OK so I'm not the biggest fan of EA for numerous reasons which I shalln't go into. I try to avoid many of EA's games, specifically those which are released via Origin because I do not want to support EA's distribution platform (principled gamer is principled). This puts me in something of a quandry when I saw that EA's Origin is jumping on the Summer Sale bandwagon mere days after Valve launched the Steam Summer Sale. Why such a quandry, well because there are some awesome games such as Mass Effect 3 and Battlefield 3 that I really want which were on sale with up to 50% off. As of writing I can no longer see any hints of the 'Summer Sale' on the Origin website so it may have just been a weekend thing, but I refuse to use the Origin client so I can't double check (sorry but being an independent gamer who does this website for a hobby does mean I can stand by my principle occasionally at the expense of details, kinda sucky I know but that's how I roll). Worst of all is that Bioware, without doubt my favourite RPG developer, is tied to EA. Fucksocks.
Overall, however, the very fact that Origin is having a 'Summer Sale' kind of leaves a bad taste in my mouth because it comes barely a month after David DeMartini, EA's VP of Global E-Commerce, took a pretty cheap swipe at Valve by stating that having a 75% off sale cheapens intellectual property and that Origin would never have a Summer Sale like that. No instead they just have a 50% off sale. Totally different thing. Completely legit. Doesn't make EA seem like a complete bunch of hypocritical a-holes at all who were just taking cheap swipes at the leading company in digital distribution (cos that's the spot they want to be in). EDIT: According to Escapist Magazine, some title prices were slashed by a whopping 80%. Wow, go ahead and reinforce my distrust of EA why don't you, God damn it EA I want to like you, I want to play your games, stop making it so God damn difficult for me to do that will you.
All in DeMartini's statement sounds like one intended to be made to investors, not consumers, and ultimately that is why EA has a pretty bad reputation amongst PC gamers and why Valve continues to dominate PC digital distribution. Unfortunately EA is unlikely to change its mindset because it has a very large cross platform presence and whilst many PC gamers may resent EA, the issues don't resonate with the XBox and Playstation communities in the same way, which means that EA doesn't take the hit to the place that would make them change their wicked ways - namely the wallet.
Valve did respond to DeMartini's comments with Jason Holtman stating sales were a great way to introduce people to a new intellectual property which they probably wouldn't otherwise purchase but if you are already a fan of a series or looking forward to a specific game then you are more likely to be going to buy it regardless of whether it is on sale or not. Holtman's comments are ones that I wholeheartedly agree with, there have been so many good games introduced to me through Steam Sales that I can categorically state I would not have purchased otherwise for one reason or another. In fact the latest Steam Sale as already had me spending more than I otherwise would because there are some great deals. Does that mean I sit eagle eyed waiting for every game I want to come on sale? NOOOOOOOOOOOOO of course not, because that would be fucking stupid and I'd never get to play games, at least not get to play them at the same time as all my friends, when there is buzz and everyone is talking about the latest release.
Ultimately gaming is part of a community affair, even before the internet there it was a community affair. Everyone of my friends would purchase the latest game when we were at school because we all wanted to talk about it and compare how we were doing in it and what we had experienced. The internet has simply globalised that phenomenon so now rather than just comparing your gameplay experience or kick ass skills with you're buddy from work, you're comparing them with your IRC buddy from America (or Europe if you're in NA already) and checking your scores against some randomer you've never even met from a country you've probably never heard of. As gamers most of us are either driven to competition or driven to share our experiences, and we want to do that when new games are released but by throwing up the sales on Steam, Valve is ensuring that consumers are getting the opportunity to try out new things at a cost that is inexpensive to be experimental and guess what? If they like it, being part of this huge gaming community that is so rampant on the web, they tell their friends, they blog about it, they post Let's Play videos and suddenly a whole wealth of new people want to try that game.
If you fancy a pretty good read on where EA is failing as a digital distribution provider then have a read at this article from games.on.net which makes some very good commentary on the short sightedness of DeMartini's comments and on why Steam continues to be the number one provider by a very large margin.