EA has released its own digital distribution platform for the PC. Origin is meant to stand alongside digital behemoth Steam. It’s still early days, but EA has a lot of catching up to do – something that will be somewhat easier with the launch of Battlefield 3 and Star Wars: The Old Republic.
The platform does have some neat features, like being able to add your physical copies of EA games to your Origin account, thereby allowing you to download a copy in the future should you lose your discs or they become damaged. Naturally there are a few eyebrow-raising bits and pieces as well, like the price of games available on Origin. Command & Conquer Red Alert 3 for example, costs a whopping R399 and yet you can buy the Premier Edition on Kalahari for (wait for it) R40.95. Wow EA, R399 for a digital copy when I can get a physical one for nearly a tenth of that price? Not sure if serious…
Another slightly dodgy element is a particularly unnerving paragraph in Origin’s Terms of Service. It was originally highlighted by Rock Paper Shotgun after a number of their readers emailed them out of concern.
The paragraph in questions says the following:
“We do not guarantee that any Content or Entitlement will be available at all times or at any given time or that we will continue to offer particular Content or Entitlements for any particular length of time. We reserve the right to change and update Content and Entitlements without notice to you. If you have not used your Entitlements or Account for twenty four (24) months or more and your Account has associated Entitlements, your Entitlements will expire and your Account may be cancelled for non-use. Once you have redeemed your Entitlements, that content is not returnable, exchangeable, or refundable for other Entitlements or for cash, or other goods or services.”
Basically, if your account is inactive for more than two years, EA reserves the right to nuke it to hell. However, Shacknews has pointed out that the TOS does not state that this will result in the outright deletion of your games. That being said, if your account gets deleted, then whatever is tied to that account, game product codes included, presumably goes with it.
Is this something to be concerned about, or is EA simply being unfairly targeted by Origin naysayers? Don’t forget that the distribution platform is still in beta phase so perhaps all this condemnation is a little premature. Perhaps I’m just feeling soft at the moment as well.