EA Origin wants crowd-funded games

Publisher to provide free distribution services for 90 days for any successfully crowd-funded PC title; Wasteland 2 first confirmed game.

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Electronic Arts' Origin digital distribution platform boasts a vast game catalog of AAA titles like Mass Effect 3 and Battlefield 3, but now the publisher is courting smaller developers. EA announced today that it will provide free distribution services for any successfully crowd-funded PC title for 90 days after launch.

EA is hoping to attract indie developers to Origin with the promise of 90 days of free distribution services.

The first crowd-funded project confirmed for Origin is Inxile Entertainment's Wasteland 2. That game quickly surpassed its Kickstarter funding target earlier this year, climbing to over $2.93 million. Company CEO Brian Fargo said the 90 days of free distribution services represents a "major economic bonus" for the studio.

Gabriel Knight designer Jane Jensen also pledged her support for EA's new crowd-funded promotion. She said, "It's great to see a big publisher like EA opening up distribution opportunities for these games." Jensen's crowd-funded Pinkerton Road studio recently exceeded its $300,000 target.

EA confirmed to GameSpot this afternoon that Jensen's inclusion in the announcement was only to demonstrate her support for the program and is not confirmation that her first title--Moebius--will be released as part of it.

EA specifically called out the Kickstarter crowd-funding platform as one that developers can utilize, though others are available. Those interested in hosting their title through Origin can complete a submission form at the Origin publishing portal.

On top of announcing it would waive distribution fees for crowd-funded titles for 90 days, EA revealed today that Origin now boasts 12 million members, up from an 11 million user count announced earlier this month.

Discussion

478 comments
LastMatic
LastMatic

Really EA Origins? You want crowd-funded games?! Well in that case I want a BJ tonight, it's only fair....

stev69
stev69

Seriously? So producers not only want us to buy the product they want us to directly fund it during development now as well????

Crush_Project
Crush_Project

even if i do ever get my game off the ground, im certainly never having it on origin.  I dont want any association with ea whatsoever.  would give us a bad reputation.

Arkanin
Arkanin

Plz no Origin.... It would literally kill this game for me if I had to get it through them....aka not getting it if EA is involved in any way.

SauhlGood
SauhlGood

pls too little too late... hope origin fails, its only buoy is swtor

Ralph7000
Ralph7000

Quick Question . If I have a game on steam and someone else  has the same game on origin will the 2 be able to play multiplayer example Kingdoms Of Amalur if it had multiplayer.

dougw56
dougw56

Give seed money to EA? Seriously? I'll get right on it after they fix the bugs in Sims 3, stop charging $50 for the courses they held out of Tiger Woods golf, the list is endless. I for one will support the little guys doing something interesting long before I help this company that time and again has shown no real interest in their customers' concerns.

ZoTrAcK
ZoTrAcK

They are probably thinking about making a free-to-play-crowd-funded model. And some DLC crowd funded, why not?

VarietyMage
VarietyMage

Forget EA.  They suck.  They could have been working with Interplay for years and put out another Wasteland.  I have the C64 original, I know.  And EA would try to suck money out of it once it got successful.  Forget those idiots.  EA = Bain Capital = job and IP killers.

SEEDman_X
SEEDman_X

I really don't think gamers has much customer loyalty to EA!!  They have turned too many creative studios into failed sequel-makers and then started layoffs to save their bottom line!!

IMPACT_17
IMPACT_17

No sh*t EA wants games that pay for themselves. I mean, the whole 90-days thing seems like a great idea, but I can see EA taking advantage of the studios afterwards. Charge a consumer for a product that they paid for the production of? Seems like something that can quickly get taken out of hand.

Bozanimal
Bozanimal

"This form is for initial contact with Origin only. It is not a guarantee or commitment to distribute. Details of the distribution arrangements will be made between each developer and Origin in subsequent correspondence."

 

I want to see the fine print. While this seems like a really good deal for Indies, depending on the restrictions - such as if this gives Origin exclusive distribution rights (meaning no Steam or Amazon) - it could sour things.

bigmark119
bigmark119

Who would actually want to fund a game that requires origin?

Fursnake
Fursnake

"EA announced today that it will provide free distribution services for any successfully crowd-funded PC title for 90 days after launch."...

Afterwards we will charge you a crapload for distribution and anything else we can nail you for.

allanpaas
allanpaas

Whenever there's talk of Origin, Steam seems to get a lot of advertisement. I wonder if EA is aware of what they are exactly advertising, definitely not their own crap of a product.

Unless bad publicity is exactly what they want. In that case I'd say they seem to be really fond of the Golden Poo. I'd be happy to send them some real poo... Comes in different colors also. You've got the regular brown, then I could eat some iron pills so there's an option for black poo, I guess I could squeeze out some yellow, that's similar to golden... Interested?

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

Anyone with a brain will go to kickstarter long before EA, unless they want to be used and thrown away.

Poodlejumper
Poodlejumper

Yanno, I just had an epiphany...(not really a brilliant one either.) Why doesn't EA just take some of its hookers-and-blow-4-executives-who-should-be-makeing-little-debbie-snack-cakes-and-not-games-money, and give it to some seasoned developers who need a little free reign in their creative process. Don't stymie them with deadlines and avoid going over budget if at all possible (no scope creap). Viola. You get the same dang effect as what we're paying these Kickstarter games for. THE SAME EFFECT. You can even push it on that horrible origin tripe.

MindlessTeef
MindlessTeef

I was recently married... to Origin. I was actaully courting Mass Effect 3, but it turned out that Origin and ME3 is a sort off a "double-deal"... can't have one with out the other. Unless, you know, get ME3 WITHOUT Origin... but us honest people don't do that kind of thing. So now I'm stuck with Origin, better than Steam in some ways I supose, but who needs another "Steam"? And now I got that one that Gamestop bought over as well as I was silly enough to pick up Sins of a Solar Empire Trinity! Get a bit much... but hey, at least Wasteland 2 now has a way to get to us... that's good! Right?

famekiller
famekiller

is it wrong of those who supported the kickstart to either have a say in this or ask for a refund?

Derpalon
Derpalon

Is this really a good thing? I'm thinking from EA's perspective the reason they love this so much is because it's guaranteed income for them, but as for the players who invested in the game, there's no telling whether the devs will actually deliver on the investment. You're paying for a future product which you have no quality guarantee on. Actually, who am I kidding? Of course this isn't a good thing. It's Origin; the software that is the fruition of all my fears about the current direction of the game industry.

sidewinder_na
sidewinder_na

Origin is here, and much to our chagrin it's here to stay.

So instead of wishing origin away, we need to remind EA what makes

Steam so successful, and that if they keep pushing for maximum pricing and control, we'll go do our gaming elsewhere.

 

Now we just need for people to stop playing BF3...

baq99
baq99

Origin should die in a hole.  End of.

91210user
91210user

What if a group of gamer invested and created a really crap game? What are EA going to do when they release this for 90s?

 

Isn't there going to be 'You gamers wanted it, not us, it's a crap game but hey, it's the gamers fault, not us!' statement from EA? I'm waiting for it. A wonderful way to kill the future of games.

syafiqjabar
syafiqjabar

 @SEEDman_X  I don't think many people has a loyalty to a particular publisher, unless the publisher makes consoles or have a service like Steam. Without even realising it, many of the games I have bought are were published by EA. Not because I like EA, they just happen to publish the games I like.

syafiqjabar
syafiqjabar

 @IMPACT_17 

If you give at least $10 or $15 to certain Kickstarters, you already get the game in digital form. If you did not contribute to the Kickstarter (or gave less than the amounts stated), you still have to buy the game normally.

 

By the way, none of this means the games are published by EA. They just have a perk when sold through Origin, but you can still buy them elsewhere.

colt_a
colt_a

 @JimmeyBurrows Except now that people that use Kickstarter (like Wasteland 2) are still getting in bed with EA, making it pointless.  They also refuse to refund any donation/investment of people not wanting to support Origin.

 

This story alone is starting a wave of anti-kickstarter media because people are realizing that they are investing the money, but getting none of the say (unlike traditional investing).

People were donating on kickstarter so they WOULD NOT have to support EA/Activision.  Now they don't have a choice.  They have your money and they will put the product on Origin.  While its free for 3 months, they will be paying money to EA eventually.  Thus, the people trying to avoid supporting EA, are now indirectly supporting EA. 

Its a shame that a lot of other indie developers will suffer because many won't use kickstarter anymore.

MooncalfReviews
MooncalfReviews

" Unless, you know, get ME3 WITHOUT Origin..."

 

It's called a console. ;) 

Hicks233
Hicks233

This is why Kickstarter projects have such potential to be a can of worms. What if you donated say £1000 to a project because you spent the better part of your childhood playing an early iteration of the series? Then on release you didn’t get “exactly” what you wanted. As an investor do you have a say? Do majority investors who donated £5000+ have more of a say than minority investors who donated £1-10? Should donators get a return of profits for investing in the development or are Kickstarter projects just charity by another name that will incite nerdrage and entitlement?

 

Kickstarter is a great faith and goodwill exercise that can potentially cash in on gamers naivety and ill thought out clamouring. It could also be an interesting and potentially fruitful development style that listens to customers desires and works with them to make a product they enjoy but it’s bound to get messy.

 

Should they have a lengthy outline listing cost breakdowns, distribution channels, support mechanisms, legal requirements, restrictions and caveats as well as a breakdown of game mechanics, system requirements and concepts all before they’ve written a single line of code? It could be argued yes. It would make sense. How many gamers though are going to pay attention to those issues though as opposed to going *throws money at screen* and expect a continuation of a series that they love? Gamers do have themselves to blame to some extent.

Hicks233
Hicks233

 @Derpalon It's a distribution platform which acts as drm, just like steam.. You're acting as if it is a forebearer of a plague.

 

You don't have to buy through origin.

 

Lets say for example it were to be sold through origin, gog, steam and direct from the developer. You have a choice, as has been confirmed by B Fargo.

syafiqjabar
syafiqjabar

 @91210user Well that would be the devs' fault, not EA. It would be crap if they sold it on Steam or GOG or retail. Why would EA make a statement about it, they are neither developer nor publisher of the game. Have you heard Valve make any statement about Bad Rats, Eternity's Child and Orion: Dino Beatdown? These are some of the most horrible (and hilarious) games on Steam.

LastMatic
LastMatic

@colt_a @JimmeyBurrows You're incorrect. If EA backed the game they'd have a say in it. They didnt back it we did, they are being used as a PLATFORM to promote the game when it goes on digital shelves (Origins, Steam, Uplay, whatever). Obviously they will get a small royalty from it but they've had no creative involvement whatsoever.

syafiqjabar
syafiqjabar

 @colt_a I love reactions like this. The Kickstarter devs do not make the games just for the benefit of the backers. They make those games so that they can sell them (to non-backers, because they will already get the game). To do this, they will sell their games wherever they like to get at the most audience possible.Brian Fargo does not hate EA, you know.

 

Even then, backers still get to give their feedback at official forums or at the Kickstarter comments section. The devs still have complete control on the game, though, so they will listen to what they choose is appropriate for their game. Look at the Shadowrun Returns project, where backers can now vote on the cities that will be featured in the game.

Ralph7000
Ralph7000

 @MooncalfReviews Origins probably in the future gonna get integrated into ea console games just like ubisoft's uplay.

egger7577
egger7577

As long as it's not Windows Live I'm okay with it. After using Origin for a while it's not that bad. Not nearly as good as Steam but it does manage some things well. Still hate the required Battlelog login for BF3 though.

famekiller
famekiller

 @msfan1289 why answer a question with a question? I was asking do donators have any say or is it strictly give us your cash and see you later.  Obviously its take the money and run

Hicks233
Hicks233

 @msfan1289 Throwing their toys out the pram because EA has something to do with the distribution, nevermind that it is an optional outlet to purchase from.

 

Best of luck with your project that you and your team are working on. It's only my opinion but I think you have a healthy attitude to Kickstarter and how it can work, but also how it can backfire. : )

 

Best of luck.

famekiller
famekiller

 @Hicks233 you make some good points. I feel its strictly money raising only. Having say 3000 people as donators having their say in the project would lead to misery for all involved. I don't have a problem with the concept, they just need to clarify where supporters stand.

JimmeyBurrows
JimmeyBurrows

 @Hicks233 Kickstarter is a way to escape most of the bullshit that comes from business... If they were giong to start throwing all the promises and legal obligations it'd be better to just go and let the publishers styfle their creativity.

Sure people can be taken advantage of, but thats where common sense prevails, don't go throwing your money at the product, throw it at the people you can trust.

As for donating loads of money, you really shouldn't... The whole thing is better with smaller donations, making it more like buying the product in advance than being a part of the business side.

Basically when you start shouting about rights and legal stuff... All the good will be gone.

Richardthe3rd
Richardthe3rd

 @Hicks233 Great post.  You definitely touched on some very valid concerns.

 

People need to investigate kickstarter investments, and the projects themselves need to increase the transparency of their motives.  Distribution method, being the watershed topic it is now, should at least be disclosed first hand.

 

(Saying that, I realize in most cases that it would be impossible for some of these kickstarter projects to know that beforehand... so I don't know. )

91210user
91210user

 @syafiqjabar

Maybe. It's because they're pushing hard to make players like Origin a biut more. This news will shocks the publishers more because EA really wanted to market this software in an effort to compete with Steam. It's no where near the VG developers fault, maybe the programmers who developed Origin themselves!

msfan1289
msfan1289

 @Hicks233 Thanks i hope for the best too. and my team are very clear that there is a big chance that we might not meet our goal at kickstarter, if you go right now to kick starter you can see the many game project that only raised less then $500 and there goal is over $10,000 and only have a few days left to meet there goal.  worst case for my team, because lot of us work full time at day time jobs or going to college, me and 2 of my "business partners" will pay for the stuff out of our own pockets. but yeah thats the thing about kickstarter, seems like a lot of the games that are getting big time news in gamespot and many other media outlets are teams that were already in the game business to start with.and that says a lot.

Hicks233
Hicks233

@JimmeyBurrows

It would be naive to think that this is anything but business. The developer is going to need to turn a profit or go bust - that simple.

 

Dreams of idealism and fighting the big nasty publisher tend to go out the window when accounts are rapidly dwindling and employees need paying. Dreams of creativity aren't going to pay bills in most cases.

 

msfan1289 put it brilliantly where there is a need for communication between customers and the developer.  If the product is a dud the reputation will be even more heavily damaged if it has been crowd financed.

 

Going purely on "good faith" is a nice ideal but when they're in a competitive market place they need to address those things: the rights, legal issues and communication issues with customers that you find so pesky. They'll need to do it to protect their backs, their intellectual property and to maintain a positive reputation. While a long time fan of a developer will stick by them the average customer isn't going to care less. Only how good the end product is.

 

Funding based on the people developing - what if the little shinning stars leaves the development team? Do you ask for your money back because you don't like the remainder of the team as much? This despite the lets assume good quality of the product they are making?

 

That's the only "good" that's really going to matter when it comes down to the balance sheet.

msfan1289
msfan1289

 @Hicks233 like ANY investment it is a risk a person take doesnt matter if its in the stock market, kickstarter, or even giving money to a 10 year wanting to open up a lemonade stand. a risk is a risk, and  you will have to bite the bullet no matter how good or bad the company does in then end. as a person to give money in kickstarter you should well know the risk that there will be when giving money to a project, you should well know from th GET GO that the project will be a hit or it can flop, one thing tho Gamespot does not talk about the MANY projects that used KickStarter and never reach there goal. if a project does not reach the set amount goal they are asking the money is refunded to the people who donated to the project. that is why a lot of the teams asking for money, post concept art, videos and what not.

 

I for one my team will use Kickstarter as a way to get funding to pay a lot of the programs we need ( can not release anything for sale with student versions of the software, and Autodesk programs are not that cheap). but right now we are making a demo level that wea re trying to finish by the end of summer and use that to showcase our project and we will have a forum that people can go to and give us feed back and we will listen to them.

 

one thing you have to keep in mind what if they game turns out the way the people thought it was going to be. well if they make a game and it flops after it got made and used Kickstarter money to fund it. not only they will lose there fan base but also there is a high chance that if they try to use kicksater again or Indiegogo pretty sure there name will be shot that no one will donate any money. that is why it is important to work with the fans and ask them what they like, what works and what does not.

 

in the end kickstarter is another word for a charity, and it is up to the person them self to give them money or not, and should know that giving money to a company for a product will mean that there is a high risk that they can lose the money in a way that the game flops or it is a game they didnt expect for it to be.

 

oh by the way people Kickstarter i think is own by Amazon.com

Hicks233
Hicks233

@Richardthe3rd

It's a really brave model that's in its infancy so it's bound to have some stumbling blocks.

 

I'd be interested also in how the ideas of intellectual property and ownership of likenesses will be tackled with the projects that advertise high tier rewards of your voice or likeness in the game. Does that mean forgoing IP rights to your likeness? What if the donator isn't happy with how their avatar can be interacted with or is presented?

 

Kickstarter is all really enthusiastic. I'm hoping that these projects go well but I'm waiting for someone’s nerdrage to spill over because they donated £10 and didn't get exactly what they wanted. Then the storm will start.

 

Perhaps that's a social issue and not a development related one. Though when you combine development with social interaction and investment then they are bound to influence each other - for good or bad.

 

Bluring the lines between customers, investors and fans is going to get sticky.

 

EA have seen an opportunity to gain customers to their origin platform in a similar way to valve and it’s use of flagship titles being tied to steam and then the integration of the steamworks client and drm. If it was a company other than EA doing this it’d be likely all sunflowers and puppies.

syafiqjabar
syafiqjabar

@91210user What are you even talking about here? Are you talking about games exclusive to Origin? That is not relevant at all to this topic. You can buy the games elsewhere if you want to.

 

EA is also not necessarily responsible for the quality for games developers put on Origin, although they have a right to refuse certain games if they want to. The only thing they may be responsible for is the quality of Origin integration with certain games. So far only Battlefield 3 and Mass Effect 3 does this at all, and both are developed by internal EA studios.

 

With Steam, we can see this better. All new THQ and Square Enix games for the PC requires Steam integration, but Valve is not responsible for the quality of these games. Whether they are good or bad is up to the developers. Steam has also refused certain games to be put on Steam, but not for quality reasons since one of the examples is indie game Solonium Infernum which is very good.