Electronic Arts takes on OnLive and Steam

EA launches new game download service called Origin
EA launches new game download service called Origin

Mega-publisher EA is now readying a new digital distribution service to take on the might of Valve's hugely popular Steam in the world of PC gaming.

Expect lots more on this from E3 2011 next week, but for now what we do know is that the service is set to be called "Origin" and will allow EA's customers to "purchase, download and keep track of their games."

EA certainly have their work cut out for them, with Tom Francis, staff writer over on PC Gamer, reminding us that: "Most hardcore PC gamers already use Valve's rival service, Steam, and don't want to have their game collections split between multiple services.

"EA's catalogue is huge, though, so there's a scary potential for them to make major games exclusive to Origin. I'd much rather see them compete by offering a better service."

Anybody like Star Wars?

EA's Origin may well launch with around 150 titles on offer including the new Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO. Again, expect a slew of new information and screens on that particular AAA-title from E3 next week.

"Facebook-like social features," are (somewhat unsurprisingly) being touted as a major aspect of EA's new games download service.

The Wall Street Journal claims that EA plans are currently in test stage, but an official announcement to consumers is imminent.

That sound? That was the sound of a million high street games retailers sighing…

Origin vs Steam vs OnLive

Whether or not EA's Origin can successfully take on market leader Valve, who's Steam service rules the roost in PC gaming, as well as new upstarts such as cloud-gaming streaming services like OnLive remains to be seen. Tellingly, EA has not licensed its games to OnLive.

EA's digital game revenues were $833 million of a total of $3.8 billion in revenues for the fiscal year ending March 31 2011 and the company hopes to take that past the $1 billion landmark this year.

Via Venturebeat.com

Adam Hartley