Gabe Newell Likes Origin More Than I Do

Valve boss Gabe Newell has, like many of us these past few months, taken EA's new Origin service for a spin. Hearing his thoughts on the thing are interesting, though, because he runs the company that runs Origin's dominant competitor.

"I think it does some things well" Newell told PC Gamer. "I think there are still some areas where, as a customer, I'd like to see it improve. It's not that different from any other system like this. There are positive things and negative things."

With the release of the Battlefield 3 demo this week, I've had to use Origin, and have hated every second of it. Mostly because it takes an eternity to get up and running, but also because when once running, there are always hangs or errors. Which for a service people have to use to play such a big game isn't good enough.

Asked later about competition for his own service, Newell gets to the very heart of what's wrong with Origin, saying "I and everyone at Valve know that you're only as successful as what you've done lately."

"So the idea that Steam is somehow the answer to digital distribution ignores the fact that every two or three years, something is going to change dramatically."

And this is why none of Steam's competitors, Origin included, can make a dent in Valve's domination of the PC download market. Steam is successful because it came in and did something new, perfected it, and is now reaping the benefits. Instead of building something new, something that will replace Steam, other companies just keep making Steam clones that don't work as well as Steam does.

Gabe Newell reviews EA's Origin [CVG]

You can contact Luke Plunkett, the author of this post, at [email protected]. You can also find him on Twitter, Facebook, and lurking around our #tips page.


    I gotta admit, I've installed Origin for the BF3 Beta... my favourite part so far, solid 2MB/s download. the 4GB Beta will finish download in under 30 minutes for me.


      Steam is lacking in server support for this country IMO...

      Compared to the US our download is very hard to get... In saying that tho i have downloaded games from steam at a solid 2-4mb sometimes which is great but not consistent across all games...

        Well I actually download at roughly 650-700kb's through steam when downloading a game and yet going through origin I was capped at 350kb. So my opinion is quite the opposite.

      I download through Steam at 3.8MB/s so I wouldn't blame the servers...

      steam allows you to choose which server you want to use, so internode users downloading from internode servers are going to get much higher speeds. i dont know how origin is handling servers though.

    Origin has been great for me, working well with the BF3 beta. Haters gonna hate.

      ^ +1

      I quite like Origin, its certainly not as polished as Steam...give it time.

    Funny, I installed Origin and haven't had it lock up once.

    As someone in IT support, I suggest you update all your drivers and make sure your windows is update.

      Oh, and make sure that once you install origin. Try turning your computer off and back on again.

    I haven't had any problems with Origin so far.I was able to download BF3 consistently and it finished in only 30 minutes or so.

    I have had Origin since I got a free copy of Mass Effect 2 with (from memory) Dragon Age 2. Haven't had a problem with it.

    I like origin. I moved all my EA games over from Steam no problemo.

    Pretty surprising how negative this piece is IMHO. FOX style journalism.

      That's our (well, KotakUS') Luke. If he isn't just hot linking as an entire article, or finding new ways to write an article in as few words as possible, he's making snide remarks and letting everyone know the sky is falling on whatever isn't his personal preference.

    Origin can blow itself

      An insightful and thought provoking contribution. We're all better off for reading this.

        Actually, I'd like some more details from Shepard. Does Origin have a flexible neck and back? Is it all about jaw size? And is it something that Origin can do on a regular basis, or does it have to train for it?

    I haven't had any problems at all with Origin so far. Perhaps it likes us Aussies more than the United Statians?

      In every respect but pricing.

        ahahah 10/10

        maybe that's why it works we pay the 'premium' price lawl

      Except that Plunkett's Australian. In fact, I think he might be Canberran, given he referenced the massive fire we had a few weeks back.

        Yeah, I too was under the impression hes a Canberran..

    I don't have any problems logging into Origin or really using it, but it's just too damn limited in scope vs. what Steam has to offer as a platform. The general lack of any of community features that Steam offers just makes Origin stick out like a cheap an nasty knock off. Not to mention that I can only purchase and play EA titles on the service, at always inflated prices.

    Beyond actually wanting to play games like Battlefield there is zero incentive to use Origin, as such it only encumbers the experience.

    It's not that bad. Running off a SSD it's up quicker then steam. It works, doesn't break and the beta for BF3 has worked perfectly for me. Hate it all you want. But if you don't like it. Don't use it.

    Professional idiots need not apply.

    Problems I have with origin so far:

    -No backup solution
    -Have limited choices on your avatar
    -I like how steam make you a number (SteamID). This allows you to change your name to whatever you want and allows duplicates
    -Every update requires you to run though a install again
    -Every update makes you have to reconfigure all your settings again.

    Hasn't crashed on me yet though.

      I agree on everything but the name change, I think the name being locked is going to help curb cheats, if you cheat and your name is pinged you can't change it your doomed. and so will every other EA game you have on that account.

      Which I like, I also contacted EA and changed my name once as it used to be quite lame, it is still lame but less so now :)

        Or like steam, if you cheat it just blocks your steamID.

      Two of your points are my gripes with Xbox Live (gamerpics are restricted to certain types, single ID)

    You mean Gabe Newell is more mature than 80% of games journalists? No way...

    Haven't touched Origin, but the proof is in the pudding.
    The only thing I'm wary of is if it has to be online when playing offline or singleplayer games.
    Until we have completely reliable internet service, this makes me uncomfortable, especially out in the regional areas.

    I'm still waiting for EA to deal with the issue of that copy of Bad Company 2 I purchased from their store that won't run or install properly...oh wait, that's right they said they can't help me and won't refund me my money. My copy on Steam runs perfectly though...

    Never had an issue with the EA downloader/Origin service. The Origin hate is just unfounded compared to the hate for GW4L which just doesnt work.

    Wow I really wouldnt go so far to say steam is perfect like the article says.

    Steam has a lot of areas to improve in.

    Ive had no issues with Origin. Give it some time and it could be a decent competitor.

      "Steam has a lot of areas to improve in. "

      In the Origin vs Steam debate this seems to get said every now and then but rarely is it expanded upon.

      So please, Al, tell us. What are these areas that comprise the majority of the Steam service that could be improved upon?

        The Australian download speeds could be improved, a lot. I'm on a 100mbps connection and can't manage to, consistently, get above 21mbps.

          Thats probably sure to the lack of domestic servers, which bothers me no end. If your going to charge by region, you could at least provide the service by region.

          That's fair enough, but the one thing that is likely to be the problem isn't Steam. It'd be Telstra. You know as well as I do that they would charge Valve crazy prices to get better hosting here in Oz.

    I remember buying The Orange Box a few years ago, then having to install Steam on my 4GB-limited internet connection, and screaming curses at Valve for forcing me to use their online service to run and update single-player games. I swore once I got my money's worth out of it, I'd never buy another Valve product. Then I actually played Half-Life 2 and Portal all the way through... today, I play almost every game through Steam.

    Being first and a good product is what gives Steam it's edge.

    Only had one hiccup my entire time using Steam. Tried Origin and the main screen wouldn't even load...

    origin didn't initially work for me. had to reinstall it. I couldnt log in using my correct user details...
    now i have bf3 and cant wait to play it!

    I hate how you have the client running plus web browser. The PC space really does not need another service to fragment it further

      yeah I agree a web interface seems odd, but if you think about it, what is the quickest easiest way to update anything? Web you just update the server and your done. So if they want to iterate on community features, you have the fastest turnaround in time.

      That's the only logical reason I could come up with it as its very strange.

        And what's the quickest and easiest thing to take offline? :P

    I have used Origin for a while, even before BF3.
    Takes a while to start up you say? Steam and Origin run both fine on my mid teir pc.
    They both use same amount of RAM and cpu usage.

    The ingame UI IS VERY SNAPPY, its quick and looks very nice!. Only complaint is has no clock.

    Also notice the title of your origin client? "Origin Beta" - Hint hint

      Also notice how many online clients EA has had - Hint hint

      Can you use the term beta with a straight face one you start selling shit through it? I just don't see how a service like that can genuinely be considered a beta, especially seeing as this is EA's 10th go.

    *install origin > dl/install bf3 > open bf3 through origin > attempt to join server through battlelog > something along the lines of "Origin is not installed. Please re-install"

    FUUU and that also mean re-dling/installing BF3. Note that it took me about 5 hours to download it.

    how to filter out articles by luke from my rss feed.

    Does anyone else think Gabe looks like the Cyclops from Krull... except with 4 instead of 1 eye of course.

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