Conventional Internet wisdom has it, I believe, that Origin, EA's digital distribution service, "sucks."
Whether or not this is a fair assessment of what is a fairly inoffensive and, to be honest, reasonably well put-together piece of software is a matter of opinion, of course, but given Steam's dominance over the PC gaming market, there is still a fair amount of resistance to Origin among dedicated PC gamers.
EA is hoping to change all that with a bit of good, old-fashioned bribery, sorry, incentivization in the form of freebies.
"On the House" is what appears to be an uncharacteristically generous ongoing promotion from EA that provides you with free games every so often. The only catch? You have to claim, install and play them using Origin.
The first game to be part of the promotion is the original Dead Space, a $14.99 value. It's a fairly old game now, but a good one, and, given that you can claim (and keep) it for free -- no Xbox Live Games with Gold or PlayStation Plus-style subscription required -- it's certainly not an offer to be sniffed at. EA notes that if you want it, though, you should claim it quickly, because the "On the House" offers can come and go at any time rather than at regular intervals. This is a clever trick designed to encourage people to check in regularly on the Origin storefront and see what's up for grabs.
"We're gamers, too," reads the official promo page on the Origin website. "We appreciate you making Origin your gaming home... and besides, who doesn't like free stuff?"
Find out more about the promo here.