EA launches Facebook-like social network, online games shop Origin

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EA OriginAs other traditional game companies feel the heat from the digital age, EA just threw on a comfy teflon Snuggy. The veteran of video games launched Origin, its response to digital game stores like Steam, DirectDownload and OnLive. EA also made the Origin desktop app available today, where users can buy games--mostly for PC--directly, but that's just the beginning. Origin is also a social network for EA fans and, much like Steam, provides players with their own profiles with which to interact with their fellow EA gamers.

"We're committed to offering consumers direct access to great content and community in a way they have never experienced before," said EA CEO John Riccitiello in a press release. "Today we're launching Origin.com and the Origin beta application. Over time, Origin will grow with new functionality and unique new content that consumers can't get anywhere else."
Origin Store
Players will be able to see what games their friends are playing and later even broadcast messages from within their favorite games. The Origin application is open beta testing right now, but it will eventually be the only place to download EA games directly like Star Wars: The Old Republic and Madden 12. Eventually, Origin will go mobile as well, offering much of the same features that its desktop app does now, but more mobile games like Scrabble and the upcoming mobile edition of Battlefield 3.

Remember when former EA executive Bing Gordon said that EA needed to up its digital game if it wanted to survive? Well, let's just say he probably knew more than he cared to let off. Not to mention that Riccitiello recently expressed his own concerns regarding online games when speaking to Berkeley business graduates. EA will have more information regarding the service at E3 next week, so hang tight.

[Via Joystiq]

[Image Credit: EA]

From what you've heard so far, what do you think of Origin? Will this be what it takes for EA to take the second place spot again as most valuable games company? Sound off in the comments. Add Comment.
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