Archive for August, 2013

Rant Mode–EA’s Origin platform redux

It’s not often that I end up ranting about something twice. EA’s Origin unfortunately has now earned my wrath for a second time. You can read about my previous grumblings here.

Last week, the Humble Origin Bundle went on sale. At the price the bundle was offered, I couldn’t resist ordering. Of the lot, Dead Space 3 is the newest game (Feb 2013), while the other games are anything from 1-4 years old. A lot of people have purchased this bundle, since it is great value and the proceeds are going to charity. More cynical people acknowledge that part, but state that the real idea is to draw people in to use EA’s Origin platform.

Unfortunately, it seems EA were not prepared for the influx of new users. Keys could not be redeemed as the servers had for all intents and purposes, melted under the load. Luckily I didn’t suffer this problem. What has been a problem however is downloading the games. I’m on a paltry 1Mb/s ADSL connection at home, and seeing the size of some of these downloads made it clear I couldn’t do it at home. Luckily I have the capability of doing so at work. I installed Origin and started by trying to download Dead Space 1. Starts off well enough, but then the download simply hangs after a while. Clicking the Pause button does no good, as the download never pauses. At this point I have to hard exit or kill the Origin task with Task Manager.

The line at work could have finished Dead Space over the weekend, but since the connection simply wouldn’t stay alive, I’ve had to baby sit the download in chunks. Not fun, and not the way Origin used to work. Origin didn’t have this problem with Mass Effect 3, so I don’t know if it’s one of their updated releases that did it or what. Numerous reports on the EA forums bear witness to the fact that I’m not the only one suffering this problem. All I want to do is download the game at work and transfer it to my home PC, something else Origin is woefully inept at doing. Steam makes this process idiotically easy.

Also, the latest Origin update has now decided it wants to download and reinstall all my Mass Effect 2 DLC, which for whatever reason it can’t pick up the fact that it’s already installed. The previous version of Origin finally fixed that problem, but it now appears to be back.

Digital downloads keep being trumpeted as the future of how content is distributed, but experiences like this only make me want to cling onto my physical media all the harder. Add the fact that internet speeds here in South Africa are simply not great, and the situation becomes somewhat painful. I can’t help but feel that part of the reason EA offered the bundle was to load test Origin to the breaking point, and then finally get sort out their service. Some commentators have said that we should look at what Steam was like after its first two years on the market, but I’m not sure that is a valid point. EA would have seen Steam’s problems, and could have worked to avoid it from the start. Everything Steam does wrong, EA could have done right, but it seems that this will never happen.

And to think, PC gaming once used to be simple and enjoyable mere minutes after buying a game….