Origin Vs. Steam

Origin Vs. Steam

Evan Rosser, Columnist

Although the console vs. PC debate is a popular conversation for people who enjoy gaming, there is a sub-conflict within PC gaming between Origin and Steam, the two most popular digital distribution service.

Steam is a digital distribution service created by Valve (creators of Team Fortress 2, Half-Life, Portal, Left 4 Dead,  and Counter-Strike) in 2003. The goal of Steam was to provide games to the public instantly on your computer. The vision was to use cloud based storage to store all your games and saves, while having them downloaded directly to your computer via Steam, with no disks or hard copies. Gabe Newell, CEO of Valve, said about Steam, “Our goal is to create greater service value than pirates, and this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company. Our success comes from making sure that both customers and partners feel like they get a lot of value from those services. They can trust us not to take advantage of the relationship that we have with them.” Valve’s goal was ultimately achieved and many other companies, such as Square Enix, 2K, THQ, and several independent indie game companies. Even EA started adding their games to Steam’s market.

Several years after Steam’s launch and success, EA went about creating their own digital distribution system for their own games. Ben Croshaw from The Escapist, a online gaming journal, described Origin scathingly by stating in his review of EA’s SimCity 5, “Yes, I am quite bitter, because I had to install Origin to play SimCity; EA’s overpriced. I’m going to make my own clubhouse just for all my friends and it’s going to have cake and Subbuteo and it’s going be so much better’ digital distribution system. I felt dirty afterwards. I had to take a Steam bath; that’s where you load up Steam and download a bunch of indie games to scrub yourself with.” Origin is not nearly as favored as Steam, mostly because it set out with similar goals of providing games directly to your computer, but ultimately failed with customer service, poor sales, and a restricted catalogue of games. Soon EA began only adding their games to Origin, avoiding Steam. In the end, the only good thing Origin offers over steam is the ability to order hard copies of EA published games for the PS3, Xbox 360, and Wii, along with their PC downloads.

Steam’s success with brilliant sales, a wide variety of games and companies, and a friendly staff to back it up make it the superior choice over Origin. Origin takes its own path, that spirals far from Steam’s success, with a limited catalogue of only EA’s games and minor sales.