I recently got a copy of The Sims 4, but in order to play it I had to make a Origin account, to which prompted me to ask: Well what is Origin? Why do I have to have it, why would I want to have it and more to the point I have had The Sims 4 for a few days and still haven’t installed it. Don’t worry though as I will be playing the Sims 4 to talk about it here on the website soon rather than four years from now… Back to Origin… what is Origin?
Well it’s a digital distribution software (service) “powered by” EA. It’s a place to buy games, keep them in a central location and play them from said location. If the concept sounds familiar well that’s because it is, there are several of these kinds of services you can find scattered throughout the video game industry. However unlike those other services Origin only caters to EA Games. Origin is essentially a re-skinned EA Game Download Manager in an effort to try and compete with the older, or larger digital distribution software/services.
Its almost like it’s in the minor leagues because of it’s limitations or negative factors of which it has several. Its half a digital distribution software/service trying to compete with frankly better services offered else where and is also half like a EA eccentric version of the PlayStation’s Plus or Xbox’s Gold Membership. Now before you completely write this ‘review’ or this article off as a complete bashing of the Origin service. Let me state that there are some interesting things in this service, and some good or deacent bits as well. EA despite the flack it gets from gamers, and will get here, does support a library with some worth while game titles and series.
So let’s get into it. What’s good? Already mentioned is the fact that there are some good titles owned by EA, but EA alone doesn’t compete or can’t when it comes to the number of titles offered else where. In some cases they don’t have too, they own several franchises that were once great, and have their hands in several franchises that are world known in the modern age of gaming, they also have some games offered from other developers, but on a currently very short list, the two biggest are Bioware and Ubisoft.
Now within Origin there is the standard affair of games, demos, and betas. And while that’s expected it has been seen before but in addition to them there are also new or interesting ideas/programs or ‘bits’ as I call them. One of which is a bit they call On the House. I like On the House because you get a game free, but unlike limited time “free borrows” from other services you have to check back frequently to see if they offer a game you don’t yet have and if they do you can download it and add to your library for free and never be charged for it. Just like a restaurant or bar, you have to be there to get the ‘on the house’ free drink…game.
And speaking of limited time borrows, in addition to On the House there is also another bit or program called Game Time. With Game Time you can for one time per game per account borrow a game and play the full version. The time may or may not vary per title but its still the full game, so if you’re a quick learner and gamer you can experience a game for the limited time far more so and in a more intimate way than say a demo. And like On the House, Game Time is also free for the gamer. Currently they are offering Titanfall in Game Time with a duration of 48 hours.
In a normal business effort they also offer both sales, and some free to play games all the time such as Star Wars the Old Republic, Fifa World and also Need for Speed World. But this is where things turn down, the client itself is average at best. Looking for games is a problem, more so when shopping. Out of the 434 offered games, there are only 180 unique titles, and I mean unique different titles. The other 254 “titles” offered, are gold editions of games, DLC or other.
In addition to the Gold editions, DLC, bundles and etc, there are the special edition Origin exclusive versions of the games where in for 5 or more dollars depending on the game will get you added content that allows you to perform better in the game even in multiplayer situations. This fact is such an affront to gamers that actually care about the Gaming Industry. For many game developers and gamers, the Games Industry and the video games that are played aren’t just simply product that can be made via formula and printed out like some cheaply made plastic crappy toy but art. Art that effectively captures emotions, understanding, and can transport a player from the here and now and into a sense/state of familiarity.
[Most things considered pay to win often blatantly shout how a company doesn’t care about you, you’re just a number/statistic statement on their papers and charts. But the industry is a consumer based one and people need to make money to pay for over head, the actual physical copies of games, and being able to work on the next game but when a company tries to squeeze as much money out of you as they can it’s a put off. Video Games are a product but they are also art they are essentially interactive movies, and some try to be like a movie and others fail… Let me be clear and reiterate: there is nothing wrong with telling people to buy your product if you can effective explain why they need it but adding in little things and ways to penny pinch is not only annoying but disrespectful.]
Yes, the industry as a whole is there make video games, accessories and more and money does need to be made but you shouldn’t trivialize the fans or treat it like a formulaic entity. Formulaic movies and novels are often considered to be lacking in art, vision, and creativity why too would video games which is an amalgamation of the two in many aspects also not fall victim to the same considerations.
For some that’s a nitpick for others it’s a serious issue but lets move on. Origin and not just its products offered also falls victim to the robotic feel that many large corporations have when they try and make something that should be more fluid and with sincerity. The interactivity of Origin is almost stiff or rigid but not in a good way. Compared to it’s competitors like Steam, it has less functionality and when you get or buy a game from the service it auto downloads the game and installs it on your computer. You then have to uninstall it after it installs instead of deciding to just add it to your virtual library in order to cut down on space on your hard drive, where as other services allow you to download at your convenience or preference. I already mentioned that searching for games is problematic; I didn’t really explain that it’s due to too many choices without clear explanations as to what the option means. I misconstrued base games; I thought that just meant the original games but to EA and it’s Origin service it means; Base games (Standard Edition), and its Special Edition First Day DLC included type affair called Digital Deluxe Edition.
So the service is stiff, but I do have to admit that visually its more appealing or open than Steam’s as far as color schemes go. But with Steam most games have videos showcasing the game in question by the developers and it doesn’t seem like any of the titles in Origin’s library has videos just pictures. While most of these games you will have seen before or watched trailers of in this day and age you can not go with what the trailers show any more. This maybe something that EA and it’s Origin’s service will eventually alter. Something they probably will never alter is the fact that all the games (PC ones) especially the new games coming out require them to be attached to a Origin account.
Origin service powered by EA offers a miniscule amount of games at this time just 180 different titles. However, as of writing this post this isn’t including all of EA’s games that they have developed and with opportunities of adding games of other developers Origin could grow to at least have a fair share of the digital management software market. Its got issues but then again any service does. It also does some things interestingly or adds newer ideas….It’s worth keeping an eye on it at the very least.
Origin is a service operated and owned by Electronic Arts. All of it’s Logo’s and all of the properties depicted in the screenshots are for editorial purposes to express or add to the critique and not to infringe upon any rights of any right-holders.
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