EA takes games from Steam

From what I’ve heard, PC gamers the world over are busy spewing hateful bile all over the place on the internet over EA’s decision to pull some of their games […]

From what I’ve heard, PC gamers the world over are busy spewing hateful bile all over the place on the internet over EA’s decision to pull some of their games from Steam and their subsequent refusal to publish some future games on the service.

I say that I heard about this because I haven’t been on any message boards lately, as I’ve been too busy taking my rage to the streets. On my way to work where I earn fabulously large amounts of money, I scream in people’s faces that I will never buy another EA game again. In fact my Battlefield 3 fund has been riding shotgun in my car for days. That way whenever a homeless person comes to smear my window up with a spray bottle and a dirty copy of the Sunday comics, I can hand him a bill from the jar. They always seem grateful, then confused when they notice that I’ve written “Fuck EA” on both sides.

That is what you call doing my part. These types of things are important and no opportunities to let the unwashed masses, in the case of the hobos literally, know how angry I am due to video games should ever be squandered.

People, and I’m using the term loosely here as I am talking about EA PR people, argue that the major reasons for pulling the games are essentially the company’s own proprietary downloadable service Origin and the fact that Valve is too restrictive in the way they let the company deal with DRM.

It’s probably worth noting that these points came from press releases as I’m sure those statements would have been pretty hard to make with a forked tongue.

There was a time that I was looking to buy a copy of Viva Piñata on PC. Let’s not delve too deeply into the why, and go with the fact that I like to drink and try to find old games to buy online. Well I did find it, and at the same time I learned that Games for Windows has an online store. I did not know this, then again, why would I want to know that? After I cleaned off all the beer I had spit on my monitor, I then had to clean it again after I spit even more beer out when I realized that Microsoft did not actually pay people to take digital copies of the game off of their hands.

Originally I had assumed that they would be paying me just so that their servers would not have to endure the shame of the being the only hard drives in the world with the game actually on it. But the game actually cost $19.99. How Viva Piñata costs that much today is completely beyond me, but it does and clearly a lack of competition is a factor. Yes the game is published by Microsoft, but it illustrates a point had the game been published by any other company, and the game were on multiple download services, it would be a much different story. Straight to the bargain bin. The serious, $5 dollar one.

"More money you say? But how!?"

But other companies do it right. Take CD Projekt RED, the developer of The Witcher 2 as well as the company behind the website, Good Old Games. Their game is available on both Steam and GOG. Why? Because the company realizes that the mark-up on digital goods is insane, and they still make more money if consumer buys the game from Steam than they would from the purchase of a physical copy. So if it’s between a Steam copy and gamers going to Gamestop, more money is still more money.

It also comes down to a company seeing an inherent value in their own brand and realizing that giving a customer options and allowing them to make their own choice as to where to buy is worth more than making a few extra bucks. One would think that a company that moves the number of titles each year that EA does might actually see consumer loyalty as something worth trying to keep, as it may lead to a larger sales volume. Then again, we all know that EA has been far more preoccupied with trying to wring every single cent they possibly can out of their fans, rather than garner that sort of loyalty.

I seem to remember the last time they pulled weird shit like this, they bought exclusive rights to the NFL and Activision surpassed them as the largest third-party game publisher in the world. But then again memories seem to be rather short in the gaming world. I mean people still buy the off year Call of Duty games, right? So what the hell, let it ride.

The other angle to the whole taking games off of Steam debacle is that EA is entering this game far too late. At this point, Steam is the digital distribution equivalent of Wal-Mart. Like it or not. Only in the case of Steam, the Wal-Mart of digital distribution has more than a bit of brand loyalty on its side.

As a game publisher, you can hate it all you want, but as most consumer goods manufacturers in this country will tell you, if you like money, you learn to live with selling your wares at Wal-Mart.

Watch your ass Shepard, 'cause you're next!

Enter the DRM aspect of the whole affair. Imagine a company makes toasters. These toasters have an inherent design flaw in which 50 percent of the time the toaster burns the living hell out of the toast and every once in a while it burns a house down. Wal-Mart says to the manufacturer,’ hey we have the part to fix that faulty component. So either take it out or we stop selling your toasters.’

If EA were the toaster manufacturer, they would tell the Wal-Mart rep to: ‘Shove it up their ass. Because guess what? The K-Mart down the street doesn’t give a fuck if our toasters are fire hazards, they sell pretty well there.’
But then the toaster manufacturer does them one better and goes down the street and sets up a trailer in a vacant lot with the exclusive purpose of selling their toasters.

However, the reality is, the vacant lot is empty because there was once an apartment building standing there, only it burned down because of one of their goddamned toasters.

And they’d be crazy to think I’m going to step a single foot into a trailer full of their fire hazards.

I think the same goes for the space on my hard drive.

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