken Battlefields don't count. Fourth, soon to be released Battlefield dlc sold as full games, again, doesn't count... It's really hard to see how EA has made a "strong" investment in PC after all their major PC games have done their best to destroy PC users... I know the Hardline example isn't strictly PC, but it's still worth mentioning that they are selling what is little more than DLC as a full game. Almost forgot Dragon Age 2. You took Origins, which was an amazing PC game, and consolized it into an awful game regardless of what platform you bought it on.

As far as the VR fashion goes, I don't plan on getting one anytime soon, but if I did, it's not like I'd be using it in public.

UnstoppableKARL
UnstoppableKARL

That motherf*cker looks looks like an idiot in that photo.  What's next, a Ford Expedition strapped to my a$$?

charlieholmes
charlieholmes

Never thought about how the devices might look on me, or make me look. Does that really even matter seeing as I'll probably be immersed in it. The biggest issue to me is that there is no way in hell they're going to be comfy for anything beyond 10 minutes. I've had to wear similar types of things on my head in my profession that appear to be less of a burden then these things and I couldn't stand the things on my head. Always ripped them off ASAP! I think education and special use is where these devices may really find a home but maybe not for a lot of us gamers. Who really knows though until they actually hit and we see development adoption and price.

Sven_Viking
Sven_Viking

A lot of people play Elite: Dangerous, in particular, for hours at a time using the DK1. It's lighter than some headphones. The first consumer version is said to be markedly smaller and lighter still.

seanwil545
seanwil545

I guess I'm one of the 50million, even though I promptly uninstalled Origin once I vaporized the Titanfall Beta.

lem10001
lem10001

People who are concerned about how VR tech looks shouldn't be playing video games. They should be shopping for shoes or something rather than wasting their time, because they clearly don't get it.

Sven_Viking
Sven_Viking

Gaming was a dorky thing up to relatively recent times. This is just a new stage of the cycle. I doubt it will take as long to find mainstream acceptance, this time.

tr4newreck
tr4newreck

@Sven_Viking exactly, if it makes games even better... they will buy it..


google glass is pioneering the nerdy head-gear look anyway

chengsta
chengsta

one big difference:  EA stands for Electronic ASSHOLES.  Give me back my command and conquer bitches!

tr4newreck
tr4newreck

the little upstart wishes to play up to steam...as if they even offer equal deals...


EA is known for buying beloved franchises, talking a huge sheisse-storm about said franchise' ... and then failing everybody with a cash shop or a plethora of DLC that really should be release content,.... +additional overpriced content, on top.... ...they then make some of their games homogeneous and anodyne....enjoyed by all, loved by none... its why they win the annual "worst company in north america" awards... when really on balance politicians should win


i wouldn't touch origin with a ten foot poll


hitomo
hitomo

I want VR to revolutionise the way we experience p.orn ... home 3D already failed in that matter

ShadowAngel85x
ShadowAngel85x

Typical EA Crap. So EA supports the PC? Hmm, i can remember all those years when FIFA was just a PS2 convertion which lacked everything and it was only after PES kicked their asses year after year that they started to make a "good" FIFA for PC. Where is NHL? Where is Madden? Where is NBA Liv....no scratch that, NBA Liva sucks and plays like a bad joke compared to NBA 2K14

Also if EA cares for the PC why was Dragon Age 2 on the PC just a console conversion and the same ultra-dumbed down bullshit and crap compared to DA:O that was better on PC then it was on consoles?

I guess "we support PC" for EA means: "We puke out a new Crapplefield every year and love our DLCs and Microtransactions very much - thank you stupid pc gamers for supporting this".


Of course you're the Number 1 Publisher when you flood the PC with games, hyping them to no end so casual gamer buy that crap. Difference to Valve is that Valve cares about gamers and only release a game when it is satisfying and even then support it for years and years and years usually with free content on top of it. 


I mean, doesn't Origin itself show how much EA cares about the PC? The Platform is a joke compared to Steam. Where's the equivalent of the game forums? Where is the equivalent of the Steam Workshop? There's nothing. It's just DRM that looks ugly.


As for VR: It failed 20 years ago. Even with better technology it's just a gimmick that might be fun for about 30 minutes. After that you get headaches, after that you see that he hinders you gaming (especially in competitive games) and you go back to the basics. There's a reason that so far ALL gimmicks have failed: 3D-Glasses were big in the 80's and failed, they were revived around 2000-2004 by various GPU producers and failed. Input Gimmicks failed hard (Mouse & Keyboard + Gamepad that's all most people use, where are the Light Guns? Where are the Steering Wheels? Where are those wacky Skateboaring thingies? Where is the Wii-Mote?) 

And it's also too expensive for the consumer market. When you have people crying about spending 150€ for a graphic card or crying on Steam about games only reduced for 66% instead of 75% and saying that "1 Dollar is a 1 Dollar", how in the hell do you sell a shitty gimmick that might very welll cost somewhere between 200-300 Dollars?

suppaphly42
suppaphly42

@ShadowAngel85x all but one thing i agree with the. the light gun, although it is gone right now,  it may be because they don't work on new tv's, the light gun had gone the distance from the nes days, the arcades had lots of them and still just about every system of relevance till now had light guns and they were fun so i say that one should not be on your list 

alphawolf-j
alphawolf-j

@ShadowAngel85x AGREE WITH EVERYTHING 

apart from VR  .

Oculus make believers out of non believers, Just wait 

FCT-Steve-O
FCT-Steve-O

3D TV died because the majority of the people didn't like wearing glasses. You expect VR to succeed with having to wear a screen on your face?

Poodger
Poodger

@FCT-Steve-O I don;t know anyone that didn't sign up for 3D because of the glasses. It was because it was too expensive. There is a reason 3D movies at theaters do so well. People enjoy the tech, it adds a little zest to the experience. It can just be pricey.

tr4newreck
tr4newreck

@FCT-Steve-O please have you seen some gamer's... they already wear gear on their face...


what about google glass?...... no.. im afraid that mentality is on the verge of extinction...


if VR makes games glisten with eye candy-goodness... im pretty sure gamers' will buy

NikoKun
NikoKun

@FCT-Steve-O The difference is that VR comparatively provides a far greater experience for the trouble.

With a 3D TV, you're still sitting on your couch, looking at a small square screen across a room.. The 3D effect is often cheaply done in post, instead of recording the movie with 2 cameras, and there was a lack of content for 3D TVs or hardware that was cheap enough for most people. If it would have more quickly become a standard feature on TVs, even in some budget models, it might have done better..

Whereas VR provides an incredible new and different experience, that you simply can't get any other way.. The feeling of Presence in virtual worlds, as if you were in a real physical location. The consumer versions of these HMDs will provide the sort of "Presence" that could be described like being transported to another dimension.. The 3D feels the exact same as real reality, and gives you a sense of scale and distance in games that you can't get other ways, not to mention it fills your FOV. And they'll be relatively cheap too, probably around $250-300, so affordable and around the price of a mid-range TV or monitor. There's already a growing library of content for VR, and that trend is only picking up speed.

I think 3D TVs were a perfect storm of fail, whereas VR now seems set for all the key factors to fall in place. I'm sure it'll be a gradual adoption rate, the first rush will be enthusiasts, and a couple hardware generations from now it will start looking more like the smart phone craze. The enthusiasts will help spread the awesome, and soon everyone will want it.. Eventually it'll be even cheaper, and the size of a bulky pair of sunglasses.. Then what's stopping people..

Vexov
Vexov

I don't believe wearing a screen on your face would be that great. It's just not any kind of real leap for gaming, i can only see it neat for simulation type things like flying a plane and surgery-sim.


I think the biggest leap ever will be when we get into full VR; I watch an anime called Sword Art Online and i was thinking about what it would be like if we even finally reached that point. It's VR nervegear, which had you really feeling you were there. Anyways, If we every get to the point it would be amazing if it worked in our sleep; you could have even education programs, could you imagine how much a single person could learn?. All of that is a long ways off for humanity, the only progress we really make is whatever can sell to the mass.

xcollector
xcollector

Did Peter forget what the hell happened to NHL for PC? Its been missing since 2010. Nice try trying to say you support PC when you drop games to focus on consoles instead. Gabe is porting all his games over to 3 computer desktop platforms. Windows, Mac, & Linux. EA doesn't support Linux, barely supports Mac and likes to drop existing Windows versions of franchises in favor of consoles? And you are comparing yourself to Gabe? Thats like the Devil comparing himself to God and trying to convince people that the Devil is really just a nice guy. Peter's been drinking the Kool-Aid again with extra sugar.

Tuckpoint
Tuckpoint

Saying that you were making games before Gabe was even out of highschool might not be the smartest of claims to make.  If Gabe joined the industry years and years after you've already made your mark, and then promptly shows you up in every.  single.  aspect.  You need to just not make that comment.  Every PC gamer loves Gabe, every PC/Console/Hamster wheel operator hates EA.  Congratulations?


I had Origin for BF3, the worst purchase I've made in years, including falling for the whole Duke Nukem Forever hype.  After reading about the problems with the newest iterations of the franchise, I'll stick with Bad Company and stay far away from anything with a EA stamp on it, thanks.

Cryckard
Cryckard

It's the fact I have to put something on my face in order to enjoy VR that stops me. It's like 3D glasses. I never got into 3D because I had to put on glasses. It just annoys me and doesn't allow me to enjoy it.