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Disclaimer-It should be stated upfront that this is a pro-Steam article. If you are a fan of either Origin or Uplay, please note that I am not trying condemn such services. You are free to enjoy whatever system you like. I am simply trying to analyze possible reasons why these systems are behind Steam by such an extreme margin in the view of a common gamer such as myself.

We all know the gaming distribution service known as Steam, especially since that is what this entire site is focused on, and how it has grown over the years from simple beginnings to having 75 million active users online at any given time. As such it may seem only natural that in light of such success, competitors will eventually arrive. Just as Sega arrived in 1986 to challenge the Nintendo Entertainment System with their Master System, Electronic Arts and Ubisoft have appeared to challenge Valve with the services: Origin and Uplay respectively.

Unfortunately, or not depending on your point of view, neither of these two services have really gained the high level of popularity that the Steam service boasts. Though any service that keeps track of your game library and allows for easy access of said games is beneficial there are a number of factors that I feel may have caused these two competitors to fail. Without further ado, here they are.

Gamer opinion

It’s no secret that a large amount of gamers have a strong dislike for the gaming giant Electronic Arts. fueled by EA’s apparent  money first policy. in terms of useless DLC and ingame transactions, EA is definitely one of the worst offenders and it is because of this, that it has become increasingly popular among gamers to have a constant hate for the publisher.

Thus when EA revealed Origin, it may come as no surprise why it didn’t do as well as Steam. Unlike Valve, who already had a large fanbase who were willing to spread the knowledge of Steam, EA had a large group who would spread defamation towards Origin. Thus resulting in a general negative opinion of the service.

Made on money, not games

When you take a step back to look at the overall actions of both Electronic Arts and Ubisoft, it can become rather apparent that they have a tendency to follow the money.  While EA was briefly referenced in the previous section, Ubisoft has also done a number of the same tactics of EA while having less aggression from fans. Why this is I don’t know. It could rest on how these to companies communicate with fans or perhaps the amount of obvious mistakes made but the point stands that it could be stated that Origin and Uplay were made for the sole purpose of taking their share of a new market system when their software was never needed to begin with.

Necessity

In the console scene, it makes sense to have multiple consoles compete with one another. As they are the typical driving force in gaming, it makes sense to have these companies take different approaches with their hardware and software as to prevent the industry from spiraling into ruin over-adoption of certain roads that gaming must take. However, I feel this isn’t the case with services such as Steam, Origin, and Uplay. As PC-gaming is already rather splintered in terms of system specifications and capability, the benefits of the multi-console system stands ever present while allowing us to gain certain freedoms that only the PC market is able to supply.

What causes Origin and Uplay to be unnecessary lies in two reasons that these systems have yet to really solve. The first being the reason why we as the gamers would use their system over an established service that is Steam. While new EA games do exist almost exclusively on Origin in the PC market, the nature of the gamer-EA relationship lowers the impressiveness of this feature for EA. if they were able to secure more note-worthy exclusives then just their own titles than it may have more positive results for them then just relying exclusively on their own offering.

As for Uplay, there is a different reason for this service’s lack of mass popularity and that is the fact that it isn’t independent. Most games that Ubisoft releases are also released on Steam. This destroys any need by the gamer to get this service willingly. I say willingly because Uplay is automatically downloaded alongside the Steam version of Ubisoft games and has been the topic of many angry forums on Steam about it. People don’t want to be forced into installing a service to play the games they want to play. They should just be allowed to do so without having to jump through the hoops of a company’s plans.

Thanks for Reading

Christopher Carpenter

 

2 COMMENTS

  1. I’m a big fan or Uplay and Origin and I hate Steam. Steam has completely destroyed what it meant to be a PC gamer.

    • Lloyd, I think you have it the wrong way round. Uplay and Origin couldn’t care a rat’s arse about gamers and their pathetic attempts at building game clients are clear indications of that. Steam on the other hand, as this excellent article highlights, understands gamers and presents its service in a way that we can understand and relate to. I have Uplay and Origin installed against my will as Christopher so correctly points out. Their usability factor is zero.

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