September 10th, 2008

As I’m sure you’ve been conditioned to know, Spore was released this last Sunday, September 7th. I really wanted to play it on release day. Normally I don’t worry about this too much unless it is a game that I am especially excited for. If I recall correctly, the last game that I was determined to play on release day was The Orange Box in 2007. I downloaded it through Steam at midnight as soon as it became available. It was incredibly convenient and it made me happy to be a Steam customer. Things are not always this easy, however, especially when it comes to games published by Electronic Arts.

My experience in obtaining Spore inspired the message of this post. EA: I want to buy your games. Please make it easier on me.

I didn’t get Spore on release day. Since it came out on a Sunday, my pre-order from a web retailer had no chance of arriving the day-of. I also do not particularly enjoy the experience of buying games from a brick & mortar store. I abhor GameStop (a topic for another time, perhaps) and “big box” stores are a chore to endure for anything less than when you absolutely need to replace a burned out router at 6:00P.M. on a Saturday night or else you won’t get your assignments in on time. Finally, there was no way I was going anywhere near EA’s download service. I refuse to only own my game for six months unless I give them another $5 for an “Extended Download Service”. I don’t have to do that for Steam or Impulse – why would I have to with EA’s service?

The list of games that I am going to have a hard time bringing myself to purchase doesn’t stop with Spore. It isn’t that I’m holding a grudge against EA or that I hold anything against the games themselves. It’s simply a matter of convenience. In a marketplace where services like Steam and Impulse exist and are expanding their marketplaces week by week, it really doesn’t make sense that I’d have to pay extra in order to continue owning a game that I’ve already paid for. There are many EA games that are coming out before the year’s end, and I just don’t know how many boxes, manuals and jewel cases that I’m going to be able to let pile up. To give you an idea of what I am fairly confident is not my own personal dilemma, I’ll name some of the EA games that I want to buy or am going to want to buy:

  • Mirror’s Edge
  • Dead Space
  • Mercenaries 2
  • Crysis Warhead
  • Battleforge
  • Rage
  • Burnout Paradise
  • Dragon Age: Origins
  • The Sims 3
  • Mass Effect
  • Command & Conquer: Red Alert 3

A few of the games listed above are already out, but most of them are coming out either during Q4 2008 or Q1 2009. If these were available either on Steam, Impulse, or via EA’s service without their ludicrous 6 month expiration date, I’d probably end up purchasing all of them within the first week’s release window. Throw a 10% discount for pre-orders (as is standard practice with most of Steam’s upcoming releases) and I’m yours. While we’re at it, if EA were to make available the Battlefield 2 compilation on Steam that is available at retail, I’d probably jump on it. I don’t even enjoy Battlefield 2 very much, I’m just weak for convenient bundles like that. However, EA virtually forcing me (no pun intended) to purchase a boxed retail version of these games will sadly not guarantee them sales to me until I find them on GoGamer’s 48 hour sale or Amazon New & Used section. I want cheap or convenient. Both would be wonderful, but right now I am willing to compromise.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not anti-EA. Not anymore. John Riccitiello has been good to us gamers. But he has just a few more wrinkles in the convenience department that need to be ironed out before I can be as active a consumer of EA games as I am of Valve, Ubisoft, 2K, Capcom, Atari, THQ, Eidos, and Activision games.

UPDATE (9/13/08):

Thank you, EA and/or Crytek!

  1. The funny part about the spore thing is I went right out and got it. First store was Gamestop and they didn’t have it, but they were cool and went and called around and found me a copy nearby, so I went on up a few miles up the road to the next store and snatched up one. Complete opposite shopping experiences.

Leave a Reply

You must be logged in to post a comment.