If Steam's monopoly on the PC gaming market has got you down, Origin's here to pick you back up again.
Ever wondered why Battlefield 1 isn't on Steam? Or Mass Effect: Andromeda, Need for Speed, or any other recent EA game? The answer's quite simple: Origin. Tired of letting Valve take a cut of its PC game sales, Electronic Arts said sayonara to Steam back in 2011 and built Origin as its own digital games platform. Not to be confused with Origin PC, the custom PC manufacturer, EA's Origin has grown steadily from a simple games launcher into a social hub, centralised games library and online store all in one. And with over 50 million users worldwide, Origin has made it clear that Steam is no longer the undisputed king of PC gaming.
What does Origin sell?
At launch, Origin only sold EA's own games along with their respective DLC, but the Origin gaming catalogue has expanded in recent years to include games from other developers and publishers, too. Accompanying the latest entries in EA franchises such as Battlefield, FIFA, Mass Effect and Need for Speed are the likes of Assassin's Creed Syndicate, The Witcher III: Wild Hunt, Watch Dogs 2 and other third-party titles.
How do Origin's digital downloads work?
Digital downloads on Origin work much the same as on competing services like Steam and Battle.net. Purchased games and in-game content are linked to your Origin account for you to download and play whenever you're logged into Origin, regardless of what computer you're logged in on. Origin supports cloud saves, too, which means you can switch from playing a game on your laptop to playing it on your desktop without losing any progress.
As with any online gaming platform, Origin requires you to download a launcher program to your computer in order to play your purchased games. This program, called the Origin client, lets you browse the Origin store, chat with your Origin friends and launch any game in your library. You'll need to be online and connected to the Origin gaming service the first time you boot up a game, even if it's a single-player title, but after that you'll be able to play most single-player games offline if you wish. Multiplayer games, of course, always require a constant Internet connection.
What currency does Origin use?
When browsing Origin from Australia, all prices are listed in AUD.
What is Origin's refund policy?
Electronic Arts offers a pretty generous refund policy through Origin. All EA games and a select few third-party titles can be returned for a full refund provided you make the request within 24 hours of first launching the game, and within seven days of purchase of regular titles or within seven days of release for pre-orders.
If the game you bought is completely broken, EA's multiplayer servers melt down or you fall victim to any other technical issue within EA's domain, the publisher will extend the request window to 72 hours after you first launched the game.
Keep in mind that DLC is not eligible for refund under any circumstances. Also, if you purchase a bundle of games in one go, you'll only be able to refund the whole bundle, not individual games.