Is it just coincidence that "three" rhymes with "free," and Bejeweled 3 is now free through Origin's On the House program? The answer, obviously, is yes, it's a complete coincidence. But so what? It's free!
BioWare Points are essentially a PC version of the Microsoft Points that used to serve as the virtual currency on Xbox Live. If you want DLC for the PC version of Mass Effect or Dragon Age, you purchase BioWare Points and then use that to buy the content online. That won't be the case for Dragon Age: Inquisition, however, or for any other BioWare game in the future.
Update: As of August 27, Origin has updated its version of SimCity 4. It is now compatible with the Network Addon Mod. Original story below.
SimCity 4 is more than ten years old, but given the relative dearth of SimCity games since it came out, it remains a popular way for fans of the franchise to get their fix. But the maker of the Network Addon Mod says gamers should be careful about where they buy it: The version of the game being offered by Origin is the unpatched retail release, and because of changes to its copy protection it cannot be updated, nor can it take full advantage of custom content and mods.
If you haven't yet strapped on a 30-foot-tall suit of futuristic armor and used it to flatten some poor schmuck into a gooey pancake, now might be a good time to rectify that oversight. The weekend is here, and Titanfall is once again free.
I was a big fan of Plants vs. Zombies (I literally own at least five distinct versions) but PvZ: Garden Warfare left me cold. As a $30 third-person online shooter, it had the stink of a cash-in, and so I paid it very little attention and ignored it completely at launch. But what I won't touch for 30 bucks, I'll jump all over when it's free.
I somehow managed to miss the announcement of Game Time on Origin, and so when the Battlefield 4 freebie was revealed today I thought it was part of some exciting, new way to deal up free stuff. It's not, obviously, but that's not important: What's important is that you can now blow an entire week on Battlefield 4 at absolutely no cost.
Remember SimCity? Specifically, the disastrous launch of SimCity, followed by a year-long slog to implement a proper offline mode that we'd previously been told wasn't possible? It's the sort of business that might have put you off of buying the game, even at the current, vastly-reduced price of 20 bucks. But if you're curious, you may now indulge yourself without cost, and without risk.
It's hard to be too critical of anything that's free, assuming that the free thing in question isn't actually doing you harm. So even though I'm not a big fan of Wing Commander 3: Heart of the Tiger, I can recommend it right now because it's free—"On the house," you might say—and it's probably not going to set your PC on fire.
Earlier this month, Electronic Arts announced that The Sims 2 was being "retired," and that to make up for the loss, anyone who owns it would be upgraded to The Sims 2 Ultimate Collection on Origin at no charge. But today that deal got a whole lot more Oprah, as EA is now offering the game to everyone, on the house—even thought it's not actually an On the House promotion.
Origin are currently giving away Peggle. It's a happy game about rainbows and Beethoven, and is therefore at odds with the majority of EA's catalogue. To redress the balance, they're also planning a free trial for a game about big robots and loud noises that go "SHHHHHLUNK". Titanfall will be free to download and play this weekend, and—while it'll take the majority of that time to download and install the thing—that should still leave a few solid hours of robo-falling, parkour-jumping action.
We've known about the existence of The Sims 4 since last summer and we have some idea of what to expect from the game too, thanks to a nice October preview that promised to imbue your tiny little digital people with "the full weight of emotion." And now, thanks to the wonders of E3, we finally know when it's coming.
Today is the day you get Battlefield 3! Why, you ask? Because today is the day you can pick it up at absolutely zero cost—that is to say, free—as the second game in Origin's "On the House" program.
Later this year, Bioware will release Dragon Age: Inquisition. That's pretty exciting. So exciting, that six months before release, EA are confident in people's willingness to pre-order the game. And if people will pre-order the regular edition of the game, maybe they'd instead prefer the "Digital Deluxe Edition"; the contents of which are now listed on Origin. If it sounds unlikely, maybe you're underestimating people's love for thrones made out of dragon skull.
EA doesn't want your money anymore. Well, it does, but mostly for its newer and shinier selections. Starting today, the publisher will choose one older game from its library and offer it On the House, a new Origin category for games available free of charge. First up: Visceral's disturb-tastic Dead Space.
Last month, DICE launched Battlefield 4's platoon feature, but restricted the creation of new platoons to Premium members of at least level 10. This is at least somewhat true to the real military, who have realised that letting anybody create their own command structure would be a very inefficient way to organise troops. Luckily, Battlefield 4 is not the real military, and so their variant of the clan model is now available for all.
At this point, "several crash fixes and stability improvements" must be seared into the brains of every DICE employee. I imagine them wandering their offices, chanting it like some cultish mantra. It's cropped up again as a single line on Battlefield 4's latest giant update notes. This time, though, we're also getting some extensive balance tweaks to weapons and vehicles.
There's plenty here, both the significant and the specific. For the handful of people annoyed about the Active Protection and MP-APS's inability to properly stop 12G FRAG rounds, this could be the patch of a lifetime.
EA's "FTW" development diary series can, at times, descend into the blandest of marketing buzzword static. Their latest, for Titanfall, is slightly different - and not just because it concerns the bulky mass of nimble superweapons. In focusing on the arcade FPS's Titans, the game's developers explain their conception, development, and the differences between the three models that will appear in the full release.
EA and Respawn have opened up registration for Titanfall's beta. The robotic multiplayer shooter, out on March 11, is the first game from Respawn Entertainment, and its beta will be your first chance to try one of our most anticipated games of the year.
GOG announced today that it will give you your money back for games you purchase and are unable to run. Players are encouraged to first use the support page to find a solution to the problem, submitting a ticket describing the issue if they need further help. But in the case that even GOG's "top men" can't find a solution, the site will offer a refund within 30 days after purchase.
I'm starting to realise it would be easier to list the distributors not currently holding a Black Friday sale. Even so, we'll give Origin the spotlight for a second. After all, their sale does have some good discounts on a selection of EA games, and, let's be honest, people are hardly going to check Origin's store page unprompted. Now you've had that prompt, head over for up to 66% off certain games, including 40% off Battlefield 4.