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Origin undergoes major changes in latest beta update, and it's so much better now [Updated]

EA's Origin client is undergoing some significant changes to its user interface that promise to make it much easier to use. The most obvious improvement is the addition of a menu bar on the left, which provides direct links to sales, free games, and Origin Access, and an embedded friends list on the right-hand side of the screen.   

The game library is much more clearly laid out, with tiles for each game providing options and information including achievements, access to extra content, and individual game properties. The Origin store is also far less cluttered and easier to browse, with a good number of clearly-labeled sort options, and even a “trending” option if you want to get in on the hotness of the moment. 

As noted by NeoGAF, the new design looks more than a little like GOG's Galaxy client, which is fine by me: It may not score points for originality, but I really like the simplicity of Galaxy and it's nice to see someone else taking a similar approach. I'm not super-excited about having to run a separate client for every major publisher in the business (which is why I still haven't played Fallout Shelter) but that's how it goes these days, and to EA's credit this update is a big improvement over the original design. 

The new Origin client is still in beta, so if you want to give it a rip you'll need to go into the application settings menu, scroll down to the bottom, and opt in. After that, restart Origin and, after a 100+ MB update, you should be good to go. 

Update: EA has confirmed the the beta is being rolled out "gradually," and so some people might not get it right away. The specifics of the schedule weren't revealed.

Andy Chalk

Andy has been gaming on PCs from the very beginning, starting as a youngster with text adventures and primitive action games on a cassette-based TRS80. From there he graduated to the glory days of Sierra Online adventures and Microprose sims, ran a local BBS, learned how to build PCs, and developed a longstanding love of RPGs, immersive sims, and shooters. He began writing videogame news in 2007 for The Escapist and somehow managed to avoid getting fired until 2014, when he joined the storied ranks of PC Gamer. He covers all aspects of the industry, from new game announcements and patch notes to legal disputes, Twitch beefs, esports, and Henry Cavill. Lots of Henry Cavill.