If you're picking up an Electronic Arts game on PC these days, chances are good that you no longer need to download EA's Origin storefront to get it. That will certainly be the case in the future, because there's now a new EA app on the way that will serve as "EA's next-generation PC gaming platform," marking a continued shift away from its use of the Origin brand.
Over at EA's website, the company provides some details on its new "EA Desktop" PC app on its page for beta testing sign-ups. As it concerns Origin today, EA promises that friends lists and "progress on eligible games" can be carried over to the new app while it's in beta. "Rest assured that you can still access all of your content on Origin, so you can pick where you play," the post adds. It also sounds like EA Desktop aims to improve on Origin's current feature set, from a faster menu experience to the addition of new EA Play benefits and a dark-mode theme.
Earlier this week, EA's Michael Blank told GamesIndustry.biz that the rollout of the EA Desktop app is a rebranding effort, at least in part. "It's not just a name change," Blank says. "It really signals an ethos that is critically important to us and that we know that's important to our players."
Just last month, EA changed the name of its two gaming subscription services, EA Access for consoles and Origin Access for PC, to the singular EA Play. It did so just a few weeks prior to Microsoft announcing that EA Play will be included as part of Xbox Game Pass Ultimate for both Xbox consoles and PC starting later this year.
With EA also ending its nearly decade-long moratorium on releasing its games through Steam, Origin is already less of a necessity for PC players than it once was. Back when it launched in 2011, EA experienced a backlash that presaged the angry reactions to the launch of the Epic Games Store years later. Now, as the EA Desktop app enters testing, it's only a matter of time until EA quietly retires the Origin name.