EA launches Origin digital distribution service with SWTOR exclusive

Friday, 3rd June 2011 04:54 GMT By Brenna Hillier

John Riccitiello’s mysterious description of EA as a platform wasn’t as abstract as it seemed. The mega-publisher has officially launched its own digital distribution service.

The Wall Street Journal reported earlier today that EA was pushing strongly onwards with its initiative to embrace digital by launching a Steam-like distribution service.

BioWare’s MMORPG, Star Wars: The Old Republic, will not be sold through rival distribution channels, although boxed PC copies will be available.

Called Origin, the service utilizes a client program and what sounds like specialised DRM – again, like Steam or even iTunes.

The service offers various social features, presumably building on EA’s current online identity system to sport leaderboards, status messages, and likely game-specific integration alá Dragon Age’s links with the BioWare social network.

Interestingly, the service will not “initially” offer console games, according to WSJ, suggesting EA may be pushing to see the service on more than PCs and Macs in the future – which makes some sense, given the generally weak (but rallying) slice of market share the PC holds.

Riccitiello described the platform as one of the “cornerstones” of EA’s continued digital push, which has also included a strong mobile gaming presence and increased DLC activities. After several years of financial disappointment, EA’s shares have risen 48 percent over the last six months.

EA is expected to formally detail the service at its E3 event, but you can sign up and download it now.

The reveal of EA’s digital distribution service comes hot on the heels of a deal with Good Old Games to release its back-catalogue, which seems quite incongruous.

Thanks, Massively.



  1. Phoenixblight

    I would bet my bottom dollar that this will mean no more EA games on Steam.

    #1 4 years ago
  2. jacobvandy

    So are they giving up on the EA Store? Or will that still exist just for retail boxes?

    #2 4 years ago
  3. darksied

    I’m not sure about this. I actually like the EA download manager (it’s even better in some ways that steam), so I hope this is just an improvement over that. As long as they do a good job with it and give it an offline mode, then I’ll be fine with it.

    #3 4 years ago
  4. BULArmy

    Ok no problem with that, but BF3 will be 60$ on PC, WTF?!?! This is just cheap way to make money on the back of your customers. The console 10$ are royalties for the console manufaturers, but the aditional 10$ for the PC version goes only to them. Instead of getting bigger PC sales with lower price, they try to make easy money out of us…

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Christopher Jack

    @4, Closer to $3 manufacturer royalties, the other $7 is just profit.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. FadeLive


    Well it is EA after all. That’s how they roll.

    I really wish EA would properly embrace Steam instead of constantly insisting on using their own digital store. Battlefield with steam works would be the creme de la creme of online shooters for PC.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. darksied

    It doesn’t say anywhere that Battlefield 3 won’t use Steam. They have all the EA games right now. It will be a while before this is up and running, I’m guessing by 2012, around the time star wars comes out. I’m guessing Battlefield 3 will still be sold on Steam, Impulse, D2D, etc.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. Phoenixblight


    Actually EA usually does give it to Steam but after the Preorder bonuses are up so the steam users don’t get any of the DLC unless it comes with the full game.

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Grimrita

    I cant really see this working, unless EA force the issue. Besides, having SWTOR as the launch product wont have any impact at all as most will probably want to purchase a boxed copy.

    The only way this will see it working, is to offer trial periods of (insert game name here) and demos, with options to purchase the full product.

    With EA yet to return any kind of profit over the past few years, I guess by cutting out the middle man, they can keep every single penny going forward. Only time will tell but I wont be downloading yet another DD platform to play 1 game.

    #9 4 years ago
  10. Phoenixblight

    I very much enjoy EA way of doing things I can put the code that comes with the physical game through the EA digital and get the digital version and no longer need the disc. Not only that they have made a way that as your game is downloading it installs. So you just have to wait for the game to download and then once finished you can play it.

    #10 4 years ago
  11. darksied

    Correct. I think some of that old EA stigma is still around where people think no matter what EA is out to screw them (i.e. Activision).

    Like I said, I think the EA download manager is one of the coolest things they’ve done recently; I just hope this new platform takes all that into account and is as easy to use.

    #11 4 years ago
  12. AHA-Lambda

    sorry how is this different from the EA store?

    this better not mean that BF3 wont be on steam >:(

    #12 4 years ago
  13. Christopher Jack

    @12, None of us know, wait for the reveal, it may contain more than just EA’s games.

    #13 4 years ago
  14. Dralen

    They would be fools not to put Battlefield 3 on Steam.

    #14 4 years ago
  15. Stephany Nunneley

    Service is now downloadable. I have updated the post to reflect this.

    #15 4 years ago
  16. DSB

    Hehe, that’s funny.

    I bought The Saboteur on their last big sale, and got the download manager and everything, and I was like “Damn, that looks like a pretty serious client for a download manager”.

    Now they just changed the logo and as it turns out, it IS a serious client.

    @1 I would bet my bottom dollar that’s not the case. There are some major considerations in pushing a publisher-driven client over an independent one. Steam can talk to anyone, as can Impulse, but EA are going to have to sign deals with their direct competitors in order to make their client a real succes.

    There’s no doubt that they won’t want to give advantages to anyone from here on out, and quite probably will seek to underbid anyone on their own games (they’ll still see better margins) but I doubt that this is going to be a bridge-burning assault on the market. They wouldn’t be very succesful.

    @15 Their EA Download Manager had actually secretly been showing off the client for quite some time. Clever stuff.

    #16 4 years ago
  17. Patrick Garratt

    I’m downloading this now. Amazing.

    #17 4 years ago

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