Posts Tagged ‘Origin’

Expansive: Origin Signs Major Publishers

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.

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Get Physical: Origin Sells Boxed Valve Games

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There was much excitement when Origin users in the US noticed a buy two get one free promotion that includes three Valve titles: Left 4 Dead GOTY Edition, Left 4 Dead 2 and Counterstrike: Source. Could it mean the end of Valve and EA’s digital distribution feud? Of course not. The games aren’t being digitally distributed through Origin’s service, they are retail copies (in boxes made of actual matter like in olden times) that will be delivered to users as part of the offer. Perhaps an EA man will simply step out of the ‘Pizza Delivery’ van that has been inexplicably parked across the street from your house since you signed that EULA and leave the parcel on your doorstep. Or not. At retail, Valve products have been published by EA for many a moon, so this could be seen as nothing more than a good way to free up some warehouse space.

Origin EULA Gets A Makeover


We never did hear back from EA about the Origin EULA thing, but Giant Bomb have noticed that the EULA has been substantially redrafted to sound less sinister. The new EULA is a bit more of protestation of innocence than the original legalese: “EA knows that you care how information about you is collected, used and shared, and we appreciate your trust that we will do so carefully and sensibly. Information about our customers is an important part of our business, and EA would never sell your personally identifiable information to anyone, nor would it ever use spyware or install spyware on users’ machines.” It does seem like the rest of EULA means you are still basically agreeing to the same thing, however.

EA’s Origin EULA Proves Even More Sinister

Why so sinister, EA?

As spotted by the canny denizens of the Escapist forum, there is a quite extraordinary clause in the EULA of EA’s new game service, Origin. One that may well make you think twice about letting the software on your PC. Under the title of “Consent to Collection and Use of Data”, the clause states that by installing Origin you are giving EA permission to “collect, use, store and transmit technical and related information that identifies your computer, operating system, Application usage (including but not limited to successful installation and/or removal), software, software usage and peripheral hardware.”

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Newell Says Valve Need To Bring EA Back


I mean they need to bring sexy back, too, but Electronic Arts – who have removed a bunch of games from Steam and don’t intend to put Battlefield 3 on there – will have to come first, according to this article over on Develop. Valve bossking Newell reportedly said: “We really want to show there’s a lot of value having EA titles on Steam. We want EA’s games on Steam and we have to show them that’s a smart thing to do. I think at the end of the day we’re going to prove to Electronic Arts they have happier customers, a higher quality service, and will make more money if they have their titles on Steam. It’s our duty to demonstrate that to them. We don’t have a natural right to publish their games.”

It’ll be interesting to see whether that can now get resolved. Probably not before Battlefield 3 comes out, eh?

So: Retail Battlefield 3 Will Require Origin

The skyscraper? Valve HQ. The scene? An EA' executive's dream.
The moves! They are becoming clearer. As many of you speculated, it seems that the retail version of Battlefield 3 will indeed require Origin to be installed on your computer in order to play it. Oh Twitter, how did we find out brief snippets of information (or organise anarchic uprisings against the grim hegemony of shoe shops) before you existed?

This admission by EA probably goes some way to explaining why the game won’t appear on Steam, because it would basically entail two Steam-like systems being folded around the game, and they would inevitably fight like giant sperm whales versus kraken in the magnetic depths of your hard-drive. Such a conflict would undoubtedly cause electronic terribleness to occur, and no-one wants that. That’s my understanding of the technical situation, at least. I suspect there are also overriding commercial monsters pulling the levers behind the scenes. This is the game could spread Origin about in the game-o-sphere, just as Counter-Strike and Half-Life 2 propagated Steam.

Anyone have any thoughts on this? I am betting that you do.

EA’s Reply On Origin “Entitlement” Deletion


We’ve had word back from EA regarding their peculiarly-worded terms of service for Origin. Senior director of corporate communications John Reseburg explains: “The Origin terms of service are designed to protect against misuse of the Origin system. No Origin user who has paid entitlements and/or downloaded games will have their account cancelled or games expired due to extended non-use. The term regarding account cancellation for non-use is designed to guard against creation of non-active accounts for inappropriate reasons.”

So that’s good. As long as you weren’t intending to create non-active accounts for inappropriate reasons, anyway.

Origin To Delete Inactive Accounts?

Oh dear.
A number of readers have written in to express concern about this clause in the terms of service for Electronic Arts’ new digital distribution, Origin. Here’s the key bit: “If you have not used your Entitlements or Account for twenty four (24) months or more and your Account has associated Entitlements, your Entitlements will expire and your Account may be cancelled for non-use.” The “entitlements” it’s talking about are “paid and free downloadable content, unlockable content, digital and/or virtual assets, rights of use tied to unlock keys or codes, serial codes and/or online authentication of any kind, in-game achievements and virtual or fictional currency.”

We’ve asked Electronic Arts for clarification on this, but it suggests you might lose DLC, achievements, and even your account if you don’t log on for two years. Not exactly the kind of permanence we’ve come to expect from certain online services, is it? I can think of quite a few services I’ve not logged into for two years, and I’d still expect all my stuff to be there. Is anyone aware of similar clauses in other distribution systems or online game services?

Devolver Scrap Own Digi Distro For Sam 3

This is the guy who wrote the press release.

Some astonishing controversy from Friday that escaped our gaze – Devolver Digital, they publishing Serious Sam 3: BFE, have announced that they’ve scrapped their planned proprietary digital distribution service, Krundle, and instead are opting to use Steam. And not Origin. The press release, containing their reasoning and what could have been (including features such as “Free-to-Play-for-Fifty-Bucks games wherein the consumer is free to play the game once it is purchased for $50”, and velvet-covered jet skis), is below.

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The Fade: Dragon Age II Gone From Steam

Caption: This is a man with a sword. I am on *fire* today.

Oh, I hope this isn’t a sign of a dark, headline-writing times to come. I don’t want to spend the rest of 2011 writing ‘Game X Gone From Steam’ every other day. The latest departure from the packed ranks of Steam is EA and Bioware’s Dragon Age II – and right on the eve of the launch of its new DLC Legacy.

Something which may be no coincidence.

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Digital Battlefield: No Steam Release For BF3?

Jim and Alec missed these Staring Eyes when they used this image. Old men running RPS.

Over the weekend, or at least I noticed it over the weekend, EA stuck up “A list of digital retailers who will be selling Battlefield 3” onto Battlefield.com. I had a good look at it at, but it’s curiously now been taken down. It included the likes of Gamersgate, Impulse, Direct2Drive, and EA’s own (sort of) brand new download service, Origin. Nearly 100 different digital distributors were listed in total, but conspicuous by its absence, it seems there are currently no plans for Battlefield 3 to be made available on Steam.

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Content Wars: Origin/Steam Scuffle Unfolds

In a just world, we'd use this picture on every post

We never got a proper answer about what dark force it was which led to a few EA games – most noisily Crysis 2 – suddenly vanishing from Steam last month. Valve have kept entirely mum about their side of the story, but EA claim it was Valve who wielded the axe, due to a mystery transgression of Steam’s terms and conditions. Of course, all this rather neatly coincided with the launch of Origin, EA’s latest attempt at their own PC game download service (now with extra social stuff).

Everyone was to blame, no-one was to blame, we all picked our villains and passive-aggressively shook our e-fists at them, and then it went quiet again. Now, EA has broken cover to offer a little more – while the full explanation isn’t there, we’ve got some pretty strong hints as to just why a bunch of their big games were unceremoniously booted off Steam.
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Eh? Crysis 2 Steam Axe “Not an EA decision”

Yeah, me too

THINGS ARE GETTING REALLY STRANGE NOW. Now being outside of UK office hours mean we’re yet to get our own EA response to why Crysis 2 vanished from Steam yesterday, but across-the-ponders have now received one. The upshot? Despite all this ‘only on Origin’ stuff, EA didn’t do it. So: who did?
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EA vs Ultima IV

Bit of a Moses complex there, Richard?

Back in the late 90s, EA rereleased Ultima IV as freeware. Sort of. If you didn’t download it from an officially authorised host, you’re still technically committing piracy – even though the game is indeed freely available. It’s a long story, documented exhaustively here, but the sudden upshot of it is that EA are cracking down on sites that have been hosting it for bloomin’ ages. Unfortunately, this has also affected a number of ambitious and long-standing fan mods and remakes.

Why? And why now?
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The Making Of: Harvey Smith

[At this point in these postmortem features, I decided to mix it up a little for PC Format. Since they were integrated into the mod-section of the magazine – with the subtext that they were inspirational things for readers thinking about becoming games developers – I thought a look at how a designer got to be a designer could be fun. Luckily, Harvey, who’s previously worked on landmark games including Deus Ex and System Shock, was up for it. The interview was done after the end of Ion Storm Austin, but before he’d joined Midway to work on Blacksite.]

He doesn't always wear shades.

We all look back, in an unholy mix of nostalgia and self-analysis. It’s what this column is all about. This time, however, we’re going to take an alternate route through this terrain. Rather than follow the path of a game, and what went right and wrong, instead we’re going to follow a career. How it started, how it moved on and what was learned at each step. And, indirectly, one of the most common questions that arrive in our inbox: “How do I get into the games industry”. Here’s a case study of how one man did. The man in question? Harvey Smith, who started back in 1993 in Quality Assurance at Origin and continues to this day at Midway.
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