In an interesting move set to capitalize on the flood of crowd-funded games on Kickstarter, EA has announced that, through the companies Origin distribution service, a new initiative will be introduced. The initiative in question will offer developers who have successfully crowd-funded downloadable PC games the ability to distribute their game on Origin with distribution fees being waived entirely for the first ninety days.
In this move, EA is looking to expand their support of smaller studios within the industry.
The initiative has garnered praise from many notable developers, including Brian Fargo of inXile Entertainment who recently collected almost $3 million for Wasteland 2 on Kickstarter and has jumped on board of Origins offer.
Brian Fargo has called the program a “major economic bonus for small developers.” Newly founded Pinkerton Road’s founder Jane Jensen has also praised the initiative, claiming:
“It’s great to see a big publisher like EA acknowledging [crowd-funding] and opening up distribution opportunities for these games.”
Moebius, the successfully crowd-funded game by Pinkerton Road, will also be distributed on Origin.
Interested studios can contact EA about the initiative through the Origin web site, although the offer is only available for successfully funded titles.
Analysis: As much as I’ve ragged on EA for their questionable business practices in the past, I have to praise this program. Aiming to capitalize on the influx of crowd sourced games, it lends a hand to small developers who wish to get their game out to as many people as possible whilst giving the company some good press.
Obviously, EA wasn’t going to offer this program unless it positively affected their own goals and I see it as a mutually beneficial arrangement. EA is able to get a cut of the sales made by the indie developers on games they didn’t personally fund themselves, and it would be very unlikely that any developer would pull their games from Origin after the ninety-day period wrapped up. In return, the games of the small studios are presented to the Origin audience, currently boasting over 12 million registered users, coupled with the distribution fees being waived for the first three months.
Personally, I think this is a great move by EA, although I’m sure some will find a way to see this in a negative light. Nevertheless, it’s an enticing offer to many developers—that is, if they can find it in themselves to work with EA.