Subwoofer and Beyond

After the mixed emotions of the Microsoft press conference it was then time to jump in a shuttle bus and make our way across town to the Orpheum Theatre where Electronic Arts was set to give out some more details on its upcoming roster of games. The scene outside the theatre can only be described as nothing short of a shambles with people having to queue based on the starting letter of their surname. It’s a good system in theory but when you’ve got thousands of press all arriving at the same time, absolute bedlam follows. People, seemingly unaware of the theorem behind the queues, just started joining the back of the biggest line before eventually resulting in one mammoth slalom of people snaking around the block.

The magic of a megaphone provided information to those caught unawares, while it left the rest of the people present a couple of decibels worse off in the hearing department. The scenes inside were absolute chaos and it was looking like we’d get the movie style fire marshal interruption but it wasn’t to be. Some last minute faffing around with some reserved seating ensured people had seats and the conference started.

I’m hesitant to go into a step by step retelling as it can be broken down into just a few easy segments. Subtle digs at Microsoft, not so subtle digs at Activision and every other word seemingly having to be Origin. Origin is the EA answer to Steam, encompassing their entire network. The download manager, along with all EA accounts, have been rebranded to Origin; it’s their equivalent to Skynet and it was mentioned at every possible opportunity.

Mass Effect 3 brings up the rear guard for EA

It was after all EA’s conference, they can do what they like. But when you’ve got the world’s press sat in front of you and you consistently bleat on about watching exclusive trailers over on the Origin website it doesn’t sit well. It’s a shame because it was likely the only sour note of the whole shebang and when you consider that it also included a Sims Facebook game that’s saying something.

I wanted to be shown trailers there and then, not have to wait till I was back at the Gaming Lives LA offices later that evening. If that was to be the case then I may as well have just stayed home and watched it online. So while I should be lamenting the praises of the absolutely gorgeous Old Republic trailer or the brilliant Mass Effect 3 demo along with the jaw breaking Battlefield 3 play session, I am instead talking about some new EA hive mind that will only eventually serve to fragment gamers more and more.

We’re already split across a number of formats and then digested even more into the likes of Steam, Raptr, and such. Now we have yet another service we can forget the password to, but then there’s something else which leaves a nasty taste about the whole affair. While on the surface there is a feeling of understanding of that which they are trying to achieve, there is also that niggling sensation of it being just another way to control, and for many it will be just that. A spruced up DRM system that will look at making inroads into the pre-owned market while gamers have to consistently be aware of yet another set of login details for a service many could likely do without.

It’s a shame because the games on display were some of my wanted, the likes of Mass Effect 3, Old republic, Battlefield 3, SSX and even the new Need for Speed looked rather decent save for the god awful out of car sequences.

Compared to Microsoft the whole EA thing was a pleasant move away from the constant bleating over Kinect, but whereas Microsoft had their Wall-E look alike take centre stage, EA had only replaced it with incessant talk of Origin. Cinematic trailers for the likes of Old Republic left me salivating uncontrollably, only to be brought back down to earth with the omission of a release date; it was an occurrence that left Lee also somewhat bemused as he sat there fingers eagerly awaiting the freedom to tweet – that freedom never came and he looked devastated.

Making our back out into the blistering LA sunshine we decided to hail a cab, head back and catch up on some work before Sony’s shindig got under way a few hours later. That and we didn’t want Lorna to have the blood of an EA worker on her hands following that Sims announcement. There was also the risk of Mark starting to stroke buildings again proclaiming how pretty they are – not even America is ready for that. Lee was looking like the sensible one, only in LA.

Oh and EA, turn the bloody subwoofer down.

Last five articles by Ben



  1. Knikitta says:

    EA Hive Mind? Do I need my tin oil hat?!

    *claps excitedly* Yet another fantastic piece! You guys are really churning them out!

  2. Stu Stu says:

    Not another bloody account/game management service! Not enough to have Steam, Impulse, PSN, Xbox et al but now publishers are rolling this out too? I was irked enough with the existing Cerberus/Dragon Age/Uplay/EA Online registrations before being able to play games with all functionality enabled, at least recently the ‘project 10 dollar’ and similar ‘online passes’ was just a code to redeem on Xbox live – no additional signups needed.

    Origin seems like a step backwards where yet again my personal information is added to yet another server cluster ready to be hacked by some geeks with nothing better to do and sold onto the black market to fund the mountain dew & buy new PC hardware for their basement lair (well, okay, parent’s basement).

    Rant over…nice writeup, Ben

  3. Edward Edward says:

    I agree with yours and Stu’s sentiments: We have too many of these bloody services, and it’s already annoying enough having to connect to my EA Account then Live just to play online. As much as I don’t mind project 10 dollar, Origin on top of all those things just seems like way too much, and it kind of dampened the amazing line-up they had at their conference. And the Run.

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