In an interview with Gamasutra, Origin Senior Vice President David DeMartini has framed Origin as the Battlefield to Steam’s Call of Duty, clearly because he doesn’t rate Steam’s utilitarian UI against Origin’s fancy white, and he’s a graphics man at heart.
“Battlefield 3 isn’t Call of Duty. Battlefield 3 is great, it’s a shooter, but it’s a great shooter in its own right. I want Origin to be the exact same thing.” Although he’s quick to add the proviso “That doesn’t mean Call of Duty is bad, and I don’t want to see Steam become bad.”
“They’re a partner of us. They do a lot of good things. What I want is I want Origin to be differentiable and better as a service which is similar to what Steam does.” It’s good business sense, if you think about it for a moment. Steam has such a dominance in the market, and so many users, that to compete directly would be suicide.
Origin, as Origin, has just turned a year old, although EA have been selling PC games digitally since 2005, which puts Origin about seven years behind Valve’s Steam, which launched in 2004. And as for playing catchup, DeMartini admits they’re not quite there yet. “Well, give us a few more years, and maybe we’ll be better than Steam. That said, we’re not…” Not going to do IP cheapening mega sales? Not… “Steam took eight years to get where it is. We’re not going to take eight years, but we’re going to get there and go beyond.”
At which point, of course, Gabe Newell is going to start talking about how Steam is like Call of Duty against Battlefield’s market dominance, the plucky underdog who’s going to win out in the end. Right?
Either that or he’ll have finally drowned with a smile on his face in that swimming pool full of money he does laps in every morning.