EA soft-launches Link

Downloader digital distribution service morphs into EA Link.


Not one to pass a good deal by, Electronic Arts was early to jump on the digital download bandwagon, albeit in an understated way--the publisher didn't want to step on any retailers' toes when it announced its Downloader service in late 2005. Selling games in shrink-wrapped packaging off shelves is still the mainstay business model of traditional publishers, but with the promotion of Chip Lange to head up EA Downloader last year, actions spoke louder than words: EA was taking digital distribution seriously.

This week, the publisher retired its version 1.0 download service and gave Downloader a new interface, new name, and new features. According to the Associated Press, EA Link users can now download data faster, search for products in a more intuitive way, launch purchased games quicker, and access a payment system that is faster and more in keeping with consumer's expectations.

Digital distribution ''is an increasing priority for us at EA and it's a further step in EA's commitment to have a one-on-one relationship with our customers,'' Lange, vice president of EA's online division, said. ''The business has gone beyond a static model of 'I've bought the game and I'm done.' This keeps the games dynamic.''

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Avatar image for ace_of_spades

"cooool look at it this way guys : 1- u dont need a cd for downlaoded games so that makes it better you dont have to change the game every time. 2- u dont have to go to any place 2 buy a game just stay home and buy it online and then downlaod and have fun. 3-well....there will be more place in your room because you dont have a box. 4- well i dont know. " ***** 1- ISOs dumbass. Now you have so much copyright protection that reinstalling might void ur license. 2- For god sakes are you so lazy that you cant even get off ur ass and buy a game. It might be the only light of day you get for a month 3-then throw away the goddamn box **** 1- U have a crappy PDF manual 2- U cant resell at EB 3- U have to leave ur computer on for like 3 days cause the bandwidth is so low. 4- U dont have the pleasure of having a box, a CD, or any material showing that you have a video game just a bunch of data of data on your porn-filled, virus infected, HD ***** I think that these distrubution things are terrible. Look how bad the gamespy one is. YOU HAVE TO PAY FULL PRICE. COuld these guys make any more money on people who live in their parents basements and use their allowance on video games cause they have NO LIFE! ***** Things they dont have to pay for 1- Shipping ($1) 2- Store($5-10) 3- Printing and Packaging ($3) THings they do have to pay for 1- Bandwidth (a few cents) ***** Now tell me this isnt a rip

Avatar image for fire_hunter

IT SUCKS!!! Ea link doesnt work, it has always errors, i bought battlefield 2142 and i cant install it. I have mailed ea support but they never answer! Stay away from ealink!

Avatar image for xXKINGPINXx

cooool look at it this way guys : 1- u dont need a cd for downlaoded games so that makes it better you dont have to change the game every time. 2- u dont have to go to any place 2 buy a game just stay home and buy it online and then downlaod and have fun. 3-well....there will be more place in your room because you dont have a box. 4- well i dont know.

Avatar image for maddemios

Oh great... I'm just going to stay clear of this.

Avatar image for Sabbath_13

Steam will always be better, theres no way EA link is going on my computer :D

Avatar image for diablobasher

Ugh. EA.

Avatar image for great_grandad

I don't like the idea of the downloading service, although I have not looked into it, I'm pretty sure EA will have the monopoly on selling there games that way so it will only cost you more then shopping around online

Avatar image for Destroyeron13

I still like having the box.

Avatar image for alpha_company

Woohoo! Duh :D

Avatar image for jazilla

Download services are cool as long as review crews like the good people here at GameSpot keep publishers honest. By keeping them honest, I mean, if a game is unfinished, then said review team writes a review that reflects that unfinished business. I trust the review team here at GameSpot. If they give a game a 6.7, I am not going to rent it, much less buy it. Also, as long as we the consumer, don't pay for all the extra add-ons that go w/games these days, we will actually continue to get games that are finished products, and not just shells that we have to pay to fill.

Avatar image for Martyr

EA will always copy or buy out ideas/companies......Steam is thee best!

Avatar image for 2o35

its about time more game developers adopt what valve did;... Valve had it right from the start. Steam kicks ass and EA knows it

Avatar image for Jasper

Are they charging any fees for the use or just the games?

Avatar image for atlessky

tats better cuz always ERROR

Avatar image for maverick_76

learn to type'A:

Avatar image for Ondoval

You know that in The Godfather game you can rent a better killer with 250 points? It isn't a problem with only one or two franchises; when some of then take in account that his competitors can win easy money with thing like this one the microtransactions will expand like a locust plague. I´ts not a problem with Sony, Microsoft, Nintendo or EA: all of them and alot more will up to the wagon and will apply the same techniques to take your money. The problem isn´t the existence of platforms like Steam or Link, the problem is the change of the classical Status Quo of videogames industry: the money now will not come from the sale of finished games, but from monthly cuotes and small downloads to complete unfinished products... ç And imo the things will be ever worse in the next years, belive me.

Avatar image for buruburu

Ondoval's "Prepare your money to buy ammunition and gasoline aside from the ogiginal game " hehhehheh Isn't that where MMOs are going? (I don't use those, but I read it somewhere) buying ammo...hehhehheh Pay for more content that is ty[pically expected as part of any original content of a packaged/downloaded 1.0 of a game... are going to be features of unimaginitive franchises like Gran Turismo, as they have implimented in GT HD. I've never been interested in GT , & still repulsed by it. I do enjoy Burnout Revenge though.

Avatar image for runstalker

An objective hands-on: I just updated the EA Downloader to EA Link and I'm re-downloading BF 2142 on a fresh XP pro install. The interface is much improved over the downloader and the download speeds are really, really fast. Unfortunately the whole thing is sparse right now. As the person said below, EA needs to add older faves like Syndicate and System Shock 2 for $9.99 or whatever. The thing needs more content and EA needs to mine their classics. It's fast though.

Avatar image for chikahiro94

While I like the service, I'm a little dissapointed: all the EA games I want are their old ones, not the new ones. Syndicate, System Shock 2, the Ultima's, etc. I really don't much care about their newer PC titles (not my cup of tea).

Avatar image for comthitnuong

the thing always apears as some error thing

Avatar image for runstalker

Obviously stuff like Steam considers failing hard drives or reformatting when providing such services. Consumers would be quite upset if they had to purchase the game again. But that's not the case. Your account owns the game after you pay for it; it becomes associated with your account, not just the physical drives. It checks your PC for the game in order to launch it and if it's not there, it will ask you if it can put it there again - 'cause you own the product.

Avatar image for kmilo_rws

Timbydude said: "This'll never beat Steam...unless EA buys out Valve." Dude... don't even THINK about it! Please!

Avatar image for GFofgaming

ondoval, clearly e-distribution doesn't work this way. It just having to download the entire thing. Also u can backup as many copies as u want and than activate one of them via online.

Avatar image for tr00pa_26

i agree with ondoval

Avatar image for Ondoval

Digital downloads & microtransactions will be the cancer of the videogames industry. In the future, you can expect start games like Halo 4, Killzone 3 or Quake 5 with a knife and nothing more -the arsenal will be buyable apart-, and you could play racing games in wich you simply can´t win with skill because the guys who pays for the better downloaded cars will be always on top. And you could buy a multiplayer game and never play with your friends, because they will have different stages, racing circuits, etc. Sorry for my english, but the idea is clear: you can see what I talk in games like GT HD, BF2 and a lot more in the future. Prepare your money to buy ammunition and gasoline aside from the ogiginal game :(

Avatar image for kyosukeugc

"""i think its a good idea but what if your computer crashes or you lose your data? i had to do a complete restore a couple of months ago and had to reinstall everything. i wouldn't want to have to buy the game again just because my computer crashed. wait a minute ... maybe EA is on to something.... """ I don't know how EA's system works exactly, but with Valve's Steam, it keeps track of the games you've bough, etc... I've had to format a couple of times sine I've bought aot of their games andit never forgets.... so this is really a non-issue probably. Same thing with Guild Wars and games like that. When I login, it remembers me and says "oh hey, you have this"

Avatar image for janner51

There's too much of the unknown involved in digital downloads. So many "what ifs". I'll stick to discs for a few more years yet.

Avatar image for msim

i think its a good idea but what if your computer crashes or you lose your data? i had to do a complete restore a couple of months ago and had to reinstall everything. i wouldn't want to have to buy the game again just because my computer crashed. wait a minute ... maybe EA is on to something....

Avatar image for cjlee420

Is anyone having problems with it saying the server is down?EA sucks

Avatar image for kyosukeugc

For those who complain about price. Quit yer griping... cmon now, get withthe program, this is the future. EA is just another one jumping ont he bandwagon. Valve Software has been doing this for a few years now and has been very succesful and Half-Life 2 was still anywhere from $49.99 - $79.99 depending n the gaming package you got. Don't expect prices to change just because you download it instead of havn the disks. This is why most games come with a manual in them or there's a downloadable/printable version too. Even the Call of Duty series joined up with Valve's steam to become downloadable at the same price they are in stores. You have to remember when you buy a game you aren't paying for the paper/disks. you're paying for the game. Disks and paper manuals are only about 10 cents of the cost there if that much for the companies who put them out... I'm glad EA has jumped in here. Makes it great for those of us who are lazy or don't really care about the physical disks... Granted, I still usually prefer to have them, but it's not a big deal if I don't.

Avatar image for NinjaFoot

Now you can get spyware in your EA games without even going to the store!!!

Avatar image for cjcr_alexandru


Avatar image for biosc1

Remember, Big_Red6986, Steam had it's share of growing pains as well. Unfortunately, in this day and age, it's common-place to have issues when releasing new software.

Avatar image for Big_Red6986

My friend bought BF2142 off EA Downloader, and now that EA Link is out he is had nothing but problems trying to play. Getting invalid CD-Key messages, Punkbuster kicks him from servers if he finally gets into a game...and he gets random error messages. EA needs to get their sh*t together, atleast Steam WORKS. I'm just glade my retail version of BF2142 works with only the occasional crash.

Avatar image for Jac5232

Well for those with multiple hard-drives EA Link still installs itself to your C drive. For those of you who'd rather have it on another hard-drive though I have a solution. Hit regedit, go into the Electronic Arts section (you'll have to look a bit) Change values from the C drive to whatever drive you want EA Link to be in. Then move EA Link to that drive and you should be set. Worked for me.

Avatar image for JBBJR

If you dont offer a discounted price....there is no reason to buy from you EA. If I pay the same amount.....I want the pretty little case and disk and instructions. Are you kidding me, asking the same price. Im a fan of EA games but Im not buying.

Avatar image for Sagacious_Tien

Keep em cheap and you may see my custom.

Avatar image for SpareJesus

I'm surprised Nintendo haven't sued for the use of the word 'Link'. With all the petty lawsuits going around from other companies for such other small-minded issues, you'd think.. ..But then again, Nintendo aren't petty, I think..

Avatar image for fingerpaint

I like disks as well. I think it's a rip off having to have to disc. If I'm paying money for it I want the product!

Avatar image for bob_dartagnan

How many times have I had to buy stuff AGAIN from iTunes because of my freaking computer? Too many! Give me disks.

Avatar image for KamaKase

@KingofTrolls. Yes, because the boxart is the hard part.

Avatar image for Blazer88

Burn it to one genius

Avatar image for TWOC2689

I feel more secure with a disk

Avatar image for KingofTrolls

Digital Downloads suck. What a lazy way for publishers to get you a product and they don't have to make the boxart, dvd labels or even the damn DVD. Sorry but I want the full retail box when buying anything.

Avatar image for BIGboss600

the ps4 will have digital dist its the future but i still want my box and stuff

Avatar image for trigun123

EA is a very bad company in my mind...rather than put out better content than the competition, it just buys out the company that releases the better game and gets rid of them...just the idea that those kind of things are starting to happen in the gaming world worries me.....do me a favor EA and get back to some real innovation and real game making like you did so many years ago, it was really magic but you seemed to have lost it along the way

Avatar image for trigun123

im glad that game companys are milking people to buy shoes for their character in tiger woods or something rather than making them unlockable, has the game industry really become so much about profit that its turned a cold shoulder to the gamers? EA is just rediculous because they release the same game, year after year, and everyone goes out and buys it for what? new roster? heres an idea, rather than release a new madden next year with maybe oh 1 more game mode and a new roster, save the consumer 60 bucks and just sell them the roster and game modes online so they dont have to shell out that kind of cash for such limited content. i think online distrobution, when done right, is awesome. but not when its paying a dollar for stupid things that should be included in the original game anyhow

Avatar image for cesare

I don't think I'd ever "buy" a digital download.

Avatar image for Dredra

Yeah and they also broke BF2142 when they released it: [url=<< LINK REMOVED >>]EA Breaks BF2142...Again[/url]

Avatar image for ElectrolightSH

Lame! EA sucks ass.

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