EA have announced an initiative to waive Origin distribution fees for 90 days for any developer with a “successfully crowd-funded, ready-to-publish downloadable PC game.”
“The public support for crowd-funding creative game ideas coming from small developers today is nothing short of phenomenal,” said Origin's SVP, David DeMartini. “It’s also incredibly healthy for the gaming industry. Gamers around the world deserve a chance to play every great new game, and by waiving distribution fees on Origin we can help make that a reality for successfully crowd-funded developers.”
Developers have come out to praise the move, with the likes of Jane Jensen and Brian Fargo amongst those pleased by the distribution opportunities offered by such a large publisher.
“Crowd-funded projects are like the ‘people’s choice awards’ — a way for gaming fans to express what they want to buy and play,” added Pinkerton Road’s Jane Jensen. “It’s great to see a big publisher like EA acknowledging that and opening up distribution opportunities for these games.”
Fargo suggests that this new initiative will “economic bonus for small developers", saying that inXile are looking forward "to bringing Wasteland 2 to the Origin audience".
Speaking at a later stage with GI.biz, DeMartini suggested that developers had "nothing to lose".
"I think a lot of people are going to jump on it," he said. "They really have absolutely nothing to lose, so I couldn't imagine why they wouldn't want to do this. We're always having conversations with developers. We've signed well over 50 developers and publishers to Origin already, but we didn't specifically reach out to anyone who was being crowd-funded. We just knew from our experience within the community that of course they would be happy about us doing this."
DeMartini also acknowledged that there were a number of sceptics looking for EA's angle and coming up short, defending the company by suggesting that EA has been a "strong advocate of independent game development for a long, long period of time".
I've looked at a few comments online," he said, "and seen people saying 'boy this looks fishy because it doesn't look like there is anything wrong with it. Why is EA doing this?' EA has been a strong advocate of independent game development for a long, long period of time.
"I think this is an absolute, logical extension of our close relationship with independent game developers. Offering the ones that are crowd-funded an opportunity to get published on Origin and not charge them any fees is an acknowledgement of the hardcore gaming community, it's an acknowledgement of some of the most popular IP that has ever been developed and it was just an obvious thing to do and we just did it."