Origin offers free 90-day distribution for crowd-funded games

By Steve Watts, May 18, 2012 9:45am PDT

Crowd-funding has exploded this year, thanks in no small part to Kickstarter, but even games that meet their funding goals will have to get it out to the fans. EA's Origin service is taking a generous step in that direction, by waiving distribution fees for the first 90 days on any game that has been successfully crowd-funded.

Origin's publishing page allows interested developers to fill out a form for more details and correspondence. This only goes for games that are fully-funded, complete, and ready to publish. But, EA doesn't mention an end date, so some of the games we've seen recently reach their goals might be able to take advantage of the program if it's still around when they're finished.

"The public support for crowd-funding creative game ideas coming from small developers today is nothing short of phenomenal," said Origin senior VP David DeMartini, in the announcement. "It's also incredibly healthy for the gaming industry. Gamers around the world deserve a chance to play every great new game, and by waiving distribution fees on Origin we can help make that a reality for successfully crowd-funded developers."

The recently successful Wasteland 2 Kickstarter project will be among the games taking advantage of the deal. "I have had a long relationship with EA and it is great to see them recognize and support the crowd-funded games model," said inXile CEO Brian Fargo, CEO. "Having Origin waive their distribution fees for 90 days for fan funded games is a major economic bonus for small developers. We look forward to bringing Wasteland 2 to the Origin audience."

EA is mostly in the business of publishing games, meaning that crowd-funding is side-stepping its usual business model. But Origin does open the path to a healthy distribution business, and making an attractive deal for crowd-funded projects is a smart tactic as we see this shift in the traditional business models.

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