EA's Origin: When There's No Value, You Forget It Exists

EA's Origin: When There's No Value, You Forget It Exists

Electronic Arts' poor online storefront is on the bottom rung of my priority list.

EA is changing your Origin Account into an EA account. The publisher is doing this "to better represent all of EA's games and services," according to the email I received. The thing is, I completely forgot that I had an Origin account until I received that email.

All the damn time.

It's safe to say that enthusiast players have a number of online accounts, usually from publishers trying to lock us into their games and platforms. Off the top of my head, I've recently used these accounts: Steam, PlayStation Network, Xbox Live, Nintendo Network, WB Account, Humble Bundle, UPlay, Battle.net, Final Fantasy XIV, and NCSoft. I probably have to use more accounts on a regular basis due to my professional life, but most players still have way too many to keep track of. In addition, every account has a different password scheme and no one bothers to tell you what that scheme is when you're entering a password. It's a hassle for any avid gamer.

The larger problem isn't the vast number of accounts available, it's the fact that these additional accounts rarely provide any value. If the best thing I get out of remembering my username and password is the ability to play the game I've already paid for, you've already failed from a value proposition. In fact, you've simply created resentment, since I've had to go through the pain of remembering my account name, trying a few passwords (and potentially being locked out of my account), resetting my password, and then finally getting into the game if your server happens to be up and active.

That last bit is exactly what happened when I picked up Dragon Age Inquisition on PlayStation 4. After all that, the server was not up. I was locked out of my single-player game through no fault of my own. That's not value. Ubisoft's Uplay has been equally maligned, even if the account requirement hasn't been as stringent on home consoles as it is on the PC. I completely ignored putting in my WB Account when I was playing Batman: Arkham Knight.

Some account systems do provide some value, especially once a publisher or studio has a number of games that justify the inclusion. I have no issues with my Battle.net account, because it's a single desktop client that connects me to five titles I play, three of which are online-only. We players are used to having accounts for online titles, it makes sense. But grafting useless online features onto a single player game in order to justify the account system isn't adding value.

I love using the Battle.Net client.

Optional account systems are good, too. If I can play my single-player game with little issue, but you'll throw a free in-game item if I sign in, I'm potentially going to bite. I didn't sign-in to my WB account for Batman: Arkham Knight, but I did for Arkham Origins to get a free skin for Batman. I occasionally use the Uplay Points that you get for playing Ubisoft games while signed into Uplay. Entice me, publishers. Win me over to wanting to use your account system.

Another good example is PlayStation Plus. When it was first announced, it was simply another Xbox Live subscription fee that I needed to pay annually to play online. Now, it's a monthly treasure trove of free games. No, I don't always find something worth picking up every month, but it happens enough that I'm glad I have PlayStation Plus. It worked out so well, that the system extended back to Xbox Live, making that service even better.

Make it look like people are having more fun with an account than without one. I understand that's a hard line to toe, but if you do it right, people will happily sign-in to your account system. They'll do so on a regular basis and actually remember their account information. You engender the kind of love Valve has created with Steam.

If you do it wrong, those same players will have to reset their passwords every time your account system rears its ugly head, because they have no connection to your service. Like where I'm at with my Origin account.

Do you still use your Origin accoutn on a regular basis?

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Mike Williams

Reviews Editor

M.H. Williams is new to the journalism game, but he's been a gamer since the NES first graced American shores. Third-person action-adventure games are his personal poison: Uncharted, Infamous, and Assassin's Creed just to name a few. If you see him around a convention, he's not hard to spot: Black guy, glasses, and a tie.

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