The biggest surprise of EA’s press conference, at least for us, was the introduction of EA Originals, the publishing giant’s new indie label. The core idea behind Originals is to promote the best games from small developers, with, EA is claiming, most of the profits going right back into the hands of those who made the game. It’s also a wonderful idea from all perspectives – publishing, development, and consumer – and here’s why.
From EA’s perspective, they’ve seen the way the industry is heading. Fewer, but bigger, games that have a small country’s GDP worth of development and marketing behind it. Big rewards, but also a gigantic risk. Smaller titles may not generate quite as much revenue as the heavy hitters, but also have much less risk involved.
Developers, obviously, benefit a lot from this new program. Having the EA logo attached is a huge boon to the marketing of the game, if it could even be developed at all without EA’s backing. This program is going to give games life that would never have otherwise seen the light of day, and for that we’re sure developers are going to be thankful.
And finally, what’s most important to us – the consumer angle. Indie games are often overlooked, either purposefully or indirectly. Indie titles obviously don’t have the marketing budgets of the AAA games, and they end up buried under whatever the month’s big release is. But with EA’s marketing muscle, games under the EA Originals banner have a chance at the spotlight. That’s not to say that EA is necessarily going to through a ton of marketing behind these titles, but the EA logo appearing beside a new title gives it more visibility. These games will appear more legitimate to those who normally ignore indie games by virtue of them not being AAA titles, while for everyone else having the EA attached will give titles more prominence in storefronts. Not to mention – more games is always better than fewer games.
EA’s new Originals program is great for everyone; developers, publishers, and us, the consumers. The first announced title, Fe, is merely the tip of the iceberg and we can’t wait to see more.