EA Looking to "Regain the Trust of the PC Gamer", Misses Some Key Points

EA Looking to "Regain the Trust of the PC Gamer", Misses Some Key Points

Another publisher promises to give PC gamers more love, but it's not really thinking about how that can be done.

If you game on PC, things can get rather rough at times. There's the poor PC ports like Batman: Arkham Knight and The Evil Within. There's the late ports of titles, like most of the Assassin's Creed titles or Dark Souls. There's publishers pulling their games from Steam just to draw you towards their personal services, like UPlay and Origin.

PC gamers just want some more love, EA. Like the love of a father.

As such, PC gamers don't have much trust in major publishers. I've written about Microsoft's unending line of broken promises to PC players before. Ubisoft promised to do better by PC gamers before Assassin's Creed Unity launched. Square Enix has told players that it hopes to deliver more PC games in the future. These statements have all seen varying degrees of success.

Today, EA added its own promise to the pile. Origin senior marketing director Peter O'Reilly told MCV that Origin Access is part of EA's attempt to bolster the company's reputation with PC gamers.

"We are on a journey to regain the trust of the PC gamer," said O'Reilly. "Over the last couple of years we have focused on ensuring a great play experience from launch and bringing players a better experience on Origin with programs like the Great Game Guarantee, On the House, and now Origin Access. We're excited about the progress we've made, but are always pushing ourselves to innovate on behalf of players."

I admit, that Great Game Guarantee (72 hour return period on digital games) and On the House (free titles) are good services to provide for PC gamers. Origin Access is interesting in concept, but it's a bit limited right now, making it more of a beenfit for EA than PC players. The company still misses some of the issues that plague PC games from EA.

The lack of EA games on Steam still hurts after EA pulled its most recent titles in the 2011. Ubisoft prefers that gamers buy their games on Uplay, but still offer Steam releases for those that prefer the ecosystem. There is no option with EA; you either go Origin, or you get nothing on PC. Choice is important to PC gamers.

In addition, modding is huge in the PC gaming community and can vastly increase the life of PC titles. Despite EA DICE's PC-focus, their games still don't have official mod support. Star Wars Battlefront, Battlefield: Hardline, and Battlefield 4 might be great games, but the lack of official mod support means they'll be forgotten by PC gamers eventually. In Star Wars: Battlefront's case, Battlefront II had a ton of mod support, which contributed to the game's ongoing longevity. Look at SimCity, which launched with always-online connection and no mod support, compared to how the community has embraced the infinitely moddable Cities: Skylines.

There's also the issue of EA killing the online support of various titles. EA cuts certain games off from online connectivity, which makes sense as those titles probably don't have a large number of players and the servers still cost EA money. However, the company should provide players with alternative ways to create their own servers for these titles or patches to remove online connection hooks completely. Help the community keep your classics alive and you'll probably benefit in continued sales of those classics.

Those are just a few ways EA can actually regain the trust of PC gamers. Listen to their issues and give players options so they can continue to engage with the games you've created, long after you may be done with them as a company. Do that and PC players will support you rain or shine. More so than you offering them a subscription service to play older games.

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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