Has EA's Origin Service Improved Any Over the Last Two Years?

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Has EA's Origin Service Improved Any Over the Last Two Years?

After taking a hatchet to the service in a column two years ago, Shamus looks at it again to see if things have gotten any better.

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Time to bury that hatchet, then? :P

I avoided Origin entirely until last year. I was really surprised by how well it ended up working, and I kind of prefer it to Steam in terms of functionality, and have figured that it's only a matter of time before it's accepted as a decent alternative, albeit with a small library.

Also, the Ultimate Sims 2 is the best freebie ever released. Ever.

Its become insane the lengths that users on this very forum will go to find something to bash Origin for, even going so far as to be cynical about free games.

Origins really not that far behind Steam at this point.

But do they still permaban you from the entire service, and lock you out of all your games, if you post a YouTube video of somebody being an asshole in one of their games?

So how big was the paycheck that EA put in your mailbox? ;P

Okay, but seriously, I guess I'll maybe be a little nicer to Origin in the future, but it does still have the problem of being tied to EA, and EA has done very little over the past couple of years to make me willing to welcome them onto my computer with open arms. Maybe I'll get over my prejudice enough to start-up an Origin account to check-out Titanfall, but at the same time it seems that now that the game is out EA is done marketing it and the game has seemingly died. Maybe there's a vibrant community, but I don't really know. EA is EA, and that means that Titanfall might as well not exist now that it's past it's milking stage. And there-in lies the main problem with Origin being tied to EA... it's virtually impossible to talk about anything related to them without it degrading into griping about their business strategies, and that's just not a company I want to throw money at.

Are you enjoying the free copy of SecuROM that came with The Sims 2? Or has that already been fixed?

Why are the technical issues 4th on the list? I know it's not intended to be ranked, and I agree that EA is actually doing some cool things, especially allowing for game returns and giving away games for free, but all of that would be meaningless if they hadn't significantly improved on the actual functionality of the software. Runonsentence! From what was described it sounds like they've done well at getting it to parity with Steam, but I still hear horror stories.

Edit:

Clovus:
Are you enjoying the free copy of SecuROM that came with The Sims 2? Or has that already been fixed?

Wait, that was the DRM for Sims 2? Even free is too high a price for Sims 2 if that's still part of the package.

Still want nothing to do with it. I have Steam. I have Battle.net. Game makers are all trying to have their hand at having their own client and/or DRM, and I want nothing to do with supporting it.

And they still didn't manage to offer a way to backup any games without jumping through massive hoops.

Yeah, but the biggest problem still remains: that Origin isn't so much of a service, but a DRM for a lot of games published by EA, and you don't have the option to use the game without it. If they could have the balls to take the final step and make Origin and optional thingy, then I'd be fine with it. Until then, it will remain what it has always been, albeit an improved version of it: an annoyance you can't get rid of... legally.

Well gosh, they put somebody with a clue in charge of Origin and now even Shamus likes it?!? Hopefully EA fires that nutbar and jerks the reins in the opposite direction as soon as possible before they lose their title.

I would sorely miss having EA as my go-to example of what is wrong with big dumb dinosaur companies these days, but even if I got over that, Simshitty 2013, Battlefield 4, and Dungeon Keeper weren't that long ago, so no, no optimism from me, just slightly less pessimism.

This is absolutely a step in the right direction, but they could start stumbling back the other direction any second.

And I'm gonna need a better bribe than the Sims 2.

short answer: no

Long answer: no, but they have given some games away free... so there is that...

Holythirteen:

And I'm gonna need a better bribe than the Sims 2.

Honestly, their service is legitimately fine these days. While it has fewer features than Steam, they are features that I quite literally don't care even slightly about (the trading card thing comes to mind here). Most of the time, the prices are comparable and it isn't any more offensive to run the Origin client than Steam (a departure from when the service was launched).

In short, it is just fine as a platform that to date has given me two free games (Peggle and Sims 2). There might have been others that I failed to notice but that's still better than Steam where the only free games offered are F2P.

I mean, you're free to continue hating EA for their transgressions. Right now though Origin probably shouldn't be counted among them. Of course, if you hold those transgressions against them, the catalog of stuff you can't get elsewhere shrinks considerably :P

The article did not address the biggest reason for why lost of people myself included don't want to use Origin: The lack of trust in EA.

I don't want origin on my pc because I don't trust EA as a company. I don't have that problem with valve.

While I don't foresee myself making an Origin account in the forseeable future, I must say I'm happy to hear they're at least moving away from being godawful.

Mostly because Steam users stand to gain if Steam actually faces some honest competition.

Origin wasn't really on my map until the Humble Origin Bundle. With that I created an account and got a few free games like Battlefield 3 and Dead Space 3 in the last year. I don't see what the big hubbub is about. Origin as a service is completely fine.

dakkster:
Origin wasn't really on my map until the Humble Origin Bundle. With that I created an account and got a few free games like Battlefield 3 and Dead Space 3 in the last year. I don't see what the big hubbub is about. Origin as a service is completely fine.

I have to agree. Though I've had a few technical issues, I've gained a fairly neutral stance on the system overall, and so far my whole library has been the games on the Origin Bundle and every free give away they've had so far. Plus Battlefield 1942 because that's the best Battlefield.

I did pick up one Origin bundle. They were offering all the Command and Conquer games for something like $10. For a fan who goes way back to the beginning of that franchise, that's a hell of a deal. Not only in price, but in convenience. Having them all under the one singular client, all able to run without fuddling about in a dozen settings menus or having to setup the right emulators for the older games. It was worth the cost.

I also like that they have Twitch streaming built right into the client without a need for a third party software. It's not ideal given that I don't use the Origin client very often, but it's nice to know it's there if I want to bust out some sick combos in Arkham City or if I decide to share my sick base-building C&C skills with the rest of the world.

It just burns every time I think of the reason I originally downloaded Origin. Sim City. It burns us in our soulsssssses.

Origin still falls flat to me on principle the idea of "The EA monopoly store" whist throwing their toys out of the pram and refusing to work in a competitive enviroment still irks me. Origin, through it's many improvements, is still "That service that keeps games i want prisoner". It's still a service meant to keep a monolithic grip on their PC titles and their prices; a kick in the dick to an open platform.

Valve has done a great thing by making Steam "The Games store" and making it clear all are welcome (for better or for worse) Origin is still "That EA store" and has yet to really move beyond that. That's the difference. Steam is a service many want to use for many reasons, Origin is something we at best tolerate.

And yes it has improved but it's gone from "Many layers of awful" to "Fewer layers of awful". The state in launched in was insulting and gross, i couldn't think of a way to make a digital dist platform more unappealing.

They're giving away a lot of free games. I got Battlefield 3 and Plants vs. Zombies for free; I also got all the Dead Space titles for something like 75% off.

Origin will likely be the only place to get Dragon Age Inquisition, so I predict another influx of new users.

I was wondering if Origin had gotten any better just recently. I might end up getting an account for the odd EA game but otherwise Steams been nothing but good to me so I see no reason to leave.

At least with Origin, I can be guaranteed that everything on there sorta resembles a game, unlike Steam.

I will care about Origin the day EA sells it off.

My aversion to the platform has nothing to do with it's technical capabilities and everything to do with who runs it.

What in EA's history makes you want to trust them with your digital library? The history of EA is a series of one anti-consumer move after another. A history of buying once great IP's and studios and running them into the ground. A history or braindead executives concocting scheme after scheme to wring every nickel out of you by any means necessary. A history of chasing quarterly profits at the expense of any long term strategy to build customer loyalty.

You think EA is changing by giving out 10 year games and allowing returns? Then your not paying attention. This is what EA does when it knows its losing. The moment EA thinks it's got any sort of momentum in the PC space it will "phase out" those programs.

Now tell me again why I should support this kind of blatant abuse of its customers when I can buy from any of the THOUSANDS of other devs that wont pull this kind of BS.

Once again I am not knocking the technical aspect. Origin may be better and EA does make some fun games. But the are so many other fun games out there from much better companies.

I haven't bought an EA game in 3 years, I don't expect I ever will again.

No matter how decent Origin becomes, it's still just DRM for EA games which are still pretty awful. They only seem to be getting worse, too.

Meh, don't care.

Haven't bought an EA game in years, and I'm not really planning to in the near future. I also am happy with Steam.

So, all in all, don't really need Origin.

Gailim:
*snip*

^Entirely that.

Some will call it petty, I call it prudent.
I haven't bought a single EA game since late 07', and that has saved me a lot of grief.

The one thing I will add is that all improvements to Origin only exist because Steam demonstrates just how powerful and important the PC game market is; where previously EA treated PC as a DRM testbed only worthy of half-assed ports.

Should they ever meet parity (or heaven forbid, exceed) Steam, I would expect the quality of service to plummet, because that's what EA does with everything they own; purchase, repurpose, and pump until the profit well runs dry.

Caveat emptor.

I have to admit, I now consider Origin a viable source of games. Previously I had it only because I had to but now I check it once a week just like the other services (Steam, Gog, HumbleBundle and now, Origin).

EDIT: I think I had one of the creepiest Captcha's ever.

For me it's a security thing.

Remember when Origin first came out, and there was all that scandal about the thing being designed to deep-data mine your PC? Then EA changed the EULA, and their defenders were all "IT'S COOL NOW, EVERYONE: THEY CHANGED IT!"

...Except they didn't change the software, they just changed the EULA terms. The actual software was still fully built to allow its masters to rummage around in your system at will, should they ever choose to.

You can say "EA isn't interested in your porn archive, dude", and I think that's true. I'm willing to believe they won't abuse that software ability, though not willing to disbelieve that they will, if you see what I mean. I don't trust them not to cheat, because all large organizations inevitably only have a "will I get caught?" concept of ethics, but I trust that they may not care enough to try.

...HOWEVER, at the time Origin came out, there were articles floating around by people who'd looked at the Origin client coding, and testified that it was a horrifying clusterfuck of lowest bidder sloppiness. And not long before Origin's debut there was the big PSN and Steam hacking incidents.

What this added up to in my mind was that regardless of EAs own intentions with the software, the first black hat to have a successful go at Origin a la the PSN incident would find himself sitting atop the proverbial Big Rock Candy Mountain, and everyone with a client installed would be fucked like they haven't been since grade school.

When people say that Origin is fine now, they're talking about using Origin being fine. But no matter how hassle free it might become for the gamer, I still feel like I shouldn't trust it 'til after it's had a hacking scandal of its own. Unfortunately, EA does not at all have a good track record for either due diligence or customer respect, so until they're forced to make a public show of ensuring their security is up to snuff, trusting Origin to be more secure than a wet cardboard box seems ill advised.

Reading through the EA/Origin forum thread linked in the article didn't assuage my concerns at all. Firstly, it was mostly talk of what the EULA allowed and not what the software was capable of or whether the software had been changed. Secondly, the resident community manager's "STFU, u R just rong" tone in replying to peoples issues and questions doesn't make me feel any better about their customer regard.

*EDIT* Also I have to point out that in the US not being allowed to return movies or CDs if the package seal has been broken is still VERY much the norm. Not that that effects the argument being made.

Shamus Young:
Has EA's Origin Service Improved Any Over the Last Two Years?

After taking a hatchet to the service in a column two years ago, Shamus looks at it again to see if things have gotten any better.

Read Full Article

Another nice thing is that with some of the older games, once you've installed them you don't need to open Origin to play, you can directly open the game without needing to worry about loading up the platform first. Sims 2 works just fine without Origin running, which is an advantage IMO over Steam as well.
I've no issue with Origin, never have and I get better download speeds than from Steam on a regular basis. (of course I'm speaking from continental US-centric POV so take that as you will).

Origin offers refunds now, right? I would call that an improvement over itself and it's competition. They are also giving away free games and that is something Steam does not do. Download speeds on both Steam and Origin are good and I haven't compared the two to see which is faster.

Brennan:
For me it's a security thing.

Remember when Origin first came out, and there was all that scandal about the thing being designed to deep-data mine your PC? Then EA changed the EULA, and their defenders were all "IT'S COOL NOW, EVERYONE: THEY CHANGED IT!"

...Except they didn't change the software, they just changed the EULA terms. The actual software was still fully built to allow its masters to rummage around in your system at will, should they ever choose to.

This myth isn't true. Just read this as it explains what's going on: http://www.reddit.com/r/pcmasterrace/comments/2as6ba/origin_isnt_really_snooping_files/

This was also the case several years ago when people posted screenshots of Origin "accessing" some German guy's tax software. It wasn't Origin snooping, it was some unrelated Windows API call. I'd fetch a link to that too, but it's buried so deep in reddit that I can't find it anymore.

I completely understand the EULA thing since that was pure bullshit but even back then, Origin wasn't designed to spy on you...yet. If the EULA had gone unnoticed, then it's possible EA would've started actually spying on you after patching Origin to do so. The EULA was changed though, so EA can no longer reprogram Origin do that if that was ever its plan.

TL;DR: Origin was never designed to spy on you. Had the EULA not been changed, then EA might've modified Origin to do so in a future patch. It was changed though, so Origin remains in its original harmless form.

WeepingAngels:
Origin offers refunds now, right? I would call that an improvement over itself and it's competition. They are also giving away free games as that is something Steam does not do. Download speeds on both Steam and Origin are good and I haven't compared the two to see which is faster.

Download speeds seem to vary from person to person. I know for me Origin downloads things far faster than Steam ever has. I downloaded the entirety of Mass Effect 3, Battlefield 3 and Battlefield 3 DLC in less than an hour. It still takes Steam 40 minutes just to download and install Dragon Age Origins. Heck, Sims 2 complete collection took all of 7 minutes. Took Steam just as long to download friggin Fate of the World.

On topic!

I rather like Origin honestly. It's game browser isn't a gigantic pile of shit like Steam's. Its download speeds are phenomenal. It doesn't require itself to be on to play any of the older games you buy from it and I don't mean you can just go offline, I mean you can outright shut off Origin or just load up the exe on its own and Origin doesn't start. It has a refund policy that's a tad restrictive compared to Amazon, but also extremely easy to use. On top of that, free games! Plants vs Zombies, Peggle, and Battlefield 3 are mine and I didn't pay a dime for them.

Plus, aesthetically its so much better than Steam. The interface is wonderfully easy to use and pleasing to the eyes without needing to modify anything.

Well, no one uses it, so the downloads are fast. As for prices, last I checked, new releases were still more expensive than physical copies even when you include shipping.

Not good enough. I still say fuck Origin.

Scrumpmonkey:
Origin still falls flat to me on principle the idea of "The EA monopoly store" whist throwing their toys out of the pram and refusing to work in a competitive enviroment still irks me. Origin, through it's many improvements, is still "That service that keeps games i want prisoner". It's still a service meant to keep a monolithic grip on their PC titles and their prices; a kick in the dick to an open platform.

...But that's exactly what steam is doing with their games. You can't pat Valve on the head with one hand and then backhand EA with the same hand. Valve games are exclusively locked to steam, they aren't available through other digital platforms. Heck it was the original complaint about Steam.

Klaw117:
This myth isn't true. Just read this as it explains what's going on: http://www.reddit.com/r/pcmasterrace/comments/2as6ba/origin_isnt_really_snooping_files/

This was also the case several years ago when people posted screenshots of Origin "accessing" some German guy's tax software. It wasn't Origin snooping, it was some unrelated Windows API call. I'd fetch a link to that too, but it's buried so deep in reddit that I can't find it anymore.

That's just a single example of suspicious behavior being debunked. It does nothing to debunk the "myth" of Origin being able to spy in general, as there are many different types and means of spying.

Klaw117:

I completely understand the EULA thing since that was pure bullshit but even back then, Origin wasn't designed to spy on you...yet. If the EULA had gone unnoticed, then it's possible EA would've started actually spying on you after patching Origin to do so. The EULA was changed though, so EA can no longer reprogram Origin do that if that was ever its plan.

TL;DR: Origin was never designed to spy on you. Had the EULA not been changed, then EA might've modified Origin to do so in a future patch. It was changed though, so Origin remains in its original harmless form.

Source? The original EULA explicitly laid out the intent to spy, strongly implying the software was already designed for such. If I'm going to make a security decision based on whether or not that ability was already present, or merely roadmapped for a future update that never happened, I need real info. Without that all the above is just random hearsay, making the more conservative call the better gamble.

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