The EA Origin download service is preparing for a new era. Electronic Arts is no longer selling physical discs through its online service, mirroring Microsoft’s much-hated “vision of the future.”
This new trend of switching from discs to downloads could be disturbing for those of us with limited data plan internet service. Even if we’ve already paid for the game, having to download it again will easily use up the limit in a hurry and probably cost just as much in overage fees as the game is worth. If you’re not limited to how much you can download, it’s still potentially hours of hogging the bandwidth just to restore your collection if the console breaks down. Thankfully consoles only allow one download at a time, or you might have trouble even watching YouTube while you wait.
Others tend to prefer the old fashioned method of actually using the disc, even if they’re just using it as DRM to play the game installed on the hard drive. We have had physical game discs for over a decade and for many gamers it just feels right. Switching to the EA Origin download system might seem like a waste if you’ve lost your entire collection and have to replace them.
EA Origin is phasing out all physical media by April 4 http://t.co/mOdFVIfs0t
— Polygon (@Polygon) March 31, 2014
Electronic Arts isn’t removing physical discs from retailers though, so you can still snag copies from the shelf at Target or off Amazon. They have stated that 99 percent of customers who use the EA Origin download service won’t notice the difference because very few gamers actually buy physical discs through the service. Since they never offered used games through the service anyway, it might save the consumer money.
Electronic Arts always listed their physical games on the service at full recommended retail price, while other online retailers offer discounts and used games regularly.
The switch to downloads only will undoubtedly send consumers to other retailers, because in spite of the new trend of downloading at a discount (free games if you’re a paid subscriber on Xbox Live or PSN), some gamers still prefer to have a disc. Older gamers still find it difficult to adjust to having a collection they can’t see until they turn on the console, since they grew up with cartridges and discs, always putting something in the machine to enjoy their pastime.
It appears that Electronic Arts has already adapted to Microsoft’s “vision of the future,” turning their game sales into another copy of Steam. Even though the EA Origin download service won’t sell physical discs any more, they will still support all legal copies of their games, downloaded or not.