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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.