EA launching digital download service Origin to rival Steam

By on June 3, 2011, 7:00 AM

Game publishing giant Electronic Arts is set to take on Valve's Steam with the launch of its own digital distribution platform, dubbed Origin. According to a report on the Wall Street Journal, the new service functions as a single store and gaming platform on the PC that will let customers "purchase, download and keep track of" their games.

Although the company already allowed users to purchase and download titles digitally, the move marks a more serious shift of its business towards online distribution while adding a sense of integration across the board.

EA's Origin store will reportedly launch with a catalog of over 150 titles, including the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO as a digital exclusive, and feature a range of "Facebook-like social features" to interact with your peers.

The company hopes that the exclusive download availability of the much awaited sci-fi massively multiplayer online role-playing game will help the new service pick up some steam -- pun fully intended -- and could follow this same strategy with other popular titles under their publishing umbrella. That said, they've also made it clear that you will still be able to buy a retail, boxed copy of The Old Republic from your favorite retailer.

EA was expected to make the official announcement today but apparently word got out a few hours early. The EA Store has already been replaced with a placeholder website for Origin, which will open its doors at 9am PST.

User Comments: 28

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pcnthuziast said:

Steam rocks and has served me well for years. Good luck EA you'll need it.

Burty117 Burty117, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

ha ha! yeah, EA i don' think your going to take on Steam some how...

r3dark said:

nothing can replace steam imo =0!

Phraun said:

Hmm. So I can continue using Steam and be happy, or opt into what will no doubt be a bug-riddled DRM-laden steaming pile of garbage with a miniscule game selection (that covers only EA games, no doubt) and try to juggle the two services side by side. What a difficult decision.

Looks like I'm buying the boxed version of ToR, eh?

wcbert said:

Sound like a bead counter at EA came up with a way to make money. Lets copy the other guy's idea.

Muggs said:

I have definitely had my fair share of issues with Steam but they pale in comparison to my issues with EA. Although I see EA forcing you to use their service if you want to play their games after awhile so I doubt we will be able to fully avoid it.

Rasta211 said:

Well if the EA store is prepared to offer better deals than Steam does, I'll at least try it out.

Vrmithrax Vrmithrax, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Hey, why partner up with a well-positioned and polished digital distribution system, when you can instead throw money and resources into re-inventing the wheel? What could possibly go wrong?

jetkami said:

Anyone who has bought games from the EA site in the past can tell ya they suck at support. How many free games has EA given out? Hey steam show EA how to do it and release another free game!

Kibaruk Kibaruk, TechSpot Paladin, said:

pcnthuziast said:

Steam rocks and has served me well for years. Good luck EA you'll need it.

Good luck EA, you'll surely need it.

H3llion H3llion, TechSpot Paladin, said:

Even if its "better" then Steam, do you think alot will switch over? Alot of people have games on Steam, communities and tons of friends, I doubt they will change that easily over to Origin.

Sure you can use both platforms but still... I doubt Origins will overtake steam or even be on pair... Just too many people used to Steam. This is similar to Windows and OSX, Windows has been on the market first hence why the higher product share (hope you get what I am trying to say).

Anyway goodluck to EA, they do make some ridiculous statements "we will overtake this and that .. blah blah..." I will deffo try out Origin, see how the UI is and overall user experience...

Guest said:

Haha I am too lazy to make an account on this site, but although Steam is a great distribution platform. However, from what I have seen and experienced Steam customer support is less than stellar. For example, if you were to buy Tom Clancy's Ghost Recon Advanced Warfighter on Steam. You will find that the game comes ridden with bugs that make it unplayable, now before you all start bashing at me saying that it is the game. These bugs are not present in both the retail copies and the copies from D2D. Anyway just saying that we shouldn't blindly follow Steam with our hearts and wallets, if your interested in the GRAW bug or if you do have a problem with that specific game check out the Steam forums for the game the community ended up fixing the game for Steam, by manually editing scripts. I just realized I have written a book, and I apologize.

P.S I don't proof read...

Guest said:

I hope they offer more than just EA games... I like having more stores around the net anyways.

r8bwp said:

I have over a hundred games on steam. so middle finger EA!

Ea is based in Guildford 20 miles from me.

Steam has done me well through many many years.

EA grrrrreeen eyes looking at STEAMS greener grass!!!

From General E Psychotic

ramonsterns said:

Desperate much, EA?

Guest said:

Well, if it works for Linux as well as other legacy operating systems, they will get a lot of customers.

yRaz yRaz said:

I don't support EA as a publisher, I do support Valve as both a developer and a publisher. EA, you're a little late in the game and you already have a bad reputation. Steam may not be 100% but they have years of experience with this kind of software. Steam has ironed out most of it's bugs but it still has some. Valve has had years to tweak and develop it's distribution system. It may take EA a year or more to be able to sort out all the possible bugs.

Again, I support Valve as a developer and a publisher, that right there is reason enough for me to not switch. Not to mention Valve's DRM is the only one that works. Imagine the crap that EA will try to shove down our throats. It's BS that I can't install Crysis warhead more than 3 times. I emailed EA about it when I reached the limit and they basically said FU. I emailed Valve and forwarded them the letter I got from EA and they gave me a new CD key.

Good fight, EA, good fight.

Guest said:

Maybe this will foment a much needed price war.

You know, when I bought 'Tie Fighter' many, many years ago, it came in an awesome box, containing a manual, a novel, a keyboard map, and the installation floppy disks.

Nowadays, you will buy a game for the same price and you will get no physical media and no extras whatsoever. Well, except for DRM, of course.

Wasn't the digital distribution model supposed to lower prices? No, I guess it was just a mean to increase profit.

Guest said:


RTFM before looking like an *****. The terms and conditions of Crysis: Warhead tells you about the license limit. So EA has the deauthorize tool you can use to wipe clear the licenses used for previous installations. If you don't image your harddrive with the game installed; then DEAUTH the game before uninstalling it.

yRaz yRaz said:

Guest said:


RTFM before looking like an *****. The terms and conditions of Crysis: Warhead tells you about the license limit. So EA has the deauthorize tool you can use to wipe clear the licenses used for previous installations. If you don't image your harddrive with the game installed; then DEAUTH the game before uninstalling it.

That fact that we HAVE to deauthorize a game before we uninstall it just strengthens my point. You want to put your money in the hands of those people? Good for you, I will stick to Valve who gave me a new game when EA told me I was SOL.

gwailo247, TechSpot Chancellor, said:

I wonder if sooner or later this will mean that they will stop selling their titles through other stores, such as Steam?

Tekkaraiden Tekkaraiden said:

Hmm wonder where I've seen that name and logo before ... oh yeah


amstech amstech, TechSpot Enthusiast, said:

Not a good idea but who knows.

Steam has changed over the years and people actually like and use it now.

I have 30 or so games on mine, I even bought NBA2K11 and max it out on my PC, looks great. EA needs to keep thier ego in check, maybe a partnership or joint venture of some kind with Valve is better then going against them; Valve has made some of the best games in history, including a top 5 game of ALLTIME in Half Life. Not the best company to go against especially considering they house the most anticipated title's in the world, Half Life 3/EP3.

Darth Shiv Darth Shiv said:

One of the big selling points for Steam for me is they have proven trustworthy. EA has been serving up crap for years. Why would anyone move to EA? Steam provides content from many publishers. If EA goes exclusive for their own content, they'll do well to survive.

Guest said:

If EA wants to take over a new market they should be looking to compete with Onlive not Steam.

I just hope they don't start making new games exclusive to their own store.

Guest said:

Good that someone willing to try to rival steam, but this will do ok as nothing really their to get me to use it as my platform for buying games.

Maybe if it has better security or something then I may use it.

Security wise for buying games right now even though closed off only to Blizzard games is battle.net

Superpeter Superpeter said:

So does this mean EA store will be offering more than just EA games now?

Guest said:

I know unless its 100% needed to have an origin account to play tor, im not touching origin and buying a hard copy of the game instead.

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