What’s The Deal With EA’s Origin & Is It Really That Bad?

Tim Brookes 20-10-2011

ea originThere’s been a plenty of uproar, whinging and general dismay at EA’s decision to combine their online store and download client into one “Steam-beating” package: Origin.


Forgive me for noticing, but EA are probably not the most well-regarded publisher out there and it seems the launch of Origin hasn’t helped their name at all. Designed as a direct competitor to Valve’s Steam, Origin launched in June as a rebranded EA Download Manager, previously used to download digital copies from the company’s online store.

Since its announcement the software has been on the receiving end of bad press, much of it from disgruntled gamers on forums, message boards and social networks. Is it time to shut up, or put up?

Note: If you’re specifically interested in EA’s subscription service, check out everything you need to know about the Origin Access membership plan by EA.

EA’s Point of View

According to Forbes magazine, Valve offer a 70% gross margin (that’s revenue before other costs) to third-party publishers wishing to sell their products via Steam. This means Valve lap up 30% for their part, which is all but done – establishing, maturing and maintaining a content delivery system is no easy task, and Steam has been in development since 2002.

ea origin


Comparably, retail games carry a typical gross margin of 30% with everyone from the delivery boy to the retailer wanting a share of the profits. Steam quite literally reverses the figures – making a 30% cut look pretty reasonable (which is also in-line with Apple’s 30% of all app and in-app purchases).

Clearly, EA are a big company who regularly turn out some of the biggest releases, with massive franchises like FIFA, The Sims, Need for Speed and Battlefield under their belt. This year’s big release is Battlefield 3 The 5 Best Battlefield 3 Websites For Up To The Minute Information Battlefield 3 is being hyped as the Call of Duty killer. That is no small task considering that Call of Duty is one of the biggest selling video game franchises ever. Still, Battlefield has been... Read More , and it’s caused quite a stink amongst PC gamers.

What’s The Deal With EA's Origin & Is It Really That Bad? bf3

Battlefield 3 is not only set to be an incredible feat of games engineering but also a real money-spinner for EA. Steam will not get Battlefield 3 – despite the previous release (Bad Company 2) calling the platform its home.


The game is listed as being available on similar, smaller services (like Direct2Drive) but the main platform will be Origin – that’s right, EA stands to make a full 100% from their own delivery platform. That’s fair enough, right? Sure. So why might gamers be displeased with this decision?

The Gamer’s Point of View

If you’re at all serious about your PC gaming, chances are you’ve got Steam. Why? Because there are new releases every week, an unthinkably huge catalog of both retail and indie games and awesome weekly offers for those who love a good bargain The 5 Best Games On Steam For 5 Bucks Each Gaming can be an expensive hobby. A new, high-profile PC game is $50 or $60, and although it might provide countless hours of enjoyment, there’s also the chance you’ll beat the single player in 6... Read More .

It took a while, but Steam is a great way to communicate with friends, meet new gamers and generally get your entrails handed to you at 5am on a German server. Back in the day Steam was often suffixed with “-ing pile of…” for all the right reasons – but now, we’ve got a decent platform and many of us have built up quite a catalog over the last 9 years.

ea origin review


Except now you’ve got to install another store. Then it’s time to find all your friends again – you know, like the friends you regularly play with on Steam. Indeed, inconvenience is the main reason many dislike Origin. Another piece of software to run, another account to register, another service that requires personal information – all without the catalog, user base and mature system that Valve have got going on.

ea origin review

All for that extra 30%, remember!

So What About Origin?

Origin itself is still beta software, so to pass judgement at such an early stage would be unfair. Clearly there are still kinks that need ironing out, but the platform has been out in the wild since June and had over 4 million downloads.


ea origin review

Naturally at such an early stage the games just aren’t there. Aside from a demo of The Sims 3 and the new Pets expansion, I couldn’t really find anything to download for free and even EA’s own free-to-play titles don’t use Origin, and launch in a new browser window. This is a stark contrast to Steam which is littered with cracking downloadable freebies like Team Fortress 2 A Selection Of The Best Free-To-Play Steam Games Content delivery service Steam is a real money-spinner for Valve, prompting publishers like EA to shy away from it in pursuit of their own system. That doesn’t mean there aren’t a couple of free gems... Read More .

ea origin

Valve also have a reputation for encouraging, hosting and promoting third party mods 4 Free Online Multiplayer Source Engine Mods For Half-Life 2 Read More , and there are plenty of these available on Steam (most now work even without Half-Life 2 if you download Team Fortress 2). EA has a history of making poor decisions when it comes to the modding community, including dubbing the new Frostbite 2 engine “too complex” for modders, so don’t expect too much of that on Origin.

EA does plan on tempting third-party publishers over to the new platform, but how many are set to be swayed remains to be seen.


Origin isn’t terrible, but it doesn’t really offer gamers anything new. From an end-user standpoint this is just another piece of middleware, sitting between the internet and your purchases. For EA the move makes more sense, and with all new boxed retail games installing Origin the number of users is naturally going to climb.

Still, it might take a few innovative features and some well-priced bargains in order to build-up a community that’s even half as vibrant as Valve’s. It is said that competition is not only good for business, but good for consumers – so in that light; what do you think about Origin?

Have you installed Origin yet? Will you be buying Battlefield 3 (PC)? Disgruntled? Nonplussed? Have your say in the comments.

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  1. Martin
    April 12, 2018 at 1:41 pm

    I was forced into using Origin when I purchased Starwars battlefront and subsequent titles FIFA17 and Battelfield 1, unfortunatly none of these were available on other platforms such as Steam or GOG. So I installed ORIGIN and waited 2 days for Battlefield 1 to install from the server even though I had it on DVD they insisted on updated the full game (NO patches on EA Origin) at just over 200kb to there servers no amount of techincal support or reinstalling origin UOTRACES ever speeded this slow server experience out (18months with them now and still no fix for a slow game update still takes 1-2 days for updates to be completed), it is the same for all games on ORIGIN (ISP speed is 100MB effective 60MB) Steam platform has no real issue and updates games within 30-40 minutes (2 days for ORIGIN) the whole experience means I will never again by another EA title unless its available on another platform

  2. Steve
    March 6, 2018 at 11:37 pm

    I also have grown to loath Origin. I'm not your typical gamer - I'm old and dipping my toes into gaming. I do use Steam. In comparison, the Origin software is unbelievably frustrating. It initially wouldn't install run on my PC but when I did manage that it crashes - every time. Tickets to Origin - an adventure in its own right - produced garbage until finally, it transpired that my screen resolution is too good, and all I had to do was to downgrade my resolution! And there I was, thinking that games were the leading edge and driving the hardware market. My Dell UP3216Q running at its native resolution, driven by a GTX 1070, is too much for poor Origin. Origin support staff - clearly as frustrated as I am - have suggested backdoor routes to try and draw attention to this issue. I have to reduce the scaling if I want to play their games!!! Short answer - I've wasted money on games from a second rate company and will never, ever buy anything from them. But really, this is the sign of a company more interested in maximising profit than providing a platform.

  3. Greenhat
    January 11, 2018 at 3:22 am

    I agree with everyone else. It's 2018 and origin sucks so bad I had to google "why does origin suck so bad" to see what others were saying so I would know it wasn't jump me being dumb all these years. Nope, it's not me at all. I only had origin bc when I bought the C&C collection "hard copy" it was just a box with a poster and steam codes. WTF. EA sucks so hard that if they were prostitutes they'd be the highest grossing prostitute in the world. EA ruins everything they touch and constant up/password change demanding/never runs right EA origin is just the icing on the cake for how crappy EA is.

  4. Hellucard
    August 30, 2017 at 2:59 pm

    In order to play a game wich you have brought. You need to update the platform in every 3 days. Most of those updates does not work. So origins does not let you play a game. Saying go f your self because you cannot update it.

  5. GamerGawd
    June 8, 2017 at 11:59 pm

    I've got about 6 different gaming systems like Steam, UPlay, and to name a few and of them all, Origin is the absolute worst. Downloads are slow as hell and I have to kill the app process and restart it at least once every time I use it. Garbage.

  6. Kelly
    April 2, 2017 at 5:21 pm

    I have had the worst experiences with installing games through origins but I have finally learnt my lesson: DON'T BUY THROUGH ORIGINS. I will just buy all ea games hard copy instead. Piece of crap!

    • Tim Brookes
      April 4, 2017 at 3:02 am

      What about when EA just start putting Origin codes in their physical boxes? ;)

  7. Sambuca
    February 6, 2017 at 1:22 am

    The uninstaller is BAAAAAAAAAD.

    beware of accidentally placing it at the root of say.... eg C:\Program Files (x86) .... if u uninstall origin... it will... and ill say it again... it will _DELETE_ your Program Files (x86) FOLDER!!!!!!!!

    wtf origin? L2 have your installer create it OWN personal FOLDER!! in order to prevent mishaps... not hard to do... like common

  8. Tim Brookes
    January 5, 2017 at 2:57 am

    It's disappointing to read (but entirely unsurprising) that nearly 6 years after first writing this article there are still massive problems with the Origin service. I mean I wrote this when Battlefield 3 was coming out, and we've had BF4 and BF1 since then.

    Keep telling us what your biggest issues with Origin are, we may have to take another look at it.

    • Dale
      January 19, 2017 at 2:10 am

      Still no bandwidth throttle. Really? Today? Even Ubi's store has that (and that prog is nothing to write home about). Many have complained about the lack of this feature, but obviously EA just doesn't care what it's customers think. How are they even still in business with an attitude like that?

      Someone below mentioned Microsoft's new delivery system. How could you ever trust them? Just look at their history with both gaming and music delivery. History has plainly shown that buying anything digitally through Microsoft is a sure way to lose your investment. Additionally, how could you ever trust a company that pushes it's most well known product (Windows) with malware tactics? (The Windows 10 debacle)

  9. a
    November 20, 2016 at 9:46 pm

    origin sucks bought one game from them wont be buying anymore first off before I tried to play the game I had to create an account for what I don't know since I will never use it and after I created the account the game still didn't play.
    secondly I know cant even close the account because ea/origin has the worst customer service which means no way to contact them
    third the game I had dragon age inquisition couldn't run on my windows 10
    ea/bio don't know what they are doing so stick to xbox

  10. mitchell Myrick
    October 25, 2016 at 1:11 am

    Origin isn't terrible? Have you actually used it? Or did you just download it and look around to write an article on Origin. It absolutely is a terrible program, frequent crashes, and hiccups in the program make it near unusable. I've had to reinstall the program 4 times because the launcher will be recognized as a background program thats still running but inaccessible. Purchase a game, and the launcher gets stuck on initializing the download. This is rank amateur trash program bring shilled by one of the industry publication giants because they were too greedy to let steam, but they have no interest in improving Origin or using their position as a massive developer with a digital distribution service to facilitate and help small developers that could be listed on their service. EA really epitomizes everything wrong with the industry. It should be noted that Origin wont last long and EA titles will move to Microsofts Xbox PC mashup market when that's more refined.

  11. NoneYaBiz
    September 20, 2016 at 3:40 pm

    Origin has many problems that need ironing out. It has issues launching and if you try to contact troubleshooting they connect you with somebody that can barely speak English and probably has no idea what your even talking about. Then all they do is direct you to a forum for other players with the same issues, which in my opinion solves nothing. Steam on the other hand always launches without any issues. Every game I've ever bought off of steam WORKS and therefore I've never needed to contact their troubleshooting department... Origin has very few games but it does have a few good ones...if you can get them to launch which in my experience they don't always want to launch. So good luck!

  12. Nikoli
    July 15, 2016 at 4:54 pm

    Origin is trash. I bought the Dragon Age Origins Ultimate Edition pack 3 years ago from Origin, and have been pirating the game ever since. Why? Because none of the DLC I PAID FOR is available to me through origin, unless I buy it again. The coders for Origin are either under-trained garbage, or they simply don't care. Steam has never given me such issues, and when Steam HAS given issue, they refund the game - A concept foreign to shit-tier Origin.

    0/10 would never use

  13. Eldars
    April 25, 2016 at 11:27 am

    Worst platform on the entire world,slow,bugged,NotResponding gotta restart every time I paly BF3.4. Terrible performance EA,just Terrible. 1/10

    April 9, 2016 at 4:35 pm

    terrible decision EA, will not play your games anymore... A shame!!!

  15. asdf
    March 5, 2016 at 6:28 am

    Origin is a hot pile of garbage

  16. JAN
    December 14, 2015 at 5:05 pm

    I hate Origin with a vengeance. It will send me e-mails wanting me to buy stuff (mainly the Sims4), then when I try to log in it can't verify my e-mail address. I tried to download the demo of the Sims 4 and after 2 hours I said to myself "If it can't download a demo then there is no way I will ever be purchasing a game from Origin". I know how long it takes for my Sims3 games to install with an efficient EA download manager, the longest being the patch to 1.67 which takes 50 mins approx.

    I uninstall Origin now as there is no way in hell that I want this sub-standard application on my laptop.

    The one good thing about Origin with windows 10 is that it has an error reporting section. I made full use of that before I uninstalled Origin

  17. Montag
    November 25, 2015 at 6:03 pm

    1. Steam wasn't a "-ing pile of..." back in the day.
    It was a huge bummer that in order to play the Half Life franchise without it we had to use a tricky workaround, but Steam wasn’t that bad, not as bad as Origin).

    2. The flaw is less with Origin and more with EA as a whole.
    It is very clear that EA is not interested in customer relations. Go on their forums, especially the ones with negative reviews. The response from it’s employees is usually negative instead of trying to figure out what the REAL grievance is and then fixing it. Of these that I’ve come across, the employees or mods that were the responders no longer work for EA (coincidence??). Also look at the LANGUAGE they use on their website, including (un)installation instructions. It’s a language of people focused on business, not on their customers or understanding their customers, which is actually backwards of how successful businesses work: focus on the customers and you will be successful.

    If they were really interested in taking care of their customers they would have ditched Origin and paid a small amount to have their games on Steam or not used a game/download manager.

    As you said, EA is not the most well-regarded publisher. They could change that by changing how they deal with their customers, period.

  18. Anonymous
    October 12, 2015 at 4:01 am

    Why has everything become so complicated, I just wanted to try star wars battlefront beta not get tangled up in this origin nonsense. Never heard of it and really don't want it sounds more like a virus. Remember the good old days you put the floppy in the drive you run the game you play the game no installing no hassle with nosey apps.

    Debating if it can be totally contained and isolated in a clean vm where whatever snooping EA does is limited to the vm and only while it's running hmm. Setting up hot swapping and a dedicated drive for games would be ideal but not for all in one pc's nice not having a tower but not so great on upgrade options.

  19. Anonymous
    September 24, 2015 at 2:53 am

    I'm done with origin, any future games that need origin to run will not be installed on my pc. Origin is a waste of space and time. I will not purchase any games that need origin to run, and many other people I'm sure feel the same way... So to any game producers out there, if you want to use Origin your welcoming less business and i sincerely hope you go out of business, because this is not how Pc gaming should look.

  20. Kelsey
    April 18, 2015 at 3:24 am

    I hate origin with a passion. It gave me problems ever since I started using it. I first bought the sims 3 and I played it twice because origin keeps telling me I need to be "online." I am already online but the dam site is just stupid. I read reviews and many people are having the same problem as me were there trying to download or play a game and they can't because of origin problems. It's definitely not my computer and it has to be the stupid origin site. I hate it! I am very anger I just bought the sims 4 and can't even play it. EA needs to fix this stupid problem ????

    • Tim Brookes
      April 20, 2015 at 1:32 am

      Really sorry to hear that you're having these problems Kelsey, EA's obsession with people being online stems from the issue of piracy that plagues the PC world. The problem is that publishers like EA are harming legitimate customers such as yourself with their overbearing "protections" which will probably be circumvented in the end anyway.

      You have a right to the product you have purchased so I recommend you keep bugging EA until they get back to you. The more people that put the pressure on, the better.

      Good luck!

  21. Anonymous
    February 19, 2015 at 10:45 pm

    ORIGIN Sucks!!

  22. Michael
    January 18, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    EA origins still wont take payment methods. My payment works fine on Steam and other gaming sites. NOT on Origins. All they give you is a pre typed response and WILL NOT take peoples payment since last year. I have spent several hundreds of dollars over the years with them. There Help EA site is a joke with no answers. I tried there change payment method loged out and back in as instructed and still does not work. Keep getting 10048. There site is still down and not taking payments.

  23. Ben Tremblay
    January 13, 2012 at 11:29 pm

    Pre-purchased BF3. Because so many clan associates were moving that direction, and because of previous good times w/BF2 and BF1942.
    Snagged: XP Pro SP3 is good enough for everything from Napoleon:TW through ArmA:OA to CoD:MW3 ... but not for BF3.

    shame on you EA


  24. Mesugo
    January 11, 2012 at 5:45 am

    Ever try looking for a customer service number to call for Origin? Don't, because, there isn't one.

  25. Fabienne_notten
    January 4, 2012 at 3:25 pm

    Trying to call EA Origin because i just bought a game and i need EA Origin for downloading a update.. And it doesnt work at all this new platform calles Origin. Like i said, im calling them right now. Holding already for 20 minutes - waithing for someone to take my call.

    Ill bring my game back tomorrow if it has to go like this.

    November 19, 2011 at 10:34 am

    it fucking sucks i just tried to use origin to download NFS World a free to play game ("obviously not trying to rip Steam") but it took me to a website to sign into my EA account and download an exe file for it, i mean the game hasnt even integrated into origin RIGHT NO ORIGIN IS A STEAMING PILE OF SITE!!!

  27. Blake Beatty
    October 30, 2011 at 12:30 am

    EA lost my business a long time ago, and Origin just keeps me away longer.

  28. Scutterman
    October 23, 2011 at 7:50 pm

    "Origin itself is still beta software, so to pass judgement at such an early stage would be unfair". I'm sorry but if you release major titles on a platform, and indeed make that platform the sole way to access said titles, then I say it's entirely fair to judge the platform like any other. If anything, I'd say judge it harsher for the fact they're using beta software in such a way.

    I haven't used the Origin engine yet. I was planning to download BF3 beta at work (much faster internet connection), and was expecting a BF3 installer, but then I saw that Origin would be sitting in the middle and knew it wouldn't be possible. It's a shame really, because I haven't played any of the BF series and I may have gotten into it from playing the beta.

    • Tim Brookes
      October 25, 2011 at 9:45 pm

      Well if you were a PC gamer during the early stages of Steam then you'd probably have had a far worse experience when Valve's content delivery platform was in beta (though you could probably excuse Valve as they were innovating pretty hard at this point).

      Still, it's very annoying that all new EA PC retail games (even those purchased in a shop) require Origin to be installed.

  29. jello
    October 21, 2011 at 6:07 pm

    I personally can't stand EA.  Over the years, I have grown to disrespect EA and their gaming tactics.  Their EA server admins are abusive unprofessional jerks.  On a routine basis when they do updates on their gaming servers, they never give us the customers any advance notice, of up and down times in the forums.   If you try to use their online chat system, people you speak too are totally rude and not knowledgeable.  Every now and then you get a good knowledgeable person, but it is rare.  EA and DICE want you to pay close to $100 to rent a BF3 64 player server a month, how many folks can afford that.  I know tons of people who have fast enough hardware to service a BF3 64 player server without shelling out $100.  Although, I followed the battlefield series for a long time, I hope BF3 falls on its face.  DICE and EA do not listen to their customer base.  COD Black Ops listened to their customers when they made it.  Valve continues to listen to their customers, thats why I love Steam, but Steam won't have BF3.  With so many web sites, I won't mention that produce  undetectable hacks for first person shooters, and not being able to afford to rent our own BF3 server, and with so many BF3 server admnis that they themselves will be hacking, we are going to be subject to unskilled people who use downloaded skills.  Unfortunately, Punkbuster and Valves VAC are useless.  Anyway, no more ranting. :)

    • Tim Brookes
      October 25, 2011 at 9:50 pm

      You know what I dislike about EA? The fact that they've killed of so many good franchises and developers - Sim City (wtf was Sim City Societies, guys?), Theme Hospital, Populous and developers like Bullfrog and Maxis who were just swallowed up into the endless stream of yearly FIFA updates and The Sims expansions.

      Ah... we need a new Sim City. A proper one this time, EA!

  30. Inverted720
    October 21, 2011 at 5:24 pm

    BF3 looks amazing on paper. But my beta experience was horrific. Graphical glitches, frame rate fluctuations, couldn't change the keys (except during gameplay where I could be slaughtered and piss the team off), and then Origin just stopped working after a week or two. I loved the BF series but I'm throwing in the towel. I'm content with HOMM 6 and the next Elder Scrolls coming out next month. Maybe I'll get BF3 in the bargain bin next year... But again the main problem is EA just hasn't experienced how horrible trying to make a game happen really is. You feel uncertain about how everything works from the minute you install the client. Matches are created through a hokey little webapp, and the game doesn't even launch until it has found you a game.

    • Tim Brookes
      October 25, 2011 at 9:47 pm

      The beta is just that - a beta! And certainly not representative of the final game that's out today. I'd urge you not to judge games on their pre-release code in future, you might just miss out!

    • Tim Brookes
      November 3, 2011 at 12:20 am

      Ok so I bought BF3 and many of the issues have been fixed though there are still some problems. The lag in Tehran Highway makes the map virtually unplayable, I've had serious problems connecting to the Oceanic servers here in Oz and the single player campaign is underwhelming to say the least.

      The game is still fun, though if you're used to Bad Company 2 a few of the changes might annoy you (no longer 2 matches per map on Conquest, which makes no sense) but overall it's a technically impressive game which could probably benefit from a patch or two to sort out the final niggles.

  31. Cell Travis
    October 21, 2011 at 5:29 am

    This sounds like a version of protectionism to me. For EA, it's about protecting business interests and retaining control, while gamers decide whether to grudging tag along with the arrangement or to junk it. I wonder what our choices are.

    • Jb
      January 2, 2017 at 3:51 pm

      my experience with origin? Totally negative. While i think pirating games is wrong. Ea and origin are not helping themselves. Its a shame what origin dont understand is gamers just want to play games.

    • Jb
      January 2, 2017 at 3:52 pm

      My experience with origin and ea ie entirely negative.

  32. DisgruntledGamer
    October 21, 2011 at 2:07 am

    User adoption strikes again. Lazy consumers and lazier senior producers (stop outsourcing every facet of your program).  This is happening to google+ as well (user adoptionlaziness).  Sad part is after a decade we still have not evolved from tribes 2...that game had ingame server browser, clan tools, and email to boot through a login system.  Until game developers start encouraging publishers to enable web tools in game interface itself we will continue to go backward evolving the pc gaming community (who unfortunately are the most affected).

  33. NJ ALL DAY
    October 21, 2011 at 1:57 am

    What about the whole EULA fiasco with Origin where EA was allowed to access any information on your PC and sell it to marketers?

    • Tim Brookes
      November 3, 2011 at 12:16 am

      Hi, thanks for pointing that out. I heard about this a while ago and it seems that EA are convinced they're not providing spyware. Due to the fact that PC gamers are now forced to use Origin for new releases (including retail, boxed copies) there's not much of a workaround - those who play games on the PC will have to have faith I guess.

      Still, it's an interesting tale and one that further agitates the casual gamer who simply wants to buy, install and play.