For anyone who doesn’t know what it is, ORIGIN is EA’s proprietary digital distribution service on the PC. When it came out, it was somewhat mired in controversy regarding EA pulling some of their bigger games off of Steam and making them ORIGIN exclusive, and I wasn’t really sure what to make of it. Ever since I got back into PC gaming a few years ago, I’ve been a Steam guy, and I have to admit I could be considered a Valve fanboy, though I do try hard to be as unbiased ad possible. So when the Battlefield 3 beta came out, I decided to install ORIGIN and try it out. I did not spend much time with it though, due to the fact that I couldn’t really run BF3, so I never really used it again after that…
I picked up Kingdoms of Amalur not too long after its release on Amazon and originally hoped to be able to activate the game on Steam. It turned out that I was not able to to activate it, so I had to just simply install it through ORIGIN. I’ve spent a fair amount of time with it over the past few weeks, as KOA is primarily what I’ve been playing, so I thought I would give some of my thoughts on ORIGIN from my experiences with it.
I personally have found the layout to be very clean and easy to navigate. It really helps that the primary color scheme is on the lighter side. That is one of the few things that I do occasionally dislike about Steam’s interface; the black color scheme makes it hard to see things every once and a while for me.
As far as functionality goes, navigating and viewing things in the store is about the same as Steam, though it can be simpler to find things in ORIGIN’s store just by browsing simply because it has fewer games. I do give Steam a major advantage regarding friends lists; ORIGIN’s is extremely simple, but not very detailed thus far. I much prefer Steam’s customize-able friends list, and also the information pages on Steam allow a lot more customization from what I’ve experienced. Another area where I much preferred Steam was the In-Game overlay. Until recently, ORIGIN did not have one, but with an update in the past couple of weeks, EA added one. I have not played around much with it, but it has the same basic things as Steam’s does: web-browser, friends list, etc.
Finally, bugs and other problems. I have over the time I’ve used it had a few problems with Steam; nothing extremely major that I can remember, and most were ironed out fairly quickly with patches. So far ORIGIN has been largely trouble free for me. I’ve only had one major issue, and honestly, I am more to blame than ORIGIN. I had purchased Kingdoms of Amalur on Amazon and tried to to activate it on Steam, but the code wouldn’t activate, so I simply downloaded the game and started the install process. However, my computer restarted for some updates while the installer was waiting for input midway through the process, so when I tried to install it after that ORIGIN would give me an error. Ultimately I had to re-download the entire file, and while it took a long time, I can’t really blame it on ORIGIN.
So while I do wish I could have everything in one place, ORIGIN isn’t the worst piece of software in the world. I’ve definitely seen worse, and it is not that much of a hassle for me to have a second program running.