While many gamers have shared their thoughts on EA’s Origin digital distribution service, and how it’s shoehorned support isn’t sending the best message, one big name in the digital distribution industry are letting their thoughts also be known. That big name is, of course, Gabe Newell the co-founder of Valve, who just so happens to run one of Origin’s biggest competitors, Steam.
But, Newell isn’t coming out to bash Origin or talk about how much better Steam is than EA’s service, he actually wanted to share his honest thoughts, which are mostly positive. According to Newell there some things that Origin does well, and some areas that they can improve, basically it’s exactly what he expected.
Unfortunately for those PC gamers who might have been wary of being forced to purchase Battlefield 3 from Origin, Newell doesn’t share any of those inherent flaws with the service, he only says it has good and bad qualities. In fact, Newell spends just as much time talking about Steam’s never-ending stream of competition.
“I and everyone at Valve know that you’re only as successful as what you’ve done lately. So the idea that Steam is somehow the answer to digital distribution ignores the fact that every two or three years, something is going to change dramatically.”
So, while Valve might not feel any direct pressure from Origin (if you don’t feel pressure from Half-Life 2: Episode 3 protestors where do you feel pressure from?) they are well aware of what the digital distribution brings to the table — what they do right and what they do wrong. The subscribers and patrons of the service might not know what those are, and they might still fail to see the value in multiple distributors, but Valve does.
Recently Steam has made a few mistakes, and Origin has put a few people off, but both are run by competent publishers/developers that deliver highly anticipated games that will sell well no matter where they are available. Much like we hope Battlefield 3 will push Call of Duty to improve, so do we hope that Origin pushes Steam to evolve.
Do you think that Valve has anything to worry about with Origin gaining prominence? Will there ever be a day when only one digital distribution service exists?