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EA launches Origin distribution service

EA Store rebranded to focus on social features; The Old Republic becomes first digital exclusive

Electronic Arts is to relaunch its EA Store download service as Origin, offering direct to consumer titles including forthcoming MMO Star Wars: The Old Republic as a digital exclusive.

Central to the rebooted service are new social and sharing features, as well as offering limited edition content for EA and EA Partners titles.

"Origin is a game service with two fundamental features," said David DeMartini, senior vice president of Global Online at EA. "It's a download service for the very best content from EA and its partners.

"It also offers a social function which, over time, will connect a player's profile with friends lists and a cross-platform feed that shows what your friends are playing and where."

The move sheds light on CEO John Riccitiello's statements in May when he described EA as not just a content creator. "Increasingly, we see ourselves as a software platform every bit as much as we see ourselves as a content maker for other companies' platforms," he said during a call to investors.

As well as selling all key franchises such as Need for Speed and Battlefield, BioWare's next Star Wars game is likely to be the biggest draw to the service as EA snubs other forms of download such as Direct2Drive and market-leader Steam.

Users can sign up for the Origin beta, a desktop app that allows communication with friends and to digitally download and play PC games, and access to exclusive trailers and game content.

"This is our first step in the evolution of Origin, and in the weeks and months ahead we will look to enhance the features and services as well as an expanded range of content," said DeMartini. "From exclusive demos to full-game downloads, Origin is the place consumers will go for the best game experiences."

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Matt Martin

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Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.

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