Origin (content delivery)
The home page of the Origin Client
|Initial release||June 3, 2011|
|Stable release||126.96.36.19999 - 227642 - E1-S1-A1-L1|
|Platform||Microsoft Windows, Mac OS X, iOS, Android, Facebook Platform|
|Size||50MB download, expands to 100MB (approx)|
Digital rights management
Origin (formerly EA Store) is a digital distribution, digital rights management system from Electronic Arts that allows users to purchase games on the internet for PC and mobile platforms, and download them with the Origin client (formerly EA Download Manager, EA Downloader and EA Link). Origin for Mac has been available since February 8, 2013.
Origin features social features like profile management, networking with friends with chat and direct game joining along with an in-game overlay, streaming via TwitchTV and sharing of game library and community integration with networking sites like Facebook, Xbox Live, PlayStation Network, and Nintendo Network. Electronic Arts has stated that it wanted Origin to match Valve's Steam service, Origin's leading competitor, by the end of March 2012, by adding cloud game saves, auto-patching, achievements and rewards, and cross-platform releases.
Since Origin's launch, the service has received criticism over EA's practice of suspending or deleting accounts for disputed infractions, suspected monitoring of users' computer activity. Origin users are identified by their unified Origin account, which supersedes an EA account and may be canceled if left unused after 24 months if there are not any premium games on it.[dubious ] According to EA, as of February 2012, Origin has been installed by 9.3 million users.
The Origin store allows users to browse and purchase games for full price from Electronic Arts' catalogs. Instead of receiving a box, disc, or even CD key, purchased software is immediately attached to the user's Origin account and is to be downloaded with the corresponding Origin client.
Origin guarantees download availability forever after purchase, and there is no limit to the number of times a game can be downloaded.
Users may also add certain EA games to their Origin account by using CD keys from retail copies, and digital copies obtained from other digital distribution services. However, the addition of retail keys to Origin is restricted to games from 2009 onwards and older keys will not work even if the game is available on Origin.
The Origin client is self-updating software that allows users to download games, expansion packs, content booster packs and patches from Electronic Arts. It shows the status of components available. The Origin client is designed to be similar to its competitor, Steam. Users can allegedly uninstall the client and the game will still run fine. The predecessor of the Origin client had caused issues with games such as Battlefield 2 and Spore Creature Creator, leading to crashes of a related standalone product.
Electronic Arts also plans to launch the Origin platform for mobile devices (such as iOS devices) and achievements can be synced across both platforms. Scrabble Network will be incorporated into Origin Mobile. These services will be free of charge.
EA Downloader was launched in late 2005. It was replaced by EA Link in November 2006, adding trailers, demos and special content to the content delivery service. In September 2007, it was once again replaced by the combination of EA Store and EA Download Manager. Users purchase from the EA Store website and use the downloadable EADM client to download their games. Games bought via EA Link were downloadable using the EA Download Manager. The store and client was reopened under the Origin name on June 3, 2011.
The digital distribution software was first used to deliver the Battlefield 2: Special Forces expansion pack, and subsequently most EA titles. The biggest product launch on the software is Spore Creature Creator.
EA acquired the trademark Origin when it purchased Origin Systems in 1992. Origin Systems was a major game studio in the 1980s and 1990s, best known for its Ultima, Wing Commander, and Crusader game franchises.
Removal of Crysis 2 from Steam and Origin exclusives
Shortly after the launch of Origin, Crysis 2 was pulled from Steam and appeared on EA's website with an "only on Origin" claim, though it remained available on other distribution services. EA has since stated that Valve removed Crysis 2 due to imposed "business terms" and that "this was not an EA decision or the result of any action by EA."
More recently, Crysis 2: Maximum Edition (a re-release of Crysis 2 with all the DLCs) has been released on Steam, matching EA's story about pulling Crysis 2 due to DLC restraints. Alice: Madness Returns, a title initially released with the "only on Origin" claim (but was also on other services besides Steam), has also since appeared on Steam. EA has confirmed that Battlefield 3 would not be available through Steam, though the game is currently available for purchase on other non-Origin services such as GameFly, Green Man Gaming or GamersGate. However, all versions of Battlefield 3, along with other Origin-enabled games (see below), no matter where it was purchased, must be activated on Origin.
Origin account bans
There have been several instances of EA enforcing such bans for what critics argue are comparatively minor infractions, such as making rude comments in EA or BioWare's official forums or in chat.
During March 2011, a user named "Arno" was banned for allegedly making the comment "Have you sold your souls to the EA devil?" Arno's account was banned for 72 hours which prevented him from playing any of his Origin games. After reporting on the details of the incident, website Rock, Paper, Shotgun received a statement from EA saying that Arno's account ban was a mistake, and that future violations on the forums would not interfere with Origin users' access to their games.
Later during October and November, 2011, one user was banned for posting about teabagging dead players. Another user received a 72-hour account suspension for posting a link to his own network troubleshooting guide in the EA forums. EA interpreted this as a "commercial" link, even though the same link had been posted elsewhere in the forums, and EA's own corporate support site and FAQ. One user was permanently banned for submitting a forum post containing the portmanteau "e-peen," which is slang for "electronic penis."
Accusations of spying
Origin's end-user license agreement (EULA) gives EA permission to collect information about users' computers regardless of its relation to the Origin program itself, including "application usage (including but not limited to successful installation and/or removal), software, software usage and peripheral hardware." Initially, the EULA also contained a passage permitting EA to more explicitly monitor activity as well as to edit or remove material at their discretion. However, this section was removed following an outcry over privacy implications. That outcry was fueled in part by pictures and video captured by several German gamers which showed Origin accessing tax programs and other unrelated software, as well as a report by the news magazine Der Spiegel investigating the allegations. In response to the controversy, EA issued a statement claiming they "do not have access to information such as pictures, documents or personal data, which have nothing to do with the execution of the Origin program on the system of the player, neither will they be collected by us." EA also added a sentence to the EULA stating that they would not "use spyware or install spyware on users' machines," though users must still consent to allowing EA to collect information about their computers.
Situation in Germany
According to reports in German newspapers, the German version of Origin's EULA violates several German laws, mainly laws protecting consumers and users' privacy. According to Thomas Hoeren, a judge and professor for information, telecommunication and media law at the University of Münster, the German version of the EULA is a direct translation of the original without any modifications and its clauses are "null and void".
- Official announcement by Origin.com
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- "PDF E3 2011 Investor Presentation". Electronic Arts. Retrieved 2011-07-10.
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- "Origin Frequently Asked Questions". Electronic Arts. Retrieved 2013-02-20.
- "Origin for mobile FAQs". Electronic Arts. Retrieved 2011-07-10.
- "EA soft-launches Link". GameSpot. Retrieved 2008-07-01.
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- "EA Store". Electronic Arts. Retrieved 2007-07-18.
- "Footnote on EA Link's website". Electronic Arts. Retrieved 2012-08-30. "All your EA Link games will continue to work and can be downloaded again at anytime using the new EA Download Manager"
- "EA Launches PC Digital Delivery Service". GamaSutra. Retrieved 2005-11-11.
- Varney, Allen (2005-10-11). "The Conquest of Origin". The Escapist. Retrieved 2011-04-10.
- McWhertor, Michael (2011-06-14). "Crysis 2 Pulled From Steam, Now Only On EA's Origin". Kotaku. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
- "EA Pulls Crysis 2 PC From Steam, Makes Exclusive To Origin". 2011-06-15. Retrieved 2011-10-03.
- McWhertor, Michael (2011-06-15). "EA Says It Was Valve Who Expelled Crysis 2 From Steam". Kotaku. Retrieved 2011-10-04.
- "Crysis 2 returns to Steam, EA silent on other absences". Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- "Alice: Madness Returns on Steam".
- Klepek, Patrick (2011-06-20). "Crysis 2 Was Removed From Steam Over DLC Distribution Deal". GiantBomb. Retrieved 2012-07-06.
- "Battlefield 3 on GameFly".
- "Battlefield 3 on Green Man Gaming".
- "Battlefield 3 on GamersGate".
- Walker, John (2011-03-11). "EA Forum Bans Can Lock You Out Of Games". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- Walker, John (2011-03-11). "EA Retracts Game Ban For Forum Violation". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- Walker, John (2011-10-14). "EA Forum Bans Are STILL Affecting Games". Rock, Paper, Shotgun. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- "Origin End User License Agreement". Electronic Arts. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- Magrino, Tom (2011-08-24). "EA Origin EULA sparks privacy concerns". GameSpot. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- "Spyware Origin spioniert meine Steuerprogramm-Dateien aus!!!" (in German).
- Lischka, Konrad (2011-10-28). "Spiele-Gigant will Kunden ausspionieren" (in German). Der Spiegel Online. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- Chalk, Andy. "Internet Explodes Over Origin's Invasion of Privacy". Escapist Magazine. Retrieved 2011-08-25.
- Phillips, Tom (2011-11-01). "EA denies spying on Battlefield 3 Origin users". Eurogamer. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- Fletcher, JC (2011-10-26). "EA revises Origin EULA; data collection is still in, collection for marketing is out". Joystiq. Retrieved 2012-02-16.
- Schwenke, Thomas (2011-10-25). "Der Teufel im Vertragsdetail" (in German). GameStar. Retrieved 2011-10-28.