EA takes on Steam with Origin, makes Crysis 2, Alice: Madness Returns store exclusives

star-wars-the-old-republic-screenshot

Electronic Arts has been in the digital distribution game for more than five years, though there’s been little that sets the online EA Store apart from other e-tailers like Steam or Impulse. Earlier this month, the platform was relaunched as Origin, with the publisher’s stated intent being to deliver content that you can’t necessarily find elsewhere in the PC gaming space. The first sign of change popped up earlier this week, when Crysis 2 disappeared from Valve’s Steam. What’s more, the official website for Alice: Madness Returns carries an “Only on Origin” tag for the PC version of the game.

EA Games president Frank Gibeau told Gamasutra in an interview that the publisher will continue to work with “retail channel partners as they evolve their business models to account for digital.” That said, the success of franchises like Halo and Uncharted has inspired the company to set up a framework that allows for platform exclusives. While Crysis 2 and Alice are examples of the changing attitude, the big push for EA will start with the release of the highly anticipated massively multiplayer online role-playing game, Star Wars: The Old Republic.

“In the case of Star Wars we’re trying to build an audience for Origin. And it’s also an opportunity for us to better manage the downloads and how we bring people over from the beta and that sort of thing. For a lot of reasons it made sense for an MMO, which is a highly complex deployment,” Gibeau said.

“I think long-term you’ll see we believe in reach so we will have other digital retailers for out products because we want to reach as many audiences as possible. But at the same time if we can use exclusive content or other ideas to help grow our audience then we’re going to do that because we’re growing a platform.”

The ultimate goal, of course, is to establish Origin as a platform with its own community and unique features, rather than just being a retail site. As digital distribution becomes more and more attractive for delivering content directly into the hands of consumers, expect to see more initiatives like this. Disc-based media isn’t going to disappear in the next five years, if only because we’re going to continue to see backwards compatible support in all corners of the market. The next 10 years though… entirely possible. Origin is a sign that EA is preparing for a shift in established business models, just as the EA Store was when it first launched back in 2005.

Emerging Tech

Awesome Tech You Can’t Buy Yet: Robots that eat landmines and clean your floors

Check out our roundup of the best new crowdfunding projects and product announcements that hit the web this week. You may not be able to buy this stuff yet, but it's fun to gawk!
Movies & TV

Netflix vs. Hulu: Which streaming service is right for you?

Netflix and Hulu are two of the biggest names in streaming entertainment. Our guide will help you decide which streaming service has the content you want and the best value for your limited budget.
Home Theater

New TV? Here's where to go to watch the best 4K content available

Searching for content for your new 4K UHD TV? Look no further. We have every major source of the best 4K content, along with the cost, hardware requirements, and features that make each service worth a look.
Home Theater

Netflix vs. Hulu vs. Amazon Prime: Battle of the on-demand streaming giants

Trying to figure out which subscription streaming service to use while sticking to a frugal entertainment budget? Check out our updated comparison of the big three: Netflix, Amazon Instant Video, and Hulu.
Movies & TV

Two Toy Story spinoffs schedule playdates with the Disney Plus streaming service

Disney's direct-to-consumer streaming video service Disney Plus will launch with an impressive catalog of classic content, new projects, and original shows and movies. Here is everything confirmed and rumored to be coming to the platform.
Gaming

Tired of the same PS4 annual releases? Try one of these indie games instead

While big budget games rely on practical innovation, indie games dive head first into new, unexplored territories. If the quirky and unusual appeal to you, take a look at our list of the best indie games on PS4.
Gaming

Joker in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is freezing some Nintendo Switch units

There have been reports that Joker in Super Smash Bros. Ultimate is causing Nintendo Switch units to freeze. Even with the glitch, players may still try him out, amid rumors that Persona 5 will soon arrive to the console.
Gaming

This list of PlayStation 4 exclusives puts its competitors to shame

The PlayStation 4's game library and incredible selection of exclusive games could make anyone with an Xbox One or Nintendo Switch think twice. Here's our list of the latest and greatest PS4 exclusives.
Gaming

Your PlayStation 4 game library isn't complete without these games

Looking for the best PS4 games out there? Out of the massive crop of titles available, we selected the best you should buy. No matter what your genre of choice may be, there's something here for you.
Gaming

These Xbox One exclusives are the definition of quality over quantity

Xbox One has a prestigious collection of handpicked titles that you can't play on other consoles. Here are the latest and greatest Xbox One exclusives, including some that are also available on PC
Gaming

Get over here and learn the proper way to deal a Fatal blow in Mortal Kombat 11

Mortal Kombat 11 introduces the Fatal Blow system, which gives players with low health the chance to shift a fight back in their favor. Here is how to perform a Fatal Blow, and how to defend against one.
Gaming

25 awesome indie games you should definitely be playing right now

These days, some of the best video games are made by independent studios. Here are 25 of the best indie games, whether you prefer grueling dungeon crawlers or otherworldly, meditative adventures.
Gaming

Retailer may have leaked The Last of Us Part 2 release date

A Slovakian retailer published a listing for The Last of Us Part 2, including a potential 2019 release date and box art. This leak comes shortly after an announcement that filming for the lead actors is complete.
Gaming

These awesome free-to-play games might be even better than the ones you paid for

Believe it or not, free-to-play games have evolved into engaging, enjoyable experiences. Here are a few of our favorites that you can play right now, including Warframe and the perennially popular League of Legends.