Community Answers: How would you reform EA’s Origin?

5 Posted by - July 18, 2013 - Crowdsourcing, Opinion

We asked. The community answered.

Origin is the streaming service gamers love to hate … minus perhaps the 40 million or so who use it on a regular basis. But with Steam enjoying almost unconditional love from the community, it was always going to be an uphill battle for any competitor, and Origin — run by Electronic Arts, itself no stranger to online hate campaigns — stumbled badly out to the gate. And then that stumble became its normal mode of progress.

EA wants to change that. It’s put someone new in charge, for starters. Executive vice president Andrew Wilson was involved in Origin’s earliest planning stages, and plans to return it to that original, consumer-centric approach.

So we asked the obvious question: How should he do that?

Perhaps not surprisingly, a great number of people decided to skip over the “constructive” part of the question entirely.

More than a few suggested Origin’s best move would be to simply close up shop and allow customers to transfer their purchased games to — you guessed it — Steam. But since that’s unlikely at best, a few people did chime in with what they’re looking for in a rebooted Origin.


Over on Facebook, Erica Sandman wanted Origin around to keep Steam competing, but she had a lot of suggestions for Origin if it wanted to provide real competition.

“EA needs more transparency in regards to how Origin does its business,” wrote Sandman. “AND you need better customer service. Imitate Steam’s ease of access in regards to friends and gifting. Create community hubs, forums, and better privacy functions. Clean up the coding so that Origin runs more smoothly (I’m looking at the disappearing games function. Oh, games are still installed, you can still run from the EXE, but they disappear off the Origin game list.”

Laura Perry disagreed slightly, suggesting Origin stop trying to compete with Steam entirely. “Concentrate more on the games rather than Origin,” she wrote, “allow your games on [Steam], get rid of DRM and people might take them seriously.

Kyle Turner also didn’t think Origin had that kind of fight in it, calling the service, “a boutique, not a brand.” Turner expanded on Perry’s theme, suggesting Origin integrate their catalog extensively with Steam, Xbox Live, and Good Old Games…a sentiment that found a lot of traction. Gamers in general wanted the option to take their games where they wanted them.

“Use the Origin backend servers, sure,” he wrote. “Use one global EA login, sure. But don’t require us to use a specific interface and store.”

Matt Kerr also voiced a popular opinion — “Sales. Way better sales.” — while Argentinean Fran Racciatti simply wanted to pay with his own national currency instead of converting to the Euro. Possibly the entire European Union would agree.

Raynald Haynes proposed Origin go where Steam has never gone before: a console. “Have an Origin app on Xbox 360,” Haynes wrote, though it’s tough to see Microsoft agreeing to that while Xbox Live still draws breath.

But the same refrains (aside from “shut it down”) kept coming up. Integrate with other services. Better customer service. More sales.

And, as Vanessa Konopacki put it, “Listen to your customers.”