For some of you who may be forced to use EA’s digital distributor Origin, this may come as good news. In an interview with GamesIndustry during E3, EA’s executive vice president Andrew Wilson said that the next step for Origin’s evolution is to “re-establish Origin as a service to gamers.”
Wilson’s history with Origin goes back to its inception, where a small team had an idea of what Origin might be. What Wilson’s team really wanted Origin to be in the early days was a service that allowed gamers to play EA titles better and provide gamers with a something that would connect them with their friends; something where they could easily buy and update games; and something that would expand across all platforms, and not just PC.
During the interview, Wilson acknowledged that the Origin service has changed over the course of time since its original version.
“Over the years … there’ve been some permutations of that vision that have manifested as part of Origin,” Wilson said. “I think what we’ve done is taken a step back and said ‘Wow, we’ve actually done some really cool things with Origin.’ It is by no means perfect, but we’ve done some pretty cool things. As you say, the plumbing is there. What can we do now to really think about Origin in the next generation?”
GamesIndustry broached to Wilson the perception of Origin being another roadblock getting in the way of gamers, pointing out that, when Origin was first released, it appeared to be built around what was useful for EA than what was useful to gamers. GamesIndustry pointed out that, considering there were other services that do what Origin does, Origin just felt like something else to install for gamers. GamesIndustry then asking Wilson how he plans to change Origin to counteract this.
“I think your perception is absolutely correct,” Wilson agreed. “I think when I look at the journey that service has taken, I think the transaction component of that service has taken a disproportionate amount of the communication and mindshare of what we really try and provide, and the barrier that that puts in between you and the game that you want to play.I don’t want to have multiple technologies installed” to handle these various features,” Wilson continued. “I don’t have to have separate technology. Origin does that. So if you take away the transaction part of that, which for us in all honesty is a very small part of the service, and you think about consistent downloads, consistent access and understanding of friends’ presence, you think about game enhancements like chat and one-click join and in-game overlay, and all of a sudden you start to get to what Origin is – which is a service that makes your EA games better.”
Later on in the interview, Wilson returned to the perception broached by GamesIndustry and touched on the matter of changing it to something more approachable and more user-friendly to gamers, and how the Origin team will be working on achieving that for the future.
“There are a number of years of built-up perception around what Origin is and why we need Origin and the focus of Origin,” Wilson acknowledged. “I am not so naïve as to believe we will change that perception quickly. Certainly at a core Origin team level our job is to make your games better. There are things that Origin delivers that will in fact do that, and it can be completely silent and not come between you and your game.”What we are really looking at now is how do we make sure that that’s possible,” Wilson continued. “How do we make sure that if you never want to see that gracious host again, you don’t have to – you go straight to the game. But if you want to call them up and you want to find out where your friends are, where the latest cool party is or whatever that might be, you can do that. I think that’s the difference. One was let’s put Origin front and center due to the perception that we were trying to drive the transaction, and where we are today is Origin is really only there to help your games be better, more seamless, and more fun, and allow you to play them with your friends more easily.
That will be the razor by which we decide how on how we build new features and what we do. In the near term, quite frankly, our focus is making that download better, making that install better, making that automatic patching better. Making that friends presence better, making the various game services better. That’s what you’re going to see from us over the next year, which is really re-establish Origin as a service to gamers, not as a means to drive transactions.”
How do you feel about EA re-establishing Origin as a service for gamers? Let us know in the comments!