Origin launches limited Mac alpha client, gives free copy of Bookworm to testers

Phil Savage at

EA are planning to bring Mac support to Origin, and are accepting testers to help trial their client. As an incentive, they're offering a free copy of Popcap's Bookworm to anyone who takes part. Applicants had better really like Bookworm, though, because the Origin store isn't due to go live on Mac until the client's official release.

Crysis 3 public multiplayer beta launches next week

Phil Savage at

Crytek are providing the chance to hone your predatory instincts in preparation for the launch of Crysis 3. A two week open multiplayer beta will be running from January 29 - February 12. The test will give players a chance to try out two maps and two multiplayer modes, including the return of Crysis 2's king-of-the-hill style Crash Site, and the hide and stab fun of new addition Hunter. Here's a video rundown of the two modes that I found cloaked in our archives.

SimCity's beta EULA to be updated, EA: "players don't have anything to be concerned about"

Phil Savage at

Yesterday, we brought news that, thanks to an overzealous clause in the SimCity beta agreement, EA were technically able to banhammer players out of their entire EA account if they failed to report the bugs that they'd found. Last night, EA contacted Kotaku to assure that they hadn't gone power mad, and would be adjusting the EULA accordingly.

Dead Space 3 to feature microtransactions for crafting resources

Phil Savage at

EA seem set to introduce optional microtransactions into Dead Space 3's campaign. Eurogamer spotted mention of downloadable content in the game's crafting screen, suggesting that the sci-fi shooter won't just rely on the series' previous resource gathering tactic of stomping mutant corpses into a thin paste.

Attempt to craft a weapon add-on without the required materials, and the game will display a message saying, "Cannot craft. Additional resources required," along with a hotkey allowing players to purchase them as DLC.

SimCity beta's EULA contains EA wide ban clause for unreported bugs

Phil Savage at

EA's overzealous lawyers are at it again! Did you sign up for the upcoming SimCity beta? If so, did you read its giant EULA? Every last dry, boring, legally-binding word of it? No, me neither. Fortunately, SideQuesting spotted a tweet from Twisted Pixel's Dan Teasdale, pointing out a clause in the agreement that could result in a full EA ban for not reporting bugs.

SimCity closed beta running next weekend, sign ups now open

Phil Savage at

EA have announced that a SimCity beta test will be running from January 25-28. Or rather, a "beta" test - with heavy emphasis on the quotation marks. More accurately, this is an exclusive time-limited demo, with budding city planners being given a one-hour slice of the game to play.

EA's Play4Free becomes Origin Free to Play

Phil Savage at

In what's sure to go down as a victory in the campaign to eradicate pointless numbers from the names of things, Play4Free - EA's unnecessarily styled moniker for what everyone else calls free to play - is being renamed. Games like Battlefield Heroes, Need for Speed World, Battlefield Play4Free and *shudder* Command & Conquer: Tibererium Alliances all now live under the label "Origin Free to Play".

GameFly End of the World sale chops 75 percent off XCOM, Witcher 2, others

Omri Petitte at

When facing the end of time as we know it through a cataclysmic prophecy, it's time for a sale to mark history's end with a bang. To wit, GameFly's End of the World event nixes 75 percent off select titles for the next 12 days, providing valuable buys such as a $15/£9 Witcher 2, a $25/£15.50 XCOM: Enemy Unknown, and $12.50/£8 for The Walking Dead, among others.

Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age 2 promo items now available for free

Phil Savage at

There are many great things about the Dragon Age games, but simplicity of purchasing options has never been one of them. In the run up to both games' release, it appeared as if you could receive a different in-game pre-order bonus depending on where you bought it from, the time of purchase, or whether you chose an even or odd day of the month to place your order. I think there was even a special helmet made just for people who had drunk exactly 13,964 cups of coffee in their lifetime.

Bioware are finally collecting Dragon Age: Origins and Dragon Age II's many disparate items together, and will give all of them to you, for free, if you go to this promo page and log-in with your EA Origin account details.

Origin accounts being hijacked - email addresses changed to Russian domain

Phil Savage at

Remember last year when seemingly every day there was a new security vulnerability that had us scrabbling to change our passwords? Well bad news. Eurogamer's own Richard Leadbetter received an email from Origin informing that his account's password and email address had been successfully changed. Only problem: he never issued any such request.

Origin to integrate twitch.tv game broadcasting

Richard Cobbett at

Everyone's favourite digital distribution system, Origin, is getting a big update soon. While the most useful to most will almost certainly be the general tweaks to speed, and the ability to add other installed games to your menu (much like Steam), easily the coolest is direct integration with video streaming site twitch.tv. In Steam, you can tap a button to take and share screenshots. In Origin, you'll be able to share whole gaming sessions just as easily - or set things up to broadcast automatically.

Battlefield 1942 is now free on Origin

Tyler Wilde at

EA is now offering Battlefield 1942 as a free download on Origin. The series' 2002 progenitor is listed in the demos section, but the official site is clear that it's fully free-to-play. The site has also enlisted the surprised/angry medic above to help spread the word: "35 machines of war?! Yeah, that's just what I needed: 35 more problems for me. You know what, why don't you go remove your own damn shrapnel?"

EA gives away thousands of games by accident

Marsh Davies at

Gamers who participated in an Electronic Arts survey at the weekend were rewarded with a $20 Origin discount code. Or so EA presumably thought. Poor EA. In fact, the code worked for everyone, not just those who took part in the survey, and could be used to chug down an unlimited number of $20 games, all for free - a fact which was quickly publicised on Reddit and Overclockers.

Battlefield 10-year anniversary promotion discounts Battlefield 3 and other games to $10

T.J. Hafer at

It's hard to believe that it's been a whole decade since we were riding on the wings of bombers and making car bombs with satchel charges in Battlefield 1942, one of the most influential multiplayer shooters of all time. To celebrate its storied run, Origin is offering six major entries from the series at $10/£10 a pop.

PSA: Origin downtime scheduled for tonight, no Mass Effect 3 or Battlefield 3 multiplayer

Tyler Wilde at

Origin servers will be taken down for maintenance tonight from 10 PM to 1:30 AM PDT. According to EA's notice, Origin will be available in offline mode during those hours, and the single-player portions of EA/Origin games will still be accessible. The multiplayer modes in games such as Mass Effect 3 and Battlefield 3, however, will not be playable. Additionally, any purchases made via Origin will be added to a queue and delivered after the outage ends.

EA going "100% digital" in the near future

Tom Hatfield at

EA Labels President Frank Gibeau has told Games Industry Biz that he believes EA will be a "100% digital" company in the future, stating "It's inevitable" He doesn't think this transition is far off either, saying ""It's in the near future. It's coming. We have a clear line of sight on it and we're excited about it."

Crysis 2 back on Steam as Maximum Edition

Evan Lahti at

Last June Crysis 2 was suddenly removed from the Steam store. The game was "expelled," in EA's words, because a separate agreement with another download service violated new rules from Steam, EA said.

This contract conundrum between Crytek and digital distributors seems to've been resolved: Crysis 2 is back on Steam as a $40 re-release. The Maximum Edition bundles existing multiplayer map pack content for the game. This version of the game is also available on Origin today, duh.

EA invite gamers to give feedback on Origin

Henry Winchester at

EA’s like-it-or-lump-it Origin service has divided gamers who either like it, or lump it. Recognising the lumpers, EA have put up a blog entry called, “Continuing the Origin Conversation”, or, “Please tell us what we’re doing wrong.” The post somewhat foolhardily invites users to comment on their favourite Origin feature, as well as features they’d like to see added in the future.

The post has already attracted over 300 comments, from, “I would like a clock on the overlay so I can check the time easier while playing” to “Please add a feature to purchase and play EA games through Steam.” A live question-and-answer follow-up with Origin’s head honches Robert Kissinger and Mike Lewis will take place on Tuesday.

Gabe Newell on EA's Origin: "I don't think they're doing anything super well yet"

Tom Senior at

Valve co-founder Gabe Newell gave his views on Origin in the first episode of the Seven Day Cooldown podcast, suggesting that EA's digital distribution service isn't close to challenging Steam. "They have a lot of work to do to get to way they want to be and where I as a customer would want them to be," he said.

"I don't think they're doing anything super well yet," he added. "They have a bunch of smart people working on it. I think they're still playing catch up to a lot of people who have been working in the space for a while. I think they're recognising what the challenges are with building and scaling out this kind of system."

Weekend Game Deals

Chris Antista at