Gabe Newell: Origin still has "a lot of work to do"

Valve boss offers EA a progress report.

EA's Origin digital store still has a long way to go before it can boast that it properly satisfies its customers, according to Gabe Newell, boss of of competitor and industry leader Steam.

Speaking in a new interview on the Seven Day Cooldown podcast, Newell offered a candid response when questioned on what he thought of EA's platform.

"They have a lot of work to do to get to where they need to be and where I as a customer would want them to be," he said.

He was then asked if he thought Origin is currently doing anything particularly well.

"Err... Err..." he replied, followed by an uncomfortable pause.

"I don't want to dodge the question - I don't think they're doing anything super-well yet.

"They have a bunch of smart people working on it but I think they're still playing catch up to a lot of people who have been working in the space for a while. I think they're recognising what the challenges are with building and scaling out this kind of system.

"That's not to say they won't build stuff in the future that is useful to software developers or to gamers but they haven't done that yet."

Newell also discussed whether we'll be seeing any of EA's Origin-exclusive titles coming back to Steam in the near future.

"We'd love to have their games on Steam," he explained. "We think their customers would be happy if their games were on Steam. We tell them that on a regular basis.

"I think EA wants to take their shot at building their own alternative to Steam, and if they're successful at that and their customers like that then that's great.

However, he added that he'd like EA to recognise that "whatever they're trying to do to create value for their customers is not a zero sum game".

"As we learn about this stuff we're all going to be making things better for other gamers. [Epic Games boss] Tim Sweeney doesn't look at Steam and say 'F***, we shouldn't support that because that will hurt long term sales of the Unreal Engine'. He's like, "that's pretty cool, that's pretty useful".

"So hopefully EA get their head to the same place."

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Fred Dutton

Fred Dutton

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Fred Dutton was Eurogamer's US news editor, based in Washington DC.

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