Expansive: Origin Signs Major Publishers

By Adam Smith on October 28th, 2011 at 11:48 am.

It's a logo. Exciting, I know.

Electronic Arts’ digital storefront is expanding next month, with the news that Warner Bros., THQ and Capcom will begin offering some of their releases through Origin. Batman: Arkham City and Saints Row: The Third are the only games mentioned by name but more will be available and “additional titles” are promised in the coming months. Both of those games will still be available elsewhere so this is a case of choice rather than exclusivity. Maybe it will lead to discount wars, maybe it’ll lead to people shrugging and continuing to purchase games from their preferred distributor, but it does feel like a significant step for Origin. The future looks increasingly competitive. EA-speak below.

“Since launch, we’ve had overwhelming support from both publishers and developers across the gaming industry, recognizing Origin as an opportunity to deliver more of their great content straight to consumers across the globe,” said David DeMartini, senior vice president of Origin at EA. “We’re excited to welcome Warner Bros. Interactive Entertainment, THQ and Capcom as the first publishers to offer their games via Origin.”

My feeling is that offering more titles from however many publishers won’t be enough. If Origin really wants to be competitive, they’ll do that on level of service and price, and the reports of problems with Battlefield 3 authentication don’t inspire a huge deal of confidence at the moment. Only time will tell if anything is due to change in regards to that but this move does pour fresh water onto the wheel of the rumour mill concerning tensions between Valve and EA.

There’s no word on whether only new releases will be available or whether the deals allow access to the publishers’ back catalogues. Would it make any difference? It’s easy to say that competition is healthy but the health of the competitors must be taken into account. It’s worth remembering that Steam had problems at launch, but does anyone see Origin winning over hearts and minds?

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132 Comments »

  1. sinister agent says:

    I’d be happy with some competition, if it didn’t mean another steam-alike. More gogs and gamersgates, please. I want to download my games and play them independently, not have to log in to several different programmes.

    Still, it’s not like they’re taking anything away from me with this, and though I’ve nothing against Valve, something to challenge them is welcome as far as I’m concerned. A monopoly wouldn’t benefit any of us.

    • Kaira- says:

      “I’d be happy with some competition, if it didn’t mean another steam-alike. More gogs and gamersgates, please”

      Agreed. Oh so agreed.

    • zeroskill says:

      As long as EA never, ever, forever, gets to where Valve is today, im fine with having their little distribution corner. Aslong as they DONT get power over the market. I dont even want to start imagining how EA would use that power in their favor. Anybody that thinks EA would use that position to push the industry forward, or even into the right direction, and not to say, start changing the PC market into a jungle of paid DLC ala XBOX360 and PS3, is frankly, delusional. I want EA to stay where they are. Away from the PC. Forever.

    • Quine says:

      I wonder if the ideal world situation would be some sort of open-standards digital distribution platform that all publishers large and small would have access to. Then they wouldn’t feel pressured to try and grab territory by running their own shops and annoying the userbase.

      Of course the high street retailers would throw a fit, but they’re on the way out anyway…

      Can’t see it happening in reality, sadly.

    • adonf says:

      “some sort of open-standards digital distribution platform that all publishers large and small would have access to”

      You mean like FTP ?

    • Quine says:

      FTP takes cash?

    • IDtenT says:

      What we need is an integration application. Like Pidgin for IM clients. For this Steam and Origin(?) need to get off of the no modified client high horse. This is the only way forward. With good integration you’ll get the best price available every time.

    • RedNick says:

      @IDtenT unless I am very much mistaken, you can chat on steam using other clients (see Raptr, also works with GfWL)

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      @ RedNick: I think he means that there needs to be a way to interact and use these services without exclusively using their client. Essentially, you could load and use your game library from GetGames, GreenMan, Steam, Origin, and Impulse, etc. all under one client.

      Kind of like how MSM can’t cross-chat with Google Chat. I don’t use Pidgin, but it looks like that’s what the program does. And I’m guessing that’s what IDtenT meant.

    • battles_atlas says:

      At some point, though god knows when, it seems inevitable that the online monopolys will have to be broken up, or more accurately, opened up. Facebook is the obvious case, but Steam raises similar issues (though as long as they are privately run by enlightened minds they are a pretty benevolent dictatorship). This relies on us moving into a pro-regulation era where corporations don’t run governments, but it has happened before (ie post 1929), so the fallout from 2008 could well see a repeat.

    • nofing says:

      @IDtenT Well, since the developers/publishers/shops aren’t interested in you getting the best price, but in selling the games at the highest possible price, sth like this will never happen.

    • Saiko Kila says:

      I just want to write that I cannot agree more with sinister agent.

    • Sturtle says:

      Except Steam isn’t the only type of this service in business, I don’t know why everyone refers to it as a monopoly considering there is competition services prior to Origin erecting. *snicker*

    • sinister agent says:

      Steam probably has at least 50% of the market, and likely much more. It’s also the only very well-known client software that operates in the fashion it does. Even buying a game in a shop can sometimes mean that you have to install and use steam in order to play it. That’s not true of any of the other services (yet).

      Impulse is the only non-optional client that operates similarly, and that has fewer features and doesn’t have to be run in the background if you want to play the games it offers. It was also set up by a relatively obscure outfit. Their own public estimates put them hopelessly behind Steam’s market share.

      Origin is the first direct competitor going after more or less exactly the same model, and it’s backed by one of the most experienced and monstrously powerful companies in the industry, who wouldn’t hesitate to be as ruthless as necessary in carving out their portion of the market. If anyone will take the gloves off, it’s EA. It’d be naive not to make a big deal out of Origin’s appearance on the scene.

    • Kefren says:

      I agree. GOG is my first choice for games; GamersGate is second (especially for DRM-free games), despite the lack of an apostrophe.

  2. Teronfel says:

    Let’s hope for better prices.

    • Thomas says:

      LOL :(

    • nofing says:

      From what I’ve heard, their US prices are actually quite good and they run 50-80% off deals fairly often. Sadly they don’t seem to have any interest in doing the same for a small minority called ROW.

    • Carra says:

      I’d be happy to sign for a single price, no regional pricing. But I can’t see EA doing that.

  3. The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO says:

    How many other people stuck to their guns and still haven’t registered an Origin account?

    • baby snot says:

      I’ll register as soon as there is a great game at a great price.

    • tKe says:

      No Origin account here…

      For some reason I trust Valve more than EA.

    • Mephisto says:

      I’ve resisted so far, but I have a feeling I won’t be able to pass on Mass Effect 3. Sigh.

    • Joe Duck says:

      No Origin for me either…

    • Quine says:

      Me also, much as I loved B:BC2.

    • Shubb9 says:

      My EA account for Dragon Age Origins and Mass Effect has morphed into an Origin account but I’ve still to accept the TOS. Not going to install the client willingly but ME3 might break me…

    • Delusibeta says:

      Anyone who has played any EA game from the last four or five years or so online on any format has an Origin account.

    • The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO says:

      I’m not getting BF3 purely because of Origin. ME3 would probably cause me to cave in but I will be playing that on the consolebox anyway because that’s the only way to continue with all my save data.

    • l1ddl3monkey says:

      Yup, no Origin for me. Origin will be competitive when their EULA and the rights they ask you to sign away just to play a computer game are less ridiculous.

      The conditions the bank have over me in return for financing my house are less intrusive than what EA want me to sign up to so I can play a game.

    • jackflash says:

      I certainly haven’t. Can’t remember what the last EA game was that I actually enjoyed other than BC2, and I am comfortable passing on BF3 for now.

    • Shooop says:

      Any EA account you had before was automatically made an Origin one. So I have one because of BC2, but a swarm of locust eat me if I’m ever going to install the Origin app.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I’m going to as soon as I get into Old Republic, but there’s no real reason to right now for me.

    • Tatourmi says:

      Same there, no origin account. And not going to if I can help it, Me3 does not interest me so it is not going to happen anytime soon.

    • diamondmx says:

      Ditto, not getting BF3 because I don’t trust EA with Origin.
      Played the beta, it was pretty good, worth the price, probably – but not worth encouraging more Origin exclusives. There might be an amazing Origin exclusive game in the future, and that would make me sad.

      Competition is good, but no Origin exclusives, please.

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      I made an account out of curiosity, just to find out that because I live in Germany, there’s no way to switch the store website to English. Not in a normal web browser, not in the client.

      I think I’ll stick to distributors that don’t arbitrarily refuse to speak a certain language based on my location. So, everyone but EA.

    • Lobotomist says:

      Origin scans files on your entire computer and sends data to EA.

      This was checked and verified by I.T. manager at my company (who is also a big BF2 fanatic)

      I have problem with this.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      Like many others, I have an Origin account because of previous EA endeavors: Dragon Age: Origins, Spore, and I bought Sims 3 from them way before it came to Steam.

      Had a little interest in BF3, but the more I hear, the less I like.

      Followed SW:TOR even before it was officially announced, but I’ve steadily lost more and more interest, with the $5 pre-order fee being the final straw to make me say, “no thank you.”

      So, basically, EA has taken 2 games, one that I was interested in and one that was nearly a sure buy, and managed to turn both of them into complete no-buys via their obtuse meddling and insistence on their “brand new” 6-year-old service.

      Also, get Bioware to bring back the damn code page for the PC Mass Effect “Bring Down the Sky” DLC! I can’t even load my damn save games and the page to retrieve my code is gone ever since the old Bioware/NWN boards got hacked.

    • Tuor says:

      I haven’t opened an Origin account yet. The chances of me ever doing so are very, very low.

      EDIT: Ah, reading some of the other posts, it would seem that I do have an Origin account by default because I have DA:O. However, I can say with certainly that I have never used Origin and trust EA about as far as I can throw them.

    • Megagun says:

      @Lobotomist: Can you put me in contact with that IT guy? I already asked you for sources about this on Reddit here, but you haven’t responsed yet. :(

    • Arglebargle says:

      EA’s fired too many of my friends and acquaintances after their various grab and slash studio buyouts. Preferring not giving them anything extra. I had a Bioware account, so I may have an Origin one now. Don’t know, don’t care. They are a bit too big business and L.A. for my taste. I think I will go elsewhere with my money, if at all possible.

    • Wulf says:

      I possibly have an Origin account due to past EA games, but the Spore games don’t seem to force me to accept a new ToS yet in order to play them (from Steam). So I’m just going to let it rot.

      Originally I was really pissed at how they’d cannibalised one of my favourite developers (Origin Systems) and used their name for a seemingly shitty, barren Steam rip-off. That hasn’t changed. Origin is still the cannibalised name of a developer EA killed for a shitty, barren Steam rip-off. However, over time, the deluge of bad, bad, and worse news convinced me that my initial decision to avoid it over the name thing (which made my skin crawl) was the correct one.

      I don’t know, there are some corporate environments which excite me due to their obvious humanity. Valve and ArenaNet come to mind. But there are others which just seem like lifeless husks, Activision-Blizzard and EA come to mind. The latter I’m much less willing to trust. If I had to choose between Mr. Newell’s baby and the dessicated remains of Lord British’s once treasured child? I’d choose Steam, every damn time.

      I’m sure that the news about Origin will only get worse over time and it’s going to do nothing other than confirm my original suspicions. I can see indie developers losing profits, I can see bait & switches where EA promise something in a deal and provide something else, just because they feel they can do that legally (ethics be damned), and every other sort of dirty practise they can get away with. Because that’s typical of EA. We know EA, we know they’ll misbehave. If not now, then eventually.

      It’s faux-hipster (real hipsters know better) to hate Valve, I know, all those wannabe cool kids love doing that. But I’d still trust them so much more than I’d trust EA. And they have never, not once, done wrong by me.

  4. GenBanks says:

    And I guess it also means that all future games from those publishers will not use steamworks features?

    • Adam Smith says:

      All kinds of stupidity could ensue. Nothing to report yet though. Arkham City is listed as having achievements and Steam cloud support. My crystal ball tells me that things will deteriorate into a bitter conflict, but sometimes it’s tuned into my personal life rather than gaming news.

    • HexagonalBolts says:

      Hopefully that bitter conflict will be funneled into something productive in the form of competitive pricing and services rather than grumpy interviews claiming that X holds an unfair monopoly over Y section of the games industry.

    • SanguineAngel says:

      I see a future where we will have to install and load up and log into Steam, GFWL, Origin and a gajillion other third party software solutions simultaneously in order to play our games remotely, through an internet browser

      it is glorious

    • mana says:

      Batman is using GFWL (or whatever the smeg they call it these days) so I am kinda baffled as to why you would want to buy it on Origin…

      Also, with THQ, does this mean Origin would get the games up for preorder in the UK, unlike Steam (Brink, Space Marine, Red Faction etc etc)

      Frankly, just playing the beta of BF3 made my head hurt with friends lists (Steam – where they are usually, Mumble, Origin, Battlelog). The deals on Origin would have to be really dirt cheap to make me pick that service over any of the others…

      Also, living in the Far East makes using Origin a royal butt hurt. If anyone needed a #nooceans faceslap EA would be right behind Bethesda. At least Steam will let me add ?cc=uk and get titles with my UK card with a foreign IP…

  5. Crimsoneer says:

    Make it cheap, and I’ll buy it. Frankly though, looking at their prices today, I don’t see them competing with Steam on price anytime soon. Expect more ridiculous preorder incentives.

    • sneetch says:

      Yep, just went into ye olde gamme shoppe and bought Battlefield 3 on an actual disc for €39.99, Origin was selling it for €49.99 with no money off for pre-ordering. Now why exactly would I buy the game online when it’s 25% cheaper down the road?

      Mind you, apart from Direct2Drive.co.uk none of these download services give good deals.

    • spindaden says:

      Sorry, but that’s 20%, not 25%.

      PEDANTRY! Pedantry gone mad. sorry.

    • Matt_W says:

      They just (currently?) had a promotion where you could get several games for 60% off using a coupon code. I picked up Crysis 2 for US$16, which seems like a pretty good deal. That said, the game I downloaded was version 1.0, rather than the most recent 1.9; I had search for and enter two security codes in order to complete a secondary activation; and I had to separately download the HD and DX11 patches. Steam is still better.

    • sneetch says:

      @spindaden

      You’re right, I had intended to say “25% more expensive than down the road” but then my brain farted.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      Crysis 2 for $16 and Bulletstorm for $8 were pretty good prices here I think. No need for Origin to run in the background either, which is a plus over Steam.

  6. The Ninja Foodstuff formerly known as ASBO says:

    Arkham City? So that will be Origin and GFWL in one lovely package then.

    • UnravThreads says:

      Except you don’t need to run Origin to run AC. Actually, I don’t think you need to run Origin to play any games you get from it – it was certainly that way when it was EADM.

    • sinister agent says:

      Not sure that’s entirely true. I installed several games when it was EADM, and they tried to check back in with it after every two weeks (or something like that). This was later on in its life though, so it might have been a relatively recent thing. I’m unsure because I took measures to prevent this, because seriously, EA. If I’d pirated it, I would have already got round the checking in thing when I installed it, so what’s the point?

      Although they might have changed it back again anyway, I suppose. I wouldn’t know, as I chucked EADM when it started refusing to troubleshoot a game until I filled in profile to join their pointless club I had no interest in.

    • Ghil says:

      If the Battlefield 3 is any indication, you have to run Origin to run their games. It’s a Steam clone through and through.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      For certain games, notably older titles grandfathered in, you do not need to launch Origin. However, for BF3 you will need to launch Origin. SW:TOR is sold exclusively through Origin, but does not require Origin in order to play.

    • StingingVelvet says:

      @ Ghil

      So far that is only BF3, which is very multiplayer focused. Too early to say on future games.

  7. Enzo says:

    I actually like Origin, never had any problems with it.

  8. HexagonalBolts says:

    Price. Price. Price.

    Why are they selling Battlefield for £39.99 when Amazon do it for something like £27? They’ll have to do sales on a steam-like scale before I bother to buy things from them.

    • kraken says:

      To be fair, Steam is the same with new games.
      They have awesome discount later on, but on release games are ALWAYS more expensive than in other stores.
      For example, I am in Europe and a new release will be 49€ on steam (maybe 45€ with the 10% preorder discount). But I can always get a physical copy from an online store for around 35€.

      Digital should not be more expensive than physical.

    • Vandelay says:

      @Frightlever

      Yes, you will need an Origin account. I received my copy from Amazon today and it is installing through Origin right now. It has been a completely painless process, just as Steam has become.

      I can understand the weariness of having yet another platform to download and install games to, but Origin as a program doesn’t seem to have created any issues for me so far.

    • Delusibeta says:

      @frightlever: To play any EA game on any format online, you’ll need an Origin account.

    • thegooseking says:

      Digital should not be more expensive than physical.

      That’s retailers of physical media dropping prices in a desperate struggle to stay relevant, not digital distributors defiantly keeping prices high. Notice that the price things are selling for on Steam now are the prices physical retailers were selling stuff for before digital distribution gobbled up the majority of the PC market.

    • The Colonel says:

      I’ve certainly never paid £30 (Or £40 – The idea!) for a retail PC game. When play.com came on the scene you could get most games on launch for £19.49 or £24.99. It was only ever special editions which were that much. I didn’t buy a game from steam for years because the prices were always shockingly high.

  9. Rao Dao Zao says:

    If origin has offline install, so I never actually ever have to go online, I can live with it.

    But that’s silly, because games are services and not products anymore. :(

  10. Jumwa says:

    I purchased a game there last week on deep discount to give the service a shot. Over all it wasn’t so bad, though the fact they charged me tax on my purchase when Steam never does, struck me as rather odd. It means even if they come close to meeting Steam’s great prices, that extra slice of taxes will make it an inferior platform for me to buy from.

    • Asurmen says:

      Afaik, Steam does charge you an applicable taxes in whatever geographical area you’re buying said game from, such as VAT in Europe. It’s kind of a legal requirement to do so.

    • Jumwa says:

      But Steam has never charged me such a tax before, however Origin has. Regardless of the reasons, I’ll buy from whichever charges me less.

    • sneetch says:

      Steam has charged me taxes for years (you see them in the checkout) but it includes them in the price it displays. Does Origin add them on afterwards?

    • Jumwa says:

      I’ve checked back over my Steam receipts, and the tax was always listed as zero, and I got the games for the listed price, no addition. Except one time they undercharged me by some freak accident.

      Checking it now, at all points through the checkout process it tells me “Tax: $0.00 USD”

    • StingingVelvet says:

      Not sure about the UK but in the US they only charge taxes if they operate in your state. Valve only operate in Washington so that is the only state that pays taxes. EA have offices in many states, so they charge tax in more places.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      This is because of where EA has a physical presence. For example, if you lived in Washington state, you would have to pay taxes on games from Steam, because Valve is located in Bellevue, Washington. If they had an office in Los Angeles, residents of California would have to pay a state tax on Steam as well.

      Not sure how this works in the UK and elsewhere, but in the USA you must pay state taxes if you live in the same state as company you are buying from, and the company has a physical presence there.

      http://www.nolo.com/legal-encyclopedia/sales-tax-internet-29919.html

    • Jumwa says:

      Considering I live on an island off the coast of Canada that’s lightly populated at best, I don’t understand why EA (safe to say they aren’t headquartered here) would have to charge me but Valve wouldn’t. But whatever is at work here, nuts to it. Both services seem fairly within range of each other on most things except pricing, so that’d be where I’d make my judgement on purchases. So Origin would lose out.

    • FriendlyFire says:

      EA has offices in Vancouver, Montreal and Edmonton (BioWare). Valve doesn’t.

      Hence, EA has to charge taxes, but Valve doesn’t (Valve is considered an “import”). At least that’s the way I understand it.

    • Jumwa says:

      I’m not sharing a province with any of those headquarters, so I assume it’s just a country wide thing then? In any case, shame on the added cost.

  11. Casimir Effect says:

    Gotta compete with Steam on their silly sales if you want to get anywhere.

    Still, having other publishers join EAs system is far more preferable than each publisher deciding “Hey, we should make our own client thingy too”.

  12. OJSlaughter says:

    It is way too convenient having my whole game library in one place: Steam you have a hold over me (I don’t mind though, you are awfully competitive!)

  13. duel says:

    Comon EA, get competitive!

  14. Avish says:

    In steam I get prices in USD and in Origin the prices are the same number but in EUR, so Steam win on this (major) front.
    Also, I could not find the “sales” section, anywhere on the Origin client. Did I miss something? Is it well hidden? Do they have a “NO DISCOUNT!” policy?

    It’s a shame that the major competition (the potential for it, anyway) for steam is so far behind….

  15. Shortwave says:

    The only way I’ll buy things from Origin is if I’m forced into doing so more or less.
    I think it’s a joke to consider they’ll regularaly have any competative prices, it’s EA.
    Who now sell old maps.

    BTW I have to admit, I went out and bought Battlefield 3..
    I Was planning to wait for a sale, but I noticed they still had LE editions in store..
    Was really lacking MP FPS and I needed a fix real bad.
    I expected their first week to be totally broken and busted and hacked and hilarious.
    But still, at leas the MP is fun and ejecting out of a jet almost made it worth 60 bucks.
    I’d of been more happy and comfortable paying 40-50 but what can I do? No patience.
    It’ll likely take a year before they drop the price on it… : /

    Origin is just that “thing” I have to run to play the game.
    Nothing more nothing less.

    Also.. Can anyone explain to me in simple terms what ever happened to the TOS and what it actually means to to me/us? Because I don’t get it.. What kind of information can they take from me? ..

  16. alundra says:

    Best case scenario, we all get better prices and sales, worst one, we get split releases with different bonus across publishers.

    Unfortunately, we are already seeing some attempts to the second, like games with exclusive content found on one publisher and not on the others.

  17. Etherealsteel says:

    I’m staying with Steam. Steam just makes it so easy for me, plus most of my friends use Steam so it’s not much sense to buy Origin games if no friends play on it.

  18. woodsey says:

    Origin better gain some basic functionality then, and soon. It took 3 attempts and 2 days to add one friend on the service, whilst half of the links in the store didn’t work a lot of the time.

  19. Nemon says:

    How original, they sure do have some self esteam.

  20. _Nocturnal says:

    And those other publishers are okay with the fact that sales of their games through Origin will finance EA, a direct competitor of theirs? Huh.

    …does anyone see Origin winning over hearts and minds?

    Definitely not me. I’ve had a pretty terrible experience when I tried to get back into Burnout: Paradise because of Origin.

    First the EA Downloader installation that’s part of the game’s setup went wrong, so I had no way to play online and no way to automatically update. I managed to manually find and install a patch for the game, but that didn’t help. Then I tried to download a version of EA Downloader from the internet, hoping it would fix the game for me, but of course it was nowhere to be found, because there’s Origin now. The thing is, I couldn’t find any information at all on whether or not Origin was needed/would work with my game.

    Did I mention that I waited a whole day to get my account details for Origin and they never mailed them to me? In the end I had to try several of EA’s numerous sites with login pages and password/username retrieval options until I found one that was actually working. And guess what, I tried to get help in their support forums, but there didn’t seem to be a “New topic” button. Oh yes.

    Then, after I tried to submit a complaint via their mailing form I got “The page could not be submitted and the operation timed out.” I wish I was kidding. Fortunately, my browser makes sure the information I’ve entered into forms is saved in case of something like this. Later, a guy answered my complaint with a copy-pasted reply that actually had another guy’s name at the end. He didn’t even bother to change the name to his own.

    Finally, there are the problems relating to the game itself. Turns out that I’m unable to buy any DLCs for some reason. The cars are on my machine, I can look at them, but I can’t play with them and I can’t buy them from the online store, which is closed now. And of course, several of the DLCs that were released on consoles aren’t available on the PC for some reason.

    So… if EA can’t even support their own games properly, what does that mean about other people’s games?

  21. Fadobo says:

    A slap to my face. While I couldn’t play Battlefield 3 yesterday, since the activation servers were unavailable for 12+ hours, while biting my tongue over EA/Origin’s ridiculous spyware-like EULAs/Terms of Use, they brag how great their service is and that everybody wants to be on board.

  22. PoulWrist says:

    BF3 authentication was down due to DDOS from all the people who bought it. I’m sure they’ll have more stable systems in place for the future, as this was kind of the baptism of fire for Origin. I was a little sad that I couldn’t activate yesterday, but I could this morning, and I’m sure it’ll be fine from now on.

    I am excited for the news that Origin can become a powerful competitor to steam.

    Origin is brand new, they do need to play catchup for a little while, but so far Origin is more complete as a service than Steam was 6 months after release. It’s far better in all respects compared to the steam of then, so so far it’s a success story.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      “Origin” has been around for 6 years. It started as EA Downloader in October, 2005. They instituted a doanload client in September, 2007, called EA Download Manager (EADM).

  23. WhatKateDoes says:

    Steam. Half-Life 2.

    Valve had their own nightmare with an AAA title at launch on a new required service, which was – back in the day – an additional nightmare for those of use not yet blessed with broadband – this is nothing new.

    I’m not playing anything via Steam at the moment, and have just re-installed Windows so Origin will likely be the only one on my system for a while.. but either way I won’t be setting them to autostart with windows.. my wee tool-tray, she cannae handle it.

    • woodsey says:

      True, but Steam was the first attempt, new services don’t get anywhere near as much patience. And its not like EA doesn’t have enough money to throw at the thing to get it working properly – it seems to have been rushed out to meet BF3′s launch.

    • yutt says:

      Err, Valve was a much smaller studio when Steam was released in 2002, network infrastructure and technologies were not nearly as robust or advanced, and many users were still on dialup. I hardly think it makes sense to hold the multi-billion dollar publishing behemoth of EA to the same standards as an infant Valve’s decade old pioneering attempt at digital distribution.

      The sad thing is, that is all Origin is. For all people try to talk it up as competition to Steam, it lacks any feature that makes Steam valuable. It is a browser-independent store-front, and comparable to Steam of (maybe) 2004-2005 era. It is bizarre to me that anyone would choose to endorse it over GoG or Impulse or D2D or GamersGate, which have been around for ages.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I think many of the people endorsing Origin are just leery of Steams growing influence, rather than praising it for its own merits. I haven’t tried it yet though, so what do I know?

      I’ve tried a couple services and this is my view so far:

      D2D: Didn’t like it, had issues.
      EA’s old digital store: The download manager was always causing problems, prices weren’t competitive, and it just seemed to get in the way of playing games.
      Impulse: Double charged me on the one game I got, and wouldn’t give me a code. It wasn’t even a game, it was a Steam code.
      Steam: I’ve had one issue out of over a hundred games bought. That was when Risen ran out of codes because they weren’t expecting the weekend sale to sell so many (it sold more in one weekend sale than a year of normal prices). Oh, and I’ve had small issues with achievements. On the plus side, I was able to get my account back (hadn’t been on in three years) within a day by emailing a scan of my Halflife 2 manual.

      GoG: Worked as promised.
      Gamersgate: Worked as promised.

  24. Aaarrrggghhh says:

    I don’t think that I will use Origin for anything else then EA games where I “have to”. I could, but I dont see the point as long as they are not significantly cheaper then Steam.
    I already have a rather large Steam library, some games at Desura and for everything “third-party” (like GoG or retail games) I use Steam to be able to chat etc.
    In the end it really comes down to costs and as long they aren’t cheaper I see no use in buying there.

    Competition might be nice, but I doubt that Origin will have any significant impact. It’s just another Steam clone that doesn’t even support the features Steam already has. So, as I’m already a rather happy Steam customer there is no need to change now. And I don’t know anyone who thinks differently.

  25. Joe Duck says:

    I am going to take a risk and predict that by Christmas 2012 we’ll all be used to EA paying THQ and others a hefty sum in order to get 1 month exclusives. EA is not going to fight a price war, they are going to fight an exclusive war.
    I really, really hope I am wrong.

    • InternetBatman says:

      That only works as long as the other publishers don’t make their own store/platform, which they have absolutely no incentive not to do if Origin is a success. Also, while exclusives are very important (wouldn’t have a Gamersgate account if not for the Precursors), I don’t think timed exclusives are hugely important. Digital distribution is all about the long tail, where the percentage of money made in the first few weeks decreases over time.

      Also, a bad DRM / store, like GFWL for example, isn’t really a draw for people even if you can get it into games or get them there once.

  26. Advanced Assault Hippo says:

    This is good news.

    It’ll be a rocky road initially while kinks are ironed out, but looking ahead the next 3-5 years it’s going to be a good thing for Steam’s stranglehold to diminish.

    The current business model of large publishers throwing a chunk of their profit at Valve to operate in the digital market was always a ridiculous one in principle. EA are now changing that and not before time, hopefully other big players will follow suit and have their own digital platforms as well.

    Unless someone comes up with a magical way of having a neutral digital distribution platform for all the publishers to use with an equal bit of the cherry, this is the way it was always going to go.

  27. Shooop says:

    As long as they refuse amend their TOS to prevent Origin from looking at anything that isn’t related to EA’s own software they can forget it. Add the fact that EA and their subsidiaries have proven they’re too incompetent to support their PC games even before Origin and I know I’m not missing anything worthwhile.

    Also amusing to see how many people lack any kind of spine or sense whatsoever and pulled a “Boycott MW2 before you end up buying it day one!” for BF3. And now are complaining about it.

  28. Sigh says:

    I have to say that Origin hasn’t really bothered me like I thought it might…so far it has stayed out of my way and has worked perfectly. I can’t complain about the memory footprint since I have 8 GB or Ram installed in my machine and I only start it when I want to play BF3

    I also think that EA is slowly adopting the Valve/Steam pricing model. EA’s digital distribution prices tend to remain static, but recently I noticed that Origin was offering deep discounts as a little announcement when you quit a game (in the vein of Steam). Both Dead Space 2 and Dragon Age 2 among others were being offered at 66% discount and resulted in $8.00 or less prices. I didn’t bite because I already own DS2 and have no interest in DA2, but it was nice to see those prices. Some downward pressure on prices is quite welcome…I will watch this Holiday season with interest.

  29. Innovacious says:

    THQ?… It doesn’t even make sense how saints row 3 is available on all other digital distribution services in the UK, but not steam. Same with space marine as well i believe. The story that GAME are pressuring them does not really hold up when its ONLY steam that is being affected by it.

    Still no reason for me to go to Origin though. I don’t really care enough about any upcoming EA games that could end up being origin exclusive. All the franchises they hold are going downhill fast in my eyes. And anything else that THQ decides isn’t steam worthy? Ill probably pick them up on D2D, since it doesn’t require me to install anything and i can just add the game to steam as a non steam game to keep things organised.

    Even if i DID agree with the origin EULA, i don’t want my games collection (and friend list for that matter) spread across different programs. Steam keeps all that stuff organised for me.

  30. aircool says:

    If Origin can pull all of my separate EA accounts (18 in all according to some page on one of their zillion websites) under one roof, I’ll be satisfied with their service.

    I await my email from tech support. I just need to remember which email address from the last 15 years it will be.

  31. faillord_adam says:

    Then they pull out because of “imposed business terms”.

  32. Roshin says:

    Well, you lot wanted competition and you got it. Let’s hope it turns into something that’s good for the consumers, eh?

    After the nonsense over the release of BF3 and the hollow anti-climax of actually playing the game, I will steer clear of EA and Origin. I might well be back, but they will have to pull a fucking big rabbit out of the hat for that to happen.

  33. Javier-de-Ass says:

    hopefully saints row 3 on origin doesn’t still have steamworks. it would be awesome to have an alternative to steam for steamworks games.

    • stupid_mcgee says:

      SR3 will have Steamworks on Origin. It is a Steamworks game. And you can buy Steamworks games from other places than Steam. Total War: Shogun 2 and RAGE are good examples.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      are you completely sure it won’t have a drm change?

    • digitalfoundry says:

      Unfortunately, publishers that sell themselves to the Valve making their games steamworks only become tied to steam. This is one way Steam is becoming more like a dominant force. There are some exceptions though. The publishers could remove the steamworks component in the game to offer it in another DD.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      isn’t steamworks just a suite to port over xbox live style features like achievements/scoreboards and so on. doesn’t ea have an equivalent? I’m sure I have seen games that are steamworks on steam but different drm somewhere else, can’t remember titles right now though.

  34. FreshwaterAU says:

    I’m a huge steam fanboy, but I got Origin for SWTOR and then added some older games I had so its nice to have a digitial copy of ME2.

    Really Origin isnt that bad, it is NOT as good as steam, but its ok.

    I’m ok with this expand as long as it doesnt tank steam. Still though I want all games to be steam based so maybe on second though I’m NOT that ok with it. I felt like all PC gamers on steam sort of gave the PC a base group with numbers and networking and such. More choice is fine, I just dont want less and I really like having games register on steam

  35. StingingVelvet says:

    My “support” of Origin is based on disliking Valve’s growing monopoly. Too much power there, needs to be diluted.

    Personally I like the GOG and Gamersgate method. All I want are DRM free exe files just like MP3s.

    • sneetch says:

      It’s not a monopoly unless they control the market. Valve don’t control anything; being popular is not the same as having a monopoly.

    • Javier-de-Ass says:

      it has been a monopoly on a lot of games in the sense that when steamworks has been announced that is the only version of the game available on the pc. steam becomes the pc version.

    • digitalfoundry says:

      It’s not a dictionary definition monopoly, but Steam does have tools like Steamworks which make the games Steam-only titles, which do make them a very big competitor, if not the biggest.

    • Shooop says:

      How do you properly compete with someone by offering a service that’s completely awful and intrusive?

    • Agnol117 says:

      Steamworks isn’t a monopoly because you can buy Steamworks games from other retailers. Steamworks is just glorified DRM. It’s no more a monopoly than games that, for example, require GFWL activation regardless of purchase location.

    • bill says:

      Like the way SecuRom used to be a monopoly?

      er.. wait, no it didn’t.

      But, yes, replacing an optional 3rd party online service from a small-ish company with a mandatory online service from ONE OF THE BIGGEST PUBLISHERS AROUND will be a huge step forward in open-ness!

      *bangs head*

  36. aircool says:

    Anyone know if there’s an unlock for find the ‘option’ for BF3? So far I’ve managed to change my avatar to a kitten with a guitar, but I can’t find the setting for AA anywhere.

    • Harper says:

      You have do do that while in game. Just be quick though, if you die it closes the options menu for you.

  37. somini says:

    Saints Row 3 is a Steamworks game, so if you buy it there you don’t even need to install the Origin client right? Can you buy things through the browser?

  38. Ultra-Humanite says:

    EA’s idea of winning hearts and minds is to beat you into submission.

  39. robaal says:

    Does anyone think that the Origin web store is anywhere near the quality of the Steam store?

    I mean, they put ads with Cyrillic text on the polish version of the site, and think it necessary to point out that all games are downloadable, and that Crysis 2 priced identically to physical retail is a “good price”.

    I assume they sell games other than “Battlefield, The Sims, EA Sports, Crysis, Need for Speed and Mass Effect”, but I don’t see any “browse titles” button.

    The page also refuses to load in Chrome for me for whatever reason.

    Competition is good, but these guys look like they don’t care or aren’t able to provide a better service than the already existing companies. As it stands, I would only buy from them if they had a huge sale.

    • InternetBatman says:

      That website is pretty bad. I just googled it to do a comparison. It basically boils down to Origin having a bad front page, and friendlier if much less useful UI. Steam is a little more circuitous to navigate, but once there shows more games, has more meaningful search categories, does not have an add to cart option (which I think is a good thing because it encourages you to look at the product). I think Origin may have misjudged their users by a lot though. I can’t speak for everyone, but I like stores that give me more data with the option to scroll through it quickly. I feel like the majority of PC gamers could be considered power users, and this is not a system designed for power users. It’s the lowest common denominator.

      Also, it worked fine in Chrome for me. Might be a regional thing.

  40. zakihashi says:

    I got as much trust in EA as I do in Valve, as on Steam, issues like the onces with Battlefield is common as well. It wouldn’t be the first time I buy a game of Steam where there is no CD key becasue they ran out of them.

  41. hmcindie says:

    They better fix it. This is how my BF3 night went: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=s828Dypz3vg

  42. bill says:

    Oh crap.

    I seriously hope this ends in total failure, because if they are successful it’s going to screw over gamers in half the world. The last thing we want is EA to be in charge of setting global prices, based on the fact that their current price here for Mirror’s Edge is $95 and you won’t find anything else under about $75.

    People complain about Steamworks, but valve is a small publisher so it’s optional for devs to use that. If EA start baking Origin into every EA game then in a few years we’re all going to be forced to use Origin at it’s insanely high prices.

    No thanks.
    *please fail please fail please fail*

  43. Oreo says:

    This is the sort of competition I like:

    Multiple store-fronts competing with each other. Battlefield 3 being used as a cudgel to punish Valve is somewhat monopolistic and bad for the consumer. But if I have a choice where I want to buy Arkham City, and can weigh the pros/cons of the service? Hell yeah.

    Now, unfortunately for Origin, that pretty much means they need to nuke the shit out of the price. The actual Origin service is pretty bad so far, and I have some privacy concerns regarding Origin, so their main point of competition in my eyes is price.

  44. Flory says:

    Installing a platform that is technically spyware? I think not. So the BF3-Origin-Datamining-shitstorm on web and media seems to be a German-only thing. Just install process monitor and watch Origin at work. Most of the time it does nothing interesting, but sometimes, it does really creepy stuff:

    Origin reads your browser cookies, cache, history:
    http://www.planet3dnow.de/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=24008&d=1319909290

    Origin reads Lexware and your tax declaration
    http://s1.directupload.net/images/111028/fglehhsj.jpg

    Origin reads your synchronized SMS and adressbook (confirmed: Samsung and Sony Ericson, not testet with Apple stuff yet)
    http://www.photographyplace.de/origindurchsuchtmeinenpc.jpg
    http://s7.directupload.net/images/111028/enxmldba.jpg

    Origin sends data to some cloud-services hosted by amazon
    http://i44.tinypic.com/2lc8q37.jpg
    http://www.planet3dnow.de/vbulletin/attachment.php?attachmentid=24007&d=1319909290

    Origin scans your PC BEFORE you accept the EULA

  45. sassy says:

    Competition is good but basically I refuse to support EA. Valve may not be perfect but they have earned our trust, whereas EA has repeatedly shown that they are a business that only cares about profits with absolutely no regard for consumers.