If you’re a gamer, you may have, at some point, installed the EA Origin client for games published by Electronic Arts. You may have even used it a couple of times for the On The House stuff, or perhaps to purchase one of DICE’s masterpieces like Star Wars: Battlefront. But without the games themselves, one could not say that the user interface was ever really good. Some things felt cluttered, some space was massively underutilised, and it just didn’t feel as cohesive as Steam. Well, the Origin app is soon to receive an update that introduces a brand new look and feel, and it’ll be out of beta soon.
The new look for the client was first announced not by EA, but by a NeoGAF user who had been in the beta client and updated this past week. A lot of stuff in the beta generally breaks, so it’s not always the most stable client if you’re just looking for something to launch your games. The new design looks like it borrows heavily from both Windows 10 and Android Marshmallow, presenting a flat theme that feels as if it could be right at home with a touch screen.
The new theme is really flat. Almost too flat, in fact. Although I’ve gotten used to the idea of flat UIs that rely on icon hints and colour to determine what you can and can’t click on, this seems to follow every other app out there in terms of design, and if you’re unfamiliar with this style of app design, it might be a little confusing.
The layout looks pretty good though. Now all elements fit into the display area regardless of size and it appears to scale really well not just to different screen sizes, but to different screen resolutions as well, including high DPI monitors. Although the app looks like it’s using Qt (other recent Qt-based apps I’ve seen have tended to all look similar), I don’t see it ever getting a Linux port anytime soon.
Yeah, this all looks pretty good. I’m not sure what the purpose is of the favourite option for a game though. You’d have to manage that manually if you have a few games that you play regularly, so I think it would have been simpler to have a “Most Played” section where the games that pop up there only appear once you’ve launched them a few times. I can’t help but wonder if this isn’t also a larger scale version of an impending mobile companion app, because the interface seems like it could be adapted for a mobile display. I’m currently not on my desktop (faulty motherboard!) so I have no way of checking, but this beta reportedly still lacks the ability to make backups of your games, so that’s still one of the niggles preventing Origin appealing to more people.
If you want to get in on this new hotness, download the Origin client and opt-in to the beta by drilling into the Settings menu > Application > Client Update > Participate in Origin client betas. Keep in mind that participation in the beta requires you to share your hardware specs and installed games and apps with EA, but none of this is personally identifiable or ever used to advertise to you. Or you can wait until the new client rolls out to the stable channels!