EA cuts out middleman, launches video game download service

It might be a few days before a stampede of people will storm into the LA convention center to catch the video game industry’s latest wares but EA wasted no time in getting out the word about its new digital download service, dubbed “Origin.”

“Origin”, which EA announced on Friday, lets consumers buy and download PC games directly from the publisher online, as well as track all of their games across different platforms.

Publishers like digital delivery of games to consumers because they offer higher margins than games sold in brick and mortar stores like GameStop.  EA has been pushing its digital strategy hard to investors and its digital business is now growing faster than the company’s overall business.

Sales of online games, including digital downloads, Facebook games, online subscriptions and other forms, is expected to grow to $18 billion by the end of this year, according to DFC Intelligence, while regular sales of games sold in stores is expected to slip.

Users can find games on Origin the same time they come out in stores.

While there are other ways to download PC titles on services such as Steam, EA is offering exclusive titles on the new service. It will be the only place to find a digital version of “Star Wars: The Old Republic,” the highly-anticipated massive multiplayer game that will come out later this year.

WoW! Blizzard Entertainment turns 20

Blizzard Entertainment, the publisher of World of Warcaft and StarCraft 2 (Korea’s national past time) turns 20 this year. In February 1991, three UCLA grads, Allen Adham, Frank Pearce, and Mike Morhaime founded a publishing company called Silicon & Synapse. Based in Irvine, California, it would later go on to be known as Blizzard Entertainment and crank out $1.65 billion in revenue 2010.

Here are some highlights of an interview on Monday with two of three founders, Pearce and Morhaime, as well as Activision Blizzard’s CFO Thomas Tippl. Here’s a  video the company made to celebrate.


DC Universe Online: Can a Lex Luthor plot get people to pay for Sony’s new MMO?

Holy MMO, Batman! Sony Online Entertainment sure hopes DC Universe Online — the splashy new massively multiplayer online game that hit stores today – won’t share the fate of the caped crusaders’ legions of arch-villains over the past few decades.

Fans willing to shell out $59.99 upfront and then $14.99 a month can create their very own superhero and play — on PCs or Playstation 3s — much-loved characters from Superman to Batman and Wonder Woman, in locales eerily familiar to comic geeks from  Metropolis to Gotham City.

Reuters first reported back in 2008 about the arrival of the  world’s first licensed MMO comic book game. Tuesday’s launch is part of  Warner Bros’ and parent Time Warner Inc’s major push to fully exploit the DC brands in video games.