What is Origin by EA?
Formerly known as the EA Store, Origin by EA is an online game content delivery system, which serves as an avenue for gamers to purchase digital games and extra downloadable content. Through the website, one can easily purchase the latest games and downloadable content and download them immediately via the Origin client--no more hassle of installing via DVD!
What games are sold in Origin by EA?
Titles sold in Origin are basically all current (and moving forward, all new) titles published by Electronic Arts. In addition, there are some classic titles available too, probably carry-overs from the EA Store era, such as SimCity 4 Deluxe Edition and Battlefield 2. Don't expect to find anything more than a few generations old, however; there's no Battlefield 1942 or Need for Speed: Underground up for sale.
Being EA-exclusive (as of now) means that you may not be able to satisfy all your gaming needs with Origin alone. Hot titles in the past year, such as Call of Duty: Modern Warfare 3 and Diablo III are conspiciously absent from the store. On the other hand, EA publishes lots of popular content every year, so there are still many hotsellers available, like the blockbuster game Battlefield 3 released in October last year and Mass Effect 3, which was only recently released.
In addition, Origin also has free downloadable content available, such as Battlefield Play4Free, Need for Speed World, and game demos of popular EA games like Mass Effect 3 and FIFA 12.
How is the purchasing process like?
Basically, on the Origin website, all you need is to log-in to your account (which takes about 5-10 minutes to create), add your item(s) to the cart, and then check out. Payment methods vary by country, according to the website, however, credit and debit cards (MasterCard and VISA) are generally accepted.
Can I pre-order upcoming games?
Upcoming games, such as SimCity (2013), are available on pre-order at the Origin store. Pre-ordering has the benefit of allowing you to play the game as soon as it is released. A few days before the game is released, the content will be available for download through the Origin client, which will be unlocked on launch day.
According to the Origin by EA website, pre-orders can be cancelled at any time before the game is released. The game will only be charged to your credit/debit card once it has been 'fulfilled', i.e. shipped, or released.
Are there any special offers or discount coupons available?
From time to time, special offers are available at the Origin by EA website. For example, in May 2012, there was a promotion for certain games released in 2011, such as Need for Speed: The Run, which was on sale at half the usual price.
In addition, discount coupons are sometimes given out by EA in tie-ups with different products or in contests. They can be easily be redeemed at the Check Out page by entering the discount coupon code. Once the coupon code is entered, the necessary pricing adjustments will take place.
Does Origin by EA practise price discrimination?
Yes. Origin actually has several regional stores, whereby due to exchange rate differences, there will be fluctuations in pricing. The same game sold in the United States may sell for much more in Australia, and vice versa.
Is there a return policy on games sold on Origin by EA?
According to the FAQ on the website, only physical products bought on the Origin store are entitled to a 14-day 'unconditional guarantee'. A refund equivalent to the original payment price (excluding shipping and handling costs) will be granted. However, digitally downloaded products on Origin are non-refundable unless under 'exceptional circumstances at its sole discretion'. Do bear in mind that the vast majority of products sold on the Origin store are digital-only.
If I encounter any problems, what are the forms of help available?
Origin by EA offers a wide range of support options. Through the help section, you can easily access the knowledge base for the game you have just purchased. There is also a community forum available which offers mainly assistance by other members, and occassionally EA support workers. Other than that, there is also live chat (subject to working hours), phone support (in certain regions) as well as e-mail support, which promises to have an 'EA Advisor' address your concern within 24 hours.