Earlier today EA introduced the "Origin Great Game Guarantee," which means that if you buy an EA game on Origin and decide you don't like it within 24 hours of first launching it (or seven days after purchase, whichever comes first), EA will offer a full refund. The new policy is effective immediately.
"If something doesn't work out—you aren't riveted by the storyline, or sucked in by the action, or even just if the game doesn't play well with your video card—we've got your back," reads the post.
This does not cover everything on Origin. Refund requests are limited to full games (not "packaged goods, game expansions, downloadable content, time cards, virtual currency and add-ons") which were published by EA, and doesn't cover EA games purchased on third-party services. Additionally, the full terms state that "refunds may not be supported where Electronic Arts detects fraud or abuse of the refund process." What constitutes "fraud or abuse" is not stated—we've contacted EA to find out.
A comparable Steam policy would only offer refunds on Valve-published games, but that would still be better than its current policy :
"ALL CHARGES INCURRED ON STEAM, AND ALL PURCHASES MADE WITH THE STEAM WALLET, ARE PAYABLE IN ADVANCE AND ARE NOT REFUNDABLE IN WHOLE OR IN PART, REGARDLESS OF THE PAYMENT METHOD, EXCEPT AS EXPRESSLY SET FORTH IN THIS AGREEMENT."
Steam's agreement goes on to set forth that EU customers can back out of pre-orders before launch, and that's it. Also, stop yelling, Steam.
We can only guess at EA's motivation, but we don't really need to: it very obviously needs to improve its image to earn new Origin customers. To that end, it just raised loads of cash for charity , and now we can play EA games for 24-hours and get our money back. That's not bad at all—just keep doing stuff like this to win us over, won't you?