By Nathan Grayson on May 3rd, 2012 at 9:00 am.
I held out on using Origin until Mass Effect 3. I was immediately struck by the fact that there were precisely two tabs: “my games” and, of course, “store.” Even more striking, however, was the fact that EA’s little wallet-ruffling engine that could, well, couldn’t. Each time I tried to purchase ME3, I got booted by an incredibly vague error message. Eventually, I let out a quiet scream of resignation, left my house, and went on the prowl for reporters to punch. Then I realized I could just send a few of my own teeth flying, which really didn’t end up helping anything. So yes, my experiences with Origin haven’t exactly yielded sunshine, rainbows, or cheap dental bills. Are you in the same boat, or at least a nearby flotilla? Well then, slight consolation: after letting you languish for ages in life’s ancient-magazine-packed waiting room, EA’s finally calling you to the front desk.
The publisher wrote as much in a recent blog entry. Using the example of another formerly disenfranchised member of Origin’s ranks, Jon Peddie, EA opened the floor to everybody, specifically requesting “ a comment about (1) Your favorite Origin feature and (2) A feature you’d like to see added or improved upon.” Already, one person – upon getting their chance to summon the magical EA genie from its lamp – requested a clock so they can check the time while playing. Clearly, we are off to a rollicking start.
Meanwhile, the publisher plans to hold an Origin-specific live Q&A on May 8. Apparently, it starts at 10 AM in a timezone someplace (presumably) on Earth, but EA, er, failed to specify which one (Update: it’s Pacific). It added, however, that we should “check back soon for more information and instructions on how to RSVP for this special event.”
So that’s nice, I suppose. That said, I’m skeptical as to whether or not it’ll suddenly flip on any lightbulbs in the dingy dungeons of Origin’s development lab, and even if it does, EA’s been known to take a pretty hefty chunk of time with these things. And, having read through Peddie’s account of his in-person meeting with EA management, this bit sticks out: “I learned a lot about the federation of EA, and how the management is trying to integrate the various tribes it has inherited and/or acquired. Just establishing a common lexicon is a major effort, and weaving in other companies’ interfaces, account management, QC, and relationships is almost Sisyphus-like endeavor.” That very much echoes what John heard while investigating EA’s forum ban fiasco, which suggests that Origin’s achingly slow start hasn’t necessarily been a matter of out-and-out neglect.
Regardless, this is a chance to be heard, and those don’t come often when dealing with the deafeningly whirring gears of a monstrous machine like EA. Me, I’m hoping for social features that aren’t so ancient they include a smoke signal option and mod support that’s, well, existent in some form or another. I mean, come on: I can’t rightly get the full Sims 3: Katy Perry’s Sweet Treats experience without those essential basics.