Origin opts for long-term strategy over mass sales

E3 2012: ‘Steam sales devalue IP’ claims Origin boss

Steam sales may pay dividends in terms of units shipped, but this comes at a real cost to the value of IP, says EA’s David DeMartini.

In an interview with Games Industry International, the boss of EA’s digital download service Origin pointed to differences between his company’s attitude and that adopted by Valve’s rival Steam service.

Steam offers regular sales of entire catalogs of games, slashing prices by as much as 75 percent.

"We won’t be doing that," said DeMartini.

"Obviously they think it’s the right thing to do after a certain amount of time. I just think it cheapens your intellectual property."

To DeMartini, the problem is one of massed short-term sales versus long-term profits.

"I know both sides of it, I understand it. If you want to sell a whole bunch of units, that is certainly a way to do that, to sell a whole bunch of stuff at a low price," he explained.

"The gamemakers work incredibly hard to make this intellectual property, and we’re not trying to be Target. We’re trying to be Nordstrom.

"When I say that, I mean good value – we’re trying to give you a fair price point, and occasionally there will be things that are on sale you could look for a discount, just don’t look for 75 percent off going-out-of-business sales."

He went on to clarify that Valve’s "old-school" approach of slashing prices to reflect the cost of sales was only one way of doing things, hinting that EA’s own attitude was that value can be extended over time by engaging with the audience.

"We don’t have the old-school approach that you’re describing," said Demartini.

"We’re all about building as big a universe as we can, and there are multiple ways to build the universe. One way is to discount the price, the other is to form a longer-term relationship with them and draw them in that way."

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