The boss for Electronic Art's digital distribution service, Origin, has voiced his displeasure in Steam offering substantial discounts for its titles.
When asked whether Origin would follow Steam's business strategy, David DeMartinis said Steam offering considerable discounts on its larger titles at random intervals "cheapens" the IP (intellectual property) of titles.
"We won't be doing that. Obviously they think it's the right thing to do after a certain amount of time. I just think it cheapens your intellectual property. 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. 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."
When the interviewer concedes that such practices do risk damaging a brand, DeMartinis remarks that the sales also teach a consumer negative habits that force publishing companies into a bad spot. While Valve certainly benefits from these steep sales, the other parties involved could end up with the short end of the stick.
“Also what Steam does might be teaching the customer: ‘I might not want it in the first month, but if I look at it in four or five months, I’ll get one of those weekend sales and I’ll buy it at that time at 75% off. It’s an approach, and I’m not going to say it’s not working for Valve. It certainly works for Valve; I don’t know if it works as well for the publishing partners who take on the majority of that haircut."
As for Origin's own plans for sales, DeMartini stressed that the service doesn't entail a "drop-it-down, spring-it-up, 75% off approach". However, how the scheme actually works cannot be discussed publicly yet.