Over five million people use Origin every day, EA has said.
The impressive statistic came as EA executive Peter Moore was heckled at last weekend’s EB Games Expo in Australia, with one attendee shouting “Origin sucks!”.
“The heckle today was about Origin, which is our platform for social, community-based interaction with our fans, delivering games directly to their computers, allowing you to see what your friends are playing at any given time and allowing you to communicate with them,” Moore told the Sydney Morning Herald.
“And like any piece of software, and I worked at Microsoft for enough years to say this, you launch software and continue to polish it, upgrade it, get feedback and make it better. That’s where we are with Origin. We’re only four and a half months in and already over five million people are using it on a daily basis.
“As I said to the young man who shouted at me, I think two years from now we’ll be back down here in Australia and talking about how it really enhances and complements the gaming experience, not gets in the way of it, which I think some people do believe right now.”
EA sparked controversy earlier this year when a number of its games disappeared from rival service Steam.
The move was seen by many as an attempt to pitch Origin squarely against Valve’s platform.
But Moore said Origin is “much more” than “just EA’s answer to Steam”.
“Like any great content provider, you want to provide yourself with a platform to talk directly with your customers,” he said.
“You don’t necessarily want to be constantly be disintermediated by the other platform holder. We love our business with Microsoft and Sony and Nintendo and with Apple and Facebook, all of which have platforms that we develop games on, and all of which have revenue sharing situations or royalties, but at the same time we love to be able to talk directly with our consumers and build a platform that other publishers can take advantage of.
“That’s exactly what Origin is all about. And I don’t think anyone begrudges us doing that. The console first parties understand what we are doing. I think the fans, the people that have to use it in the early going, are the ones that get it last in regards to what we are trying to do.”
EA has launched aggressive promotions for Origin-exclusive content for upcoming games Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect 3.
But the digital platform is set to get its biggest test yet when FPS Battlefield 3 launches next week.
“Battlefield 3 will be the first real test of the stability of Origin,” Moore said. “And that’s why we did the beta. We’re not afraid. Betas are always risky things because your painting is only half painted, you don’t quite know where it will finish up, but you show people for free before it’s finished and people criticise.
“We needed to put Battlefield 3 out in an open beta and are happy we did so, but it’s a bit of a challenge when people who are not used to playing unfinished software see bugs and see servers crashing because we are load balancing around. I think we won’t need to do it again once we have learned these lessons but I’d say that getting more direct to consumers faster so we can have this daily interaction is one of our core strategies.”