Origin, if you’re not familiar with it, is EA’s digital store, its equivalent to Steam. And there were certainly some folks who didn’t buy Battlefield 3 due to this, not being happy with having to install another application to bloat up their PC, particularly not Origin.
The service is still a relatively new platform and has caused some issues, such as faulty initial downloads, or the game being broken by a patch or DLC, and the user having to download the (huge) game again.
Even those who purchase a boxed copy will need to sign up and install Origin in order to be able to play.
Origin is used for the authorisation system, acting as an anti-piracy measure for EA.
You also have to be constantly connected to the net when playing an Origin game, which can cause problems for some, for example if wanting to play when on the move with your laptop.
Some have even labelled Origin spyware, although Bioware strenuously denied this in a post on the official Mass Effect 3 forum.
Chris Priestly said: “Origin is not spyware, and does not use or install spyware on user’s machines. In order to allow Origin to install games and their patches for everyone to use, Origin implements a permission change that results in Windows, not Origin, reviewing the filenames in the ProgramData/Origin folder.”
“This is an ordinary Windows function, not an information-gathering process.”
How much this will impact PC sales is unclear, but you can bet it will harm them somewhat. However, overall sales are so focused on consoles that the damage will be very limited, and some PC users may just decide to purchase the Xbox/PS3 version instead.
Mass Effect 3 won’t be on Steam, incidentally, with the dispute between them and EA still ongoing regarding implementing patches and DLC. It will surface on other third party digital distribution platforms, though.
Mass Effect 3 is due out in March, and going forward, we expect all major EA titles will have Origin as a compulsory requirement on the PC.