In a move that can be filed under “Saw that coming from a galaxy away”, EA has declared any and all versions of Mass Effect 3 for PC will require Origin to activate, and BioWare's next will not be debuting on Steam. At least, not for now.
BioWare's Chris Priestly posted details of Mass Effect 3's launch on the studio's forums, confirming players will need to sign on with EA's digital download service for a one-time, single authorization required to kickstart the physical and digital PC versions of the upcoming action RPG. In addition, he discussed EA's decision to launch on “other 3rd party digital retailers”, but not on Valve's Steam service due to perceived restrictions, explaining: “Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to deliver patches and other downloadable content. We are intent on providing Mass Effect to players with the best possible experience no matter where they purchase or play their game, and are happy to partner with any download service that does not restrict our ability to connect directly with our consumers.”
Predictably, the announcement that even those who purchase Mass Effect 3 from stores will need to activate their copies through Origin is not going over well with the community. Since it was posted just a few days ago, Priestly's thread has since ballooned to over 200 pages, with many questioning EA's true intent. Perhaps in anticipation of this reaction, Priestly insisted Origin is simply a helpful downloading client, and not a nefarious spyware installer, saying, “Origin implements a permission change that results in Windows, not Origin, reviewing the filenames in the ProgramData/Origin folder. This is an ordinary Windows function, not an information-gathering process.”
Mass Effect 3 arrives for PS3, Xbox 360, and PC on March 6 in North America, and March 9 in the UK. Does this announcement change your PC strategy?