Watch out, Steam. EA has announced Origin, a direct-to-consumer PC download service that will serve up piping hot content from Electronic Arts and its partners, as well as social features. The service is launching today, and will come out of the gate with more than 150 games. Think of it as a rebooted EA Store with a flashy name.
"Origin is a game service with two fundamental features," said David DeMartini, senior vice president of Global Online at EA. "It's a download service for the very best content from EA and its partners. It also offers a social function which, over time, will connect a player's profile with friends lists and a cross-platform feed that shows what your friends are playing and where."
EA says that in the months ahead, Origin will be the place to download exclusive limited edition copies of EA games, like Battlefield 3 and FIFA 12, as well as content from EA Partners including Alice: Madness Returns and 38 Studios' Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning. Later this year, digital downloads of Star Wars: The Old Republic will be available exclusively on Origin.
Through the Origin beta application, users will be able to find and connect with friends, see what they are playing, and digitally download and play PC games straight from EA. You can visit Origin today and sign up, set up a profile, download the desktop application, and start ordering and pre-ordering the games and content you want.
Sadly, Origin is not a reboot and retooling of the original Origin Systems, creators of classic games like Ultima and Wing Commander, even if it is EA using that name.