Electronic Arts’ online distribution hub Origin hasn’t exactly earned the best reputation for user-friendliness since its debut in June of 2011. But that hasn’t stopped EA from requiring several of their major PC offerings (pertaining to both digital and physical copies) to run on the service.
Come March 6, 2012, this is one mandate that even a Mass Effect 3 Spectre won’t be able to circumvent.
In a post on the Bioware forums, Chris Priestly announced that PC copies of Mass Effect 3 will require a one-time Origin authorization for the single player portion of the game and a constant connection to the service for multiplayer access.
The game will also be kept off of the download service Steam - something Priestly went on to diatribe at length:
“During initial release Mass Effect 3 will be available on Origin and a number of other 3rd party digital retailers, but not on Steam at this time. Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to deliver patches and other downloadable content. We are intent on providing Mass Effect to players with the best possible experience no matter where they purchase or play their game, and are happy to partner with any download service that does not restrict our ability to connect directly with our consumers.”
At this juncture, hearing that an EA game requires Origin is about as surprising as hearing that Commander Shepard favors a store on the Citadel. That doesn’t ensconce the fact that the service is a barrier to entry for gamers who care solely about playing the game. Plus, even though Priestly wants to paint other services like Steam in a negative light — his quote is almost verbatim of EA's stance on Dragon Age II — while other publishers like Serious Sam's Devolver Digital have stood in strident support of Valve's distribution client.
Priestly concluded his post by shooting down accusations of Origin being a spyware component and stated that Mass Effect 3 would have an opt-out clause for in-game data collection. These should be no-brainers, but the fact that the question is even being addressed says a lot for consumer perception of the service. That said, the requirement for Mass Effect 3 is a step in the right direction from Battlefield 3's restraints, which demand an ongoing Origin connection throughout 100 percent of the game. Be that as it may, EA has clearly made the decision with Origin to tread heavily on consumer freedom in pursuit of expanding its bottom line.
Ranters, what are your feelings towards Origin and the future of digital downloads for PC titles as a whole?
Mass Effect 3 arrives March 6, 2012 for the PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.
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Source: Bioware Forums