The Old Republic To Be Digitally Exclusive To EA's Origin Service
Electronic Arts will be offering digital sales of BioWare's anticipated MMO only through its just-launched online storefront, Origin.
Origin (no apparent relation to the late great development studio that brought us Ultima and much more) replaces EA's old digital retail infrastructure. The service contains social networking features as well as sales via a downloaded application, currently in beta form.
EA can do what it likes, and if the deals are good it will certainly move some units through Origin, but Steam delivers an awful lot of value (friends, matchmaking, server-side save storage, etc.) to users in addition to its constant sales and huge catalog. Other download services like Impulse and GamersGate offer a smaller footprint on your computer by not requiring gamers to run a client program to access their games, and often have great deals on software as well.
EA has a tough row to hoe in order to compete with established digital retail presences, but hopefully Origin will mark a shift toward a business strategy that isn't actively hostile to users like the old EA downloader and online store. Chances of me running a separate program for social networking purposes, however, are slim to none – I've already got several of those, thank you very much.
I'm just hoping that EA doesn't abandon other digital retail channels with the rest of its catalog.
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