The Battlefield 3 Blog has detailed EA's plans to require their new Origin download service and social platform as a requirement for Battlefield 3. This includes both digital and retail copies of the game. While there's been quite lot of chatter around such a requirement, mostly because PC gamers think only Steam should be allowed to do this, in reality it's a pretty ingenious marketing move on EA's part.
The downside of course is it means one more background process running, one more friends list to manage, and one more place to have to check for digital sales. I spent a little bit of time with Origin during the recent Battlefield 3 Alpha Trial and was pleasantly surprised at what EA had put together. There's still a ways to go before the service is as fully featured as Steam, but Steam has had years and years to mature. Does anyone remember what Steam was like when it launched? Eeek.
Speaking of Steam, in case you missed it, Battlefield 3 will not be available on Valve's digital platform. The reasoning?
Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to deliver patches and other downloadable content. No other download service has adopted these practices.
Whatever that means, it's an interesting and bold decision on EA's part because Steam IS by far the largest digital distribution platform on the internet for PC games. It also means EA will need to beef up its marketing budget to get those gamers that typically purchase from the Steam storefront to make their way over to Origin.
Battlefield 3 is out this fall on the PC as well as Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3 with two player online co-op. Details of said mode are forthcoming.