EA Is Launching Its Own Steam Competitor

This Friday, Electronic Arts will unveil its own take on the popular online PC shopfront Steam, with the launch of a service called Origin.

According to a report on the Wall Street Journal, this service will function much like Steam, as a single store and gaming platform on the PC that will let customers "purchase, download and keep track of" their games.

It's even lifting Steam's social features, and will also feature cross-platform notifications that will "let gamers on a variety of devices broadcast messages to online friends when they defeat online opponents or accomplish other gaming goals."

So I can be eating dinner and an asshole friend message me on my phone saying he scored some mad Dragon Age loot? Wonderful.

A "hypothetical" example of this cross-platform integration would be Battlefield, with EA saying players could rack up experience points on a mobile version of the game that will count towards unlocks on the PC edition.

With the full reveal not due until tomorrow, expect more details (and a better idea of how it'll all work) then. One thing I can say now is, that name? That's one unfortunate brand revival if ever I've seen one.

EA to Test Its Might Online [WSJ]


    Didn't we only just get rid of GFW?

    Boo, hiss.

    I'm quite happy with Steam though, I don't want to have another online storefront with another account and another set of games. I want everything to be together in one place, hopefully all of the EA games will still be available through Steam.

      I don't want another Steam, Ive been using steam since beta and had no problems with it! Don't want another account, another set of games, just want all games in one place, and knowing EA it will most likely be a crappy program. :(

      Yeah its too much effort to track people in different systems.

      Facbook, battle.net and steam + all my consoles are enough for me. i dont need another games/friend list to work with.

    Biased reporting at it's best.

    What, you're afraid of competition for your beloved Gaben?

    Maybe Origin won't be a Hat shop.

      God forbid that Valve creates a completely optional way of helping them provide 5 years (and counting) of free support.

      Biased commenting at it's best :D

    So it'll be the EADM but with a new gui and name?

    I thought they already had the EA download manager... I guess they're converting it more towards game management and social interaction.

    I would probably buy my EA games on there, because odds are most new ones will require Origin to use them, so you'd be using Steam and Origin... Same reason I don't buy GFWL games on Steam anymore, I'm not running 2 sets of DRM to play a game.

      What's wrong with playing a game that uses GFWL on Steam?

      It's quicker to boot Steam and launch a GFWL title through it than it is to launch a GFWL title through their own client.

    I like that hypothetical of racking up some mobile points for the main game but I can't help but thing it isn't going to happen. All in all EA I don't have faith in you because my experience with your websites so far has been weak.

    Still not 100% sure what my EA username/password is because you made me make 3 of them back in the day.

    Hmm, one publisher or many? I think I'll stick with Steam, thanks.

    My only question: will EA games still be overpriced in Australia?

    Eh boring.

    Unless they pull all their EA games from steam, theres no chance i'll be switching. And if they did i would be buying disc based copies anyway since EA loves to rip off australian's as it is.

    I Like having 1 Account with everything in it. There is no need for EA to make a new one. Just wait till they start announcing exclusive EA store only version DLC to get people in on it.

      also kinda explains the current lack of BF3 on steam

        damn, I was hoping I could get BF3 on steam, looks like its not to be.

        I won't be surprised when all new EA games can only be bought on origin or in retail, and need origin to run.

    I'm going to be PISSED if it's mandatory for EA games, or if it means EA won't be selling games through Steam after launch. Although since they only just put The Sims up on Steam a few months ago, seems unlikely.

    Despite being a big fan of steam, I have to say I'm glad to see some more people trying to compete with it. My only concern with EA doing this is that I very much doubt they'll be as sales happy as steam is, which is unfortunate as the sales are what keep me coming back to steam. In fact I'd bet money that we'll just see all of EA's games at the absurdly high prices us Australians have been dealing with for years. Lets hope I'm wrong.

    I'm all for competition but i hope this is not going to become a trend that other publishers will follow.

    The problem with competition in digital distribution of games and the DRM that follows is convolution. It's cool that other services are trying to challenge Steam, but nobody wants to have different accounts all over the place with different friends lists and some such crap. If your EAs and your GFWs innovate enough to be a threat, then the prize will go to whoever can streamline each service.

    Or, worst comes to worst: every major publisher launches their own exclusive digital distribution store.


    If this rubbish is required for BF3 or SW:TOR, EA have just lost hundreds of dollars from me.

    Considering EA's treatment of the PC in recent years I'm going to take the same stance as with Ubisoft - fix it or GT*O, no sale from me (I only recently made an exception for ACII because at $25 I wasn't going to pass up on the White Edition figurine) - start by bringing back all the cut and canceled DLC (Seriously! What happened Burnout Paradise?!... let alone Dead Space 2 and Hot Pursuit), bring down the prices to something sensible, and let me turn all this social and online crap OFF if I want to play single player offline!

    For a company the size and scope of EA, if they can't match Steam for function and stability within 6 months of release, then it wouldn't surprise me if it ends up like Spore all over again! (heck, I'm only a Steam fan of a couple of years now because I never gave Valve a free pass either until long after they had revolutionised digital distribution - and it isn't their fault if publishers screw around with some titles, unlike EA's responsibility...)

    Sorry but when Dawn of War 2 had GFWL and Steam running through it, it got very annoying, very quickly. I basically had to sign into two separate services... just to play campaign! I'm glad it got removed in retribution.

    It better not repeat with this monstrosity from EA

      oh god yes was that annoying.

      i remember buying DoW2 because it released early in australia.

      only to install it and find that Australia had a 4 day wait beyond the actual release since it was a steam mandatory release.

      Only to have GFWL then tell me when it was unlocked that i need the distinct password i had set up for a GFWL account i didn't know i had. And it was refusing to let me make a new one at the time. Spent 2 weeks arguing with some representative to get them to reset the password (since apparently back then they weren't so friendly) :(

    This just seems like a logical progression for EADM to me. With the shift to a more digitally focused market for PC gaming it only makes sense that EA would try and get their product out there through their own means.

    Gamestop purchased Impulse and it probably won't be long before the likes of Ubisofts "Uplay" evolves into something similar and Activision try and take a slice.

    I can understand the complaints and I'm not going to bother with the standard "competition is good" retort but imagine if you actually had ALL your games under one account and password. Lets say over years you accrue 100-200+ games on Steam. Lets then say your account gets stolen.


    At least putting games through several services if one account gets lost, even if you manage to recover it, at least you have the safety net of the other half of your collection being over on service X rather than with the other stuff on Steam.

    Hopefully this will be semi-decent and give Steam the kick in the ass they need to lift their game. I've got probably 90% of my games through Steam and I have to say overall the experience is mediocre at best. They need to take same pointers form GOG.com, and implement at least 1 of the features that customers keep on requesting.

      Such as? I'm pretty content with Steam atm, cant think of anything in particular I'd want added to it. What have people been suggesting?

        Scheduling downloads, allowing downloads to continue in the background when playing single player games, improving the storefront so it's actually recognises your account settings and displays the relevant information for you (prices, age barriers, country restrictions), actual ownership of games (ie, if Steam goes belly up we don't loose all the games we purchased). Just to name a few of my own ones, but just have a look through any of the steam forums to find more and more complaints about the client that are usually mundane and would be simple things to include, but Valve never even responds to, let alone fixes or explains why they can't do something.

          Scheduling downloads? Afaik, no gaming client on PC has that feature because it's a non-issue.

          You can allow downloads to continue in the background.

          Prices and country restrictions are based on your account settings. The age barrier is just a little thing to cover their arse (kind of like ridiculous warnings on tools and such) and as for ownership of the games, Steam/Valve have said many times in the past that "In the unlikely event of the discontinuation of the Steam network, measures are in place to ensure that all users continue to have access to their Steam games"

          you can have downloads in the background while playing a game.

          i think theres a default setting if not, you alt tab out after starting your game and tell them to resume.

          Others would say that a system that is smart enough to stop downloading games when you start playing one is smart because it's not gonna cause lag online, or offline if your SP games uses an evil ubisoft DRM :P

          EA is the cause of regional pricing on their games have you looked at the EA store in its current format it's generally 10 dollars more expensive than steam and it isn't the sales happy beast that steam is

          As for ownership of games you think it would be any different on an EA based system.

          People on forums constantly bitch and so far you haven't bought up a point that the EA store won't have because its an issue of the online store.

      Like what?

      What exactly does Steam lack?

        My guess is that the OP is referring to the fact that GoG won't well games with DRM. Steam needs to do the same thing. All this DRM nonsense is getting out of hand - and before someone says it, I have stopped buying games with draconian DRM. I still haven't bought AssCreed2 for that very reason.

          So what should Steam change? Have it so you don't need to sign into Steam to play the games?

            I'm not sure you were pointing that out to be ironic or what but it can do that already. Sorry if that was your intention :)

          You know that Steam is a DRM program right?
          All its other features are secondary to that.

            sure steam is a DRM program and it's the most unobtrusive their is.

            But GoG's DRM free philosophy is a terrible comparison seeing as they only have one game that was released in the past 4 years. and even it has it's own in game initialisation DRM to ensure that your not multi installing it.

            sure i can install my GoG copy of Baldurs gate 2 a million times.

            But seeing as the files and that, are all still dependant on GoG being operational. They can be lost just the same as people argue they might loose their steam games if steam were to cease functioning

        competition to keep it honest

    I'm all for competition as it usually leads to better prices and options for the consumer. The only thing that worries me is that this will likely lead to Origin and Steam having exclusive retail rights to games, thus splitting up our collections even more than they already may with GOG, Steam, D2D, etc. That would be an inconvenience at best, and at worst consumers may lose a good portion of their library if one forces the other out of the market to close up shop. In that event, I see Steam winning out if any but we'll have to wait and see.

    Sorry for the double post, I must say that I really hope the Origin logo in the story isn't a logo they plan on using, it looks like a splash screen for a third party at the start of an early 90s Nintendo game.

      I think that's pretty much what it is :) (Though my guess would be an early 90's PC game).

      The real logo is in the screenshot at the top?

      ...it IS the splash screen for an early 90's developer...
      Never played system shock, ultima, wing commander...?

    I'm a steam user, I've got 90+ games on it. Why would I want multiple social game networks running on my computer at once? Not that, I want my distribution platform to be uniform because I don't want to run another service just to get to games from a particular publisher.

    I fear EA will pull their (pathetic) support for Steam just to market their games. If this is the case, sorry EA you're aren't getting my money you inflated piece of s#!^...

    SW:TOR is going to be exclusive to Origin for digital download. You can still get a boxed copy and no word on whether that will require and Origin install.

    For than likely they will try and introduce microtransactions for "premium" features like looking at game trailers or messaging friends.

    I seriously don't like that logo.

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