EA Origin Dropping Pre-Windows 7 Support

As many users undoubtedly learned the hard way with Windows XP, software support doesn’t last forever. This is doubly true of regular software which can often just drop support without much warning and stop working. Luckily, this is not the case with EA, which has announced plans to drop support for Origin on systems that are using any OS prior to Windows 7, mainly Windows XP and Vista.

Improved the way Origin handles outdated operating systems, and reduced support for Windows XP and Windows Vista.

As part of the transition, EA is already dropping some features when they are updating Origin. After August though, Origin users on Windows XP and Vista will no longer be able to download/install games, not utilize the shop. Luckily, installed games and updates will continue to work, meaning those of you planning to stay on an older OS can pre-download any games you want to keep playing on the old system.The biggest problem will be with older games that aren’t quite compatible with newer operating systems.

This whole issue begs the question as to why EA is dropping support for XP and Vista. Afterall, the whole point of Windows is to run older software and Vista is pretty much the same as 7. Perhaps, EA wants to move Origin to newer development models which XP and Vista don’t support. With the two operating systems having less than 3% marketshare according to Steam, similar to the numbers for OSX, EA probably won’t be losing much sleep over any lost customers. With the numbers Windows 7 has, there is still plenty of breathing room for those of you on that OS, so rest easy for now.

Need For Speed: Most Wanted is Now Free For a Limited Time

EA has a poor reputation among the gaming community due to the implementation of DLC, microtransactions, pre-order bonuses and other anti-consumer initiatives. Furthermore, their behaviour resulted in the demise of various franchises including Dead Space and Medal of Honor. This is a crying shame because the Dead Space series originally evoked such a tense, atmospheric feel and eventually went onto become a generic third-person action game. On another note, EA decided to make their games exclusive to the Origin digital distribution service and gamers could no longer use their favourite client, Steam. Consumers are quite vocal in their distaste for the Origin system and prefer to have a huge catalogue of games in one client.

Arguably, there’s some logic in EA’s decision because they didn’t want to accept Valve’s cut for selling games on the Steam service. Although, I do wonder if the company would still be making more money on Steam due to the significantly higher user base. Whatever the case, Origin isn’t a terrible system and includes a number of interesting features such as the Great Game Guarantee. This allows the end-user to acquire a refund incase the game doesn’t meet their expectations or run properly. Every so often, EA also launches a promotion entitled, ‘On The House’ which grants access to a major release for FREE! The latest game to be added to the promotion is Need For Speed: Most Wanted.

While it’s technically part of the Need For Speed series, the game really is a modernized version of Burnout Paradise. This isn’t surprising as it’s made by Criterion Games, one of the most iconic racing developers ever created. Need For Speed: Most Wanted isn’t the best game I’ve played but it’s certainly a lot of fun hurtling around corners and avoiding oncoming traffic. Please be aware the promotion can end quite abruptly as shown by the recent Jade Empire deal.

EA Claims “We’re on a Journey to Regain The Trust of PC Gamers”

EA’s reputation in the gaming community is appalling and often perceived as a development studio obsessed by profits at the expense of making compelling games. Furthermore, the disappointment surrounding Star Wars: Battlefront, eventual demise of Maxis and a host of other failures hasn’t helped matters. Similarly, the advent of pre-order bonuses, DLC, microtransactions and anti-consumer measures all appear to be introduced by EA at some point. While other developers have engaged in similar activities, EA popularized it which makes consumers very suspicious of anything they produce. Despite ruining Maxis, one of the most iconic PC studios ever devised, EA appears to be trying to regain the trust of the PC gaming audience.

According to industry website MCV, Origin’s senior marketing director, Peter O’Reilly proclaimed:

“We are on a journey to regain the trust of the PC gamer,”

“Over the last couple of years we have focused on ensuring a great play experience from launch and bringing players a better experience on Origin with programs like the Great Game Guarantee, On the House, and now Origin Access.”

“We’re excited about the progress we’ve made, but are always pushing ourselves to innovate on behalf of players.”

While many decisions from EA have been absolutely atrocious, I have to commend them for the Origin refund policy. Arguably, this encouraged Valve to offer a similar service on the Steam platform, although their decision might have been more to do with European legislation. EA Access is also an interesting initiative and could provide good value-for-money. However, the majority of consumers judge EA on the basis of game releases, microtransactions and other business decisions.

The Origin platform is still disliked, because it’s not Steam, and forces users to install two clients. Even if Origin was the best system out there, it still wouldn’t help EA because their core games prioritize profit over gameplay. Don’t get me wrong, publishers exist to make money, but that shouldn’t happen by looking at a short-term gain, and ruining a number of historic studios.

EA Offers Game Subscription Service for PC

In recent years, digital platforms have become the go to for PC gamers. With services like Steam allowing quick easy access to an entire range of products, while also purchase security and more recently the ability to add custom content to games. What could be next for digital platforms? EA, the creators behind Origin, think they may have the answer in a new subscription service.

While available for over a year to console owners, Origin Access is now available to PC gamers. The benefits behind Origin Access include the ability to access the Vault. While this Vault won’t protect you from a nuclear fallout, it does provide you with a collection of games that will be free to play as long as you are an Origin Access subscriber. Currently only containing 15 games, EA state that their plan is for”more games are added over time”.

With a generation of crowd-funded games and indie studio releases, there has been a reduction in the number of demo’s that are available to people who just wish to try before they buy. Origin Access contains the feature “Play First Trials”, a selection of games that will be released by EA that you can play before they are even released, and if you purchase the game at a later date all your work is still there.

Giving you a 10% discount on top of any other discounts, people who frequently buy through Origin or like EA’s extensive catalogue may want to check out the Access scheme. With groups like EA and Amazon offering discount and early access schemes through subscriptions, could you soon see the same option come to Steam?

Star Wars Battlefront Receives Balance Patch

Star Wars Battlefront is possibly one of the most shallow games I’ve ever experienced and suffers from a severe lack of content. While the game’s visuals are awe-inspiring, it’s difficult to look past the unbalanced multiplayer, poor map selection and terrible character customization. This results in one of the most disappointing titles this year and raises questions about EA’s ability to properly honor the Star Wars saga. On the other hand, EA has just released a patch including balance tweaks, enhanced optimization and improved physics. Hopefully, this helps to create a more enjoyable multiplayer experience but I’m not hopeful.

Here is the complete patch notes in full:

  • General bug fixes for vehicles and physics improvements

  • Game modes balancing tweaks

  • HUD UI adjustments

  • Audio optimizations

  • General crash and stability fixes

  • Online traffic performance improvements

  • Various text fixes for all languages

  • General bug fixes for both Missions and Multiplayer

  • Legacy Controls should now work as intended

There’s no need to manually apply the update as it will automatically install via EA’s Origin client. I’d love to hear feedback on this particular update and if it makes the game more playable. I personally find it a repetitive mess which doesn’t reward good players. Furthermore, EA’s pricing with the digital deluxe edition and season pass leaves a lot to be desired.

Origin’s Beastly Gaming Laptop Packs in a Core i7 and Two GTX 980Ms in SLI

Florida-based PC manufacturer Origin has built a laptop set to make the eyes of even the most ardent desktop gamer water; the EON17-SLX packs in either a single desktop NVIDIA GeForce GTX 980 graphics card or two 8GB GTX 980M cards in SLI, an Intel Core i7 processor, and 32GB of RAM [4 x 8GB DDR4-2133 sticks) into its compact case. Origin also promises that, in future, a 64GB (2400MHz) model will be available.

The customisable laptop can be seriously overpowered by integrating an Intel Core i7 6700K Quad-Core 4.0GHz (4.2GHz TurboBoost) and Dual 8GB NVIDIA GTX 980M with G-SYNC in SLI, and then taking advantage of Origin’s professional graphics card and processor overclocking service.

The EON17-SLX comes with a 17.3-inch IPS true 1080p, 16:9 display which utilises NVIDIA G-SYNC technology for tear-free gaming and support for up to three displays simultaneously.

Despite being packed to the gills, there is also space for two 2.5-inch HDD or SSD drives, plus two SATA m.2 SSDs, both of which can be configured into a RAID 0 or RAID 1 array.

As far as connectivity goes, the EON17-SLX offers built-in Dual Killer E2400 gigabit Ethernet, Intel PRO Wireless AC 7265 WiFi, SuperSpeed+ USB 3.1 Type-C and SuperSpeed USB 3.0 ports, and Thunderbolt 3 for data transfer speeds of up to 40Gbps.

The Origin EON17-SLX is priced at around $2,000 for the top-end version.

EA Cancels Jade Empire: Special Edition Free Promotion Due to Technical Problems

PC gamers overwhelmingly prefer the Steam digital distribution client due to cloud saves, achievements, trading cards and the ability to store a huge library in one client. Unfortunately, EA decided to make their latest titles exclusive to Origin in a similar vein to Ubisoft’s Uplay. Although, Origin has improved in the past year or so and offers excellent customer support. Additionally, EA’s Great Game Guarantee provided refunds long before Steam implemented a similar system.

On another note, EA periodically gives away a number of iconic titles including Command & Conquer and Populus. The latest addition to this promotion is Jade Empire:Special Edition. This is one of Bioware’s most inventive creations and features a wonderful story. While it’s a pretty old title, this doesn’t detract from the superb experience and is well worth a look. Please remember the deal is only available for a limited time so there’s no time to waste! As you might expect, the game’s age means it should work fairly well on any modern computer, but we’ve included the minimum requirements just in case:

Minimum System Requirements

OS: Windows XP / Vista / 7 / 8 / 10
Processor:1.8 GHz processor or higher
Memory: 512 MB RAM (1 GB recommended)
Hard Drive: 8 GB HDD
DirectX: DirectX 9.0c-compatible sound card
Graphics card (NVIDIA): 256 MB VRAM or higher (ATI X600/GeForce 6800+ or better)
•Keyboard, mouse

What is your favorite Bioware game of all time?

UPDATE:

It seems a large number of customers encountered problems accessing the store and redeeming the free game:

EA has now reinstated the standard pricing and it’s unknown if this is a temporary or permanent measure.

EA Denies Data Breach After User Details Leak to Pastebin

Electronic Arts has denied that it has suffered a data breach following user account details being leaked and briefly posted to Pastebin. According to EA, its servers have not been compromised in any way, but it will still assess the leaked data to determine if it is genuine, and secure any at-risk accounts, probably in the form of a password reset.

EA’s statement reads:

“Privacy and security is our top priority at EA. At this point, we have no indication that this list was obtained through an intrusion of our account databases. In an abundance of caution, we’re taking steps to secure any account that has an EA or Origin user ID that matches the usernames on this list. As always, we encourage all players to safeguard their account credentials and use unique usernames and passwords on all online accounts.”

Security website CSO, which discovered the leak, notes that only a handful of the details for EA and Origin appeared to be valid, which suggests that the information posted to Pastebin could be outdated. While username, password, e-mail address, and purchased games were listed for many accounts, a high number had missing or corrupted information.

EA did suffer a confirmed server breach last year, which compromised over 40,000 EA forum accounts. The game publisher only admitted to the breach after a whistleblower revealed it first.

Where to Find the Best PC Gaming Deals!

Tired of paying full retail price for your games or waiting for the Steam Sale to roll around, only to find that most of the games that are on offer were the same games as the last sale? Well then, we’ve got a great guide to PC games deals for you, which could save you a small fortune and help you enjoy the latest games much sooner and for much less. Of course, there’s Steam, Origin and uPlay to pick from, but surely there are even more alternatives?


CD Keys

CD Keys are one of the most popular key reselling websites around and one of my own personal favourites having picked up a few great deals there over the last few months alone. Even better, the site lists more than just PC games and often has a 5% discount code available for liking their Facebook Page. Their stock updates quite a lot, so if your game isn’t on there, check back every day or so to see if it has become available. They even provide codes from various platforms such as Steam, Battle.net, GOG and uPlay, to name a few.

cdkeys


Humble Bundle

If you haven’t heard of this one, you’ve had your head under a rock for quite some time. Humble Bundle offers up some great gaming bundles, some lasting days, weeks and some that as just a few hours via their Humble Bundles pages, as well as the ever-growing Humble Store. Most of the keys are steam, but often you’ll also find mobile and other platform keys too. The bundles are mostly pay what you want, allowing for some seriously cheap deals, while their store relies on fixed prices, with regular discounts on popular titles.

Humble Bundle / Humble Store


Bundle Stars

That’s right, another bundle store, one that has been quickly growing on my radar and offering up better and better games at increasingly tempting prices. Humble Bundle may get a lot of the fame, but this one is certainly worth keeping on your bookmarks, as it offers some very wallet friendly gaming deals.

bundlestars


GOG (Good Old Games)

Don’t be fooled by the name, Good Old Games may offer a huge range of classic PC gaming titles, re-tweaked to ensure they run on modern operating systems, but they’re no stranger to new games either, such as The Witcher 3 which is proud to call GOG its home. The prices aren’t always the best on new games, but the older titles are an absolute steal and worth digging through. The best feature of GOG, however, is that all the games they sell there are DRM free, something that’s not to be sniffed at in today’s often heavily DRM-focused market.

GOG


Gamersgate

Gamesgate has years of history behind them, offering a wide range of gaming deals. It’s rarely the best-priced store, but when you’re shopping around, it’s always worth checking all the big deal sites as this one may be the winner for you. there’s plenty of regular discounts, as well as a range of games new and old that you may not find on other sites.

Gamersgate


Green Man Gaming

This is easily one of the most popular key reselling websites, with a solid reputation behind their name that’s made them one of the best-known game sites around. The thing that makes them the most attractive, is their regular deals, massive discounts and sales, often seeing titles reduced by as much as 95%. They also tend to do great deals around the time of Steam Sales, helping taking some of the wind out of Valve in those busy game buying periods.

Green Man Gaming


What’s your favourite gaming deals website? Let us know in the comments section below!

This Weeks Top PC Gaming Deals

Nobody likes paying more than they have to for things, that much is especially true for a lot of gamers, as we all know that retail launch prices of games tend to be quite expensive. Of course, we’ve got a huge range of sites out there offering deals and discounts on a virtually daily basis, so we’ve had a dig around the web for you to find you some of the best PC gaming deals around!

From indie gaming classics and newcomers to blockbuster AAA games that have come down in price, an MMORPG epic and even a new release! We’ve got a few great details going around at the moment and I’m sure there are many more still to be found. Remember, don’t spend too much of your money, because there’s often a Steam Sale towards the end of this month or at the start of November!

What games are you hoping to see discounted soon? Let us know in the comments and we’ll keep our eyes out for a deal!

Humble Indie Bundle 15 – Pay What You Want


Starting things off, we’ve got the ever popular Humble Bundle, offering up a nice collection of Indie games from $1 for the first four, or pay over the average of $7.20 to unlock even more! It’s certainly worth beating the average, as this will get you ten games, including the excellent Skullgirls + DLC, Planetary Annihilation and Xenonauts.

Get this deal on Humble Bundle

Aliens Collection (Steam) – £4.74


Some of the Aliens games have received noticeably better receptions than others, but for the most part they’re absolutely fantastic fun to play, especially if you’re a fan of the movies. So what better way to start off your collection of Aliens games, than with a big bundle that crams in Aliens Vs Predator, Aliens: Colonial Marines and a massive bundle of DLC to boot! That’s a huge saving and a whole lot of gaming to keep you busy for a few weeks.

Get this deal on Steam

The Elder Scrolls Online PC – £17.99/$27.40


Get ready to unleash one of the biggest MMORPG games of the year, with Elder Scrolls Online! Certainly one fans of the Elder Scrolls series won’t want to miss out on and also one of the most enjoyable MMO’s of recent years too. What’s even better is that you can pick the game up at a bargain price right now, making your adventures in Tamriel all that more affordable. As an added bonus, the game no longer has a mandatory subscription.

Get this deal on CD Keys

This War of Mine – £5.99


This War of Mine is a unique and very gripping survival sim, but changing from the usual soldier of death armed to the teeth, you take the role of civilians, struggling to survive in a besieged city, with no food, medicine and, of course, constant danger from the surrounding enemies. It’s a unique tale and one that certainly stand out from the crowd. Of course, you’ve little excuses to be missing out now, now at these prices! As an added bonus, the DLC is currently £0.79.

Get this deal on Steam

Dragon Age: Inquisition – Game of the Year Edition – £49.99


EA and their Original platform are not the best when it comes to deals, that much we’ve all known for some time. However, despite their slightly elevated launch prices the latest game on the Origin platform is a good deal. The Game of the Year edition of Dragon Age: Inquisition packs every bit of DLC, add-on content, deluxe edition chests, new weapons and so much more, making it the best version of Dragon Age: Inquisition to date, and also the easiest path to take for those who have yet to play the latest game in the series.

Get this deal on Origin

Dragon Age: Inquisition – Game of the Year Edition Now Available

The 2014 smash hit is showing no signs of slowing down, with gamers around the world enjoying the latest RPG epic. Of course, not everyone has played it yet and now that the Game of the Year edition is here, there has never been a better time to pick up Dragon Age: Inquisition!

The game now comes bundled with every piece of downloadable content made available since launch, giving you everything you need to enjoy the role of the Inquisitor.

Dragon Age: Inquisition – Game of the Year Edition includes:

  • Every DLC – This edition includes all the story and gameplay DLC content ever released, including Jaws of Hakkon, The Descent, and the recently released epilogue, Trespasser
  • All Official Add-Ons – Customize your inquisition further with specialized gear, legendary weapons, diverse mounts, and unique elements from every official add-on including: Spoils of the Avvar, Spoils of the Qunari, and the Deluxe Edition upgrades

“Winner of over 160 awards, including more than 130 Global Game of the Year wins, Dragon Age: Inquisition is set in an epic, dark fantasy world where players are empowered to shape and drive their experience. The game combines the storytelling legacy BioWare is known for with deep RPG gameplay, all on a brand new RPG game engine underpinned by EA’s cutting-edge Frostbite 3 technology.” – Bioware

The game is available for the Xbox One, PlayStation 4 and PC (via Origin) for $59.99.

Star Wars Battlefront Beta Date Confirmed

The sounds, the lasers firing and hitting everything but their target, the zoom of the speeder bike and pod racers as they flew past you. Everyone remembers them, once you have seen them (if you liked them or not) you were drawn to the shows as lights swirled around from the iconic weapons of the Jedi and Sith clashed. With the classic game series Star Wars Battlefront due an update courtesy of EA, the latest revelation is that the beta for the new release will be open to everyone, online and offline gameplay.

Included in the beta will be three distinct modes set on three planets, two of which are fairly iconic. First up you have 40 players fighting as Rebels vs the Empire on Hoth fighting to either destroy or protect respectively, then a quick flash across to Tatooine for a survival experience on your own or with friends to fight off everything from AT-ST’s to Tie Fighters. Finally set on the Sullust (a volcanic planet in the outer rim) will have two teams of 8 fighting over control of drop pods.

Excited yet? Then you will be overjoyed to hear that on Xbox One, Playstation 4 and Origin will all get access to the beta on October 8th, with the companion app giving you access to a strategic card game called Base command, with the ability to unlock weapons and credits for Battlefront.

Are you excited? Will you be supporting the Rebels or the Empire?

Thank you Star Wars EA for the information and the image.

Need For Speed PC Version Delayed Until Spring 2016

The latest Need for Speed game merges the single player and online aspects into a constantly-evolving, social experience, but this requires an always-online connection to EA’s servers. Therefore, it’s perfectly plausible for the game to be rendered useless in a few years time when EA switches off the servers. As a result, consumers have a skeptical attitude towards this particular title and worried about the always-online DRM. Furthermore, the developer, Ghost Games has just announced in a post that the PC version will be delayed until 2016. The company said in a statement:

“At Ghost, we’re united by one common passion… to deliver the best Need for Speed experience possible. And at every step of the development process we’re guided by our community. Whether that’s reading your comments on Facebook or Twitter, watching your videos on YouTube, or joining in with the discussion on Reddit, the conversation we’ve been having as fans of Need for Speed is enormously important and we’re working to reflect it in the game we’re building.”

“Part of the conversation includes hearing from our PC community that an unlocked frame rate in Need for Speed is a massive priority for you, and we fully agree. To deliver this, we’ve made the decision to move the PC release date to Spring 2016. Our PlayStation 4 and Xbox One release dates will remain the same, starting November 3, 2015 in North America and November 5 worldwide.”

“This decision on PC gives us the necessary development time to increase the visuals that we can deliver on PC. We will also include content updates that will have been released on console up to that time, making them available to all PC players from day one.”

This is a significant delay for the PC platform and bound to disappointment racing fans. Although, if the extended period is used to optimize the game properly, or significantly enhance the visuals, then it might be worth the wait. Ideally, I’d like to see an offline single-player mode included to evoke a sense of confidence in the game’s future.

Star Wars: Battlefront Leaked Alpha Footage Shows Hoth Assault

Footage from the closed alpha build of Star Wars: Battlefront has leaked, showing 10 glorious minutes of the Empire’s assault on the Rebel’s secret base on the ice planet of Hoth. The alpha testing, which began back in July and had thousands of applicants, was opened up to a few lucky EA Origin users in preparation for the game’s full release on 17th November.

https://youtu.be/BGRuSVpdWo8

The footage shows the 20 vs 20 Walker Assault on Hoth; Imperial Snowtroopers, flanked by hulking AT-ATs and Imperial probe droids, with TIE fighters swooping overhead, storm across snowfields towards the rebel base. We get a thorough look at the detailed map – full of snowy mountains, turrets, and trenches – and the soldier’s equipment during the fast-paced battle, including blasters and jetpacks.

Both Rebel and Imperial perspectives are showcased, and we even follow Snowtroopers as they enter the base through its large hanger bay. Sadly absent is the sight of a Snowspeeder taking down an Imperial walker with its grappling line, but we do get a glimpse of the level’s objectives, which includes taking out the Rebel communications uplink.

EA and DICE are planning to launch the beta version of Star Wars: Battlefront for testing through Origin in early October.

Thank you PCGamesN for providing us with this information.

GOG’s Steam Rival Goes Live Today

The wonderful online digital game store Good Old Games (GOG) is launching its own digital game distribution platform to rival Steam and EA’s Origin. GOG Galaxy goes live today, and a beta version of the client is available for download here. The standalone client shares much in common with Steam, Origin, and other rival platforms, offering achievements and friends lists, but GOG’s unique selling point is a firm stance against DRM.

GOG’s press release reads:

GOG Galaxy features one-click installation and auto-updates for its library of over 1000 titles, but it also stays true to GOG.com values: it’s all optional. Automatic updating can be disabled for any game; but if you leave it on and a patch breaks something, GOG Galaxy will offer its rollback feature to restore a previous version of the game. Gamers can also download a standalone, DRM-free backup copy of every game, so keeping purchases safe is easier than ever.

GOG can be taken at its word on this: the creators, associated with CD Projekt Red, developer of the Witcher games, are famously anti-DRM. GOG Galaxy sounds like the real deal, offering GOG’s impressive catalogue of games, and will be welcome competition to market leader Steam.

Thank you Kotaku for providing us with this information.

Grand Theft Auto 5 PC Users Faced with Login Problems over the Weekend

Rockstar’s Grand Theft Auto 5 has just hit the PC platform and it already had its fair share of problems. Users with ‘unique’ usernames have been extremely disappointed when attempting to install or play the GTA 5 title over the weekend, having been greeted with the “Rockstar update service is unavailable (code 1)” message.

By ‘unique’ usernames, we mean to say that users with characters outside the alphanumeric table are facing the issue described above. Now let’s stop and think about that for a second… really? I mean how in the world did you not see this coming? Going on a simple forum or scrolling through your list of Steam/Uplay/Origin/Windows/etc usernames reveals the “0b\/|0u$”. People have been creative with their usernames for ages now.

Rockstar Support provided some information on their website, which reads as following:

“We have identified an issue where players with Windows usernames that include characters not found in the table at the bottom of this page will likely run into difficulties when attempting to download, install, or play GTAV. We are currently working on a fix for this issue.”

The company’s support has even stated to have had temporary alternative for the issue, but it involves creating a fresh account. While this gave you access to the game, you wouldn’t have had any previous achievements, friends or stats as on your regular account. Even so, who would want to play on a temporary account and lose everything when they have to switch back to their old one?

A full list of supported characters, according to Rockstar, read as following: “A a B b C c D d E e F f G g H h I i J j K k L l M m N n O o P p Q q R r S s T t U u V v W w X x Y y Z z 0 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9”

This is now in the past though, since Polygon reported that connection issues are now resolved. However, Rockstar now seems to be investigating some possible progression losses, saves, items and characters that occurred along with the connection problems. Have you had any problems playing the game? Did you lose any progress or items? Let us know!

Thank you Polygon for providing us with this information

Nineties Classic Syndicate Available Free on Origin Now

Classic real-time strategy game Syndicate is available for free through EA’s digital distribution platform Origin. Syndicate, developed by notorious game developer Peter Molyneux under the Bullfrog banner, puts the player in charge of a team of four cyborgs tasked with wiping out the other syndicates on isometric cityscapes.

Syndicate is only free for a limited time, and depends upon the risible Origin platform, but as one of the best games of the Nineties, it’s worth grabbing while gratis.

Get Theme Hospital for Free!

Everyone loves free stuff and Origin is giving away Theme Hospital on the house. The simulator puts you in charge of designing and running this virtual hospital with the goal to turn cures into cash.

The Origin on the house offers only last for a short while, so better grab it while it’s free.

Theme Hospital isn’t the newest of games, it’s actually quite old and as such comes with some limitations such as 640×480 resolution, not the best audio track, limited levels, and miscellaneous bugs and glitches.

Fans to the rescue. You can find the CorsixTH project on GitHub that is set out to bring this game into the current time and fix the original issues. While the project is free and available to download, you’ll need an original game with the original graphics. So great timing now that Origin is handing out the game for free right now.

Origin Users Complain of Account Breaches

Users of Origin, EA’s digital game distribution portal, have reported unauthorized access to their accounts, with activity including game purchases, game playing, and in-game currency farming.

A number of users have complained about the abnormal activity on reddit, some after receiving e-mails notifying them that attempts at purchasing games have failed, when no such purchase had been attempted. Others noticed new game achievements being added from games they had not recently played.

According to EA, it “found no indication at this point of a breach of our Origin account database. Privacy and security of user account information are of the utmost importance to us.”

Back in November, hacker group DerpTrolling posted a selection of Origin usernames and passwords, bragging that it had many more, for a selection of different sites. The hackers claimed to possess over 7 million usernames and passwords; 1.7 million Origin accounts, 3 million Facebook accounts, 620,000 Twitter accounts, and even 1.2 million accounts related to the CIA domain.

Source: Electronista

SimCity 2000 Available for Free

Great news for city simulation aficionados: EA is offering SimCity 2000 for free until the end of Thursday. SimCity 2000 offers all the fun of the franchise, with none of the always-on DRM and server failures of SimCity 2013. The only bad news is, the game only available through EA’s much-derided Origin platform. Once downloaded, though, it can be played on offline mode, so you only need engage with Origin briefly.

Usually costing $5.99, SimCity 2000 is available for now, but there is no hint as to how long that will last. If you want it, head over to Origin now.

Source: VR-Zone

It Happened to Me: EA Origin Hacked, In-Game Content Purchased

Last night I was informed via email that I had purchased 3 different games from Origin, as well as an in-game item. This is not a common practice for me to purchase multiple games at one time, unless there is a Steam Sale going on. I opened the emails and my jaw hit the floor. Apparently I purchased 3 games while I was at work, without my computer in front of me.

I am the proud new owner of Assassin’s Creed Unity, Far Cry 4 and FIFA 15, as well as in-game points for FIFA 15. Personally I would never pay full price for any of these games, yet alone drop the insane amount of money on all of these games at one time.

  • Assassin’s Creed Unity $59.99
  • Far Cry 4 $59.99
  • FIFA 15 $49.49
  • FIFA Points 100 $0.99

Grand total: $170.46

I immediately called my credit card company and canceled my credit card and ordered a new one to be shipped out, $15.00 rush shipping. Once I was home I was able to contact EA fairly quickly, under 10 minutes of wait time. Current wait times are well over 30 minutes and that is because I was not the only one. EA hasn’t really come out and said that this is a huge issue, at least not yet. I was able to find some fellow gamers that are on the prowl and ready to help on the EA forums, below is what one gamer posted to help out.

Follow the Steps to contacting an EA Game Adviser to fix this:

1 Click here to go to the EA contact page. Note: Top left pick your Country :]

2 Select your game and platform, Then click next.

3 Select a topic and write about your problem.

4 Click next and select your preferred contact method.

5 Ask for a callback if you can as it is fast when I used it.

You can contact EA here and here. Start by reading this to get your account back. Then read this to make sure it never happens again. Also, make sure to enable Login verification.

Now of course I was one step ahead, I changed my password once I got home, and was able to figure everything out on my own. I even enabled the Login Verification, so I am all set. I also was reimbursed all of the charges for my credit card, now what about my headache? I don’t know about you, but I am quite frustrated, I had to jump through a bunch of hoops to get my money back, and had to spend money to make sure that I am 100% secure in the future. I feel that EA should do something to rectify the situation, so I contacted them to as a few more questions.

Shane: Do you have a rough estimate on how many people this has affected?

Narendra: I apologize, but we don’t have information regarding any malicious hacker.

Shane: So are you denying that there has been a malicious hacker that has purchased unwanted games on users Origin accounts?

Narendra: I apologize, I am denying your claims… But there is no information provided to us regarding any malicious hacker.

I informed Narendra that there is a post on their forum with said issue. Their response was still to deny the issue.

Narendra: I apologize for the inconvenience, but we don’t have the data related to it

Cold shoulder, well that is kind of sad, I figured I would give them a chance to redeem themselves. Oh well. I hope anyone who has been plagued by this issue is able to get their issues remedied. Stay safe!

Origin Mega Sale: Far Cry 3 for Just $7.48, and Much More

Origin is currently running their Mega Sale, with games up to 75% off.

The massive Mega Sale includes games like Mass Effect for $2.49, or Far Cry 3 for $7.98; but there’s also some older titles like Theme Hospital for $2.49 and Wing Commander IV for $2.49. Titanfall on the other hand, drops from $59.99 to just $29.99, so if you were holding out on Respawn’s mech FPS, you can grab it now cheap.

Source: Kotaku.

Battlefield 4 Free on Origin for 1 Week

The latest Battlefield is now free to play on Origin for a whole week!

That’s right, a whole week, 168 hours of EA’s latest FPS blockbuster for free. Don’t worry if you haven’t instantly jumped onto the download either. Origin have made it so the counter only starts to tick AFTER the game has downloaded and you launch it. As long as you have added it to your game library before 6pm BST on August 14th (that’s 10 AM PDT), you will still have the whole week. Also, if you decide to actually buy the game after the week is out all of your in-game progress will be saved.

This is the second promotion like this EA has done. The first was with Titanfall in June but they only offered it for 48 hours. It seems it must have been a success for them to do it again, this time for even longer. Its about time EA did something positive with BF4, its release hasn’t been very well received by the FPS community and with the latest BF4 DLC expansion, Final Stand, now being delayed till “Q3” maybe this will draw in some new customers for EA and get their older players back on.

To get Battlefield 4 you can download via Origin Here

Thanks to Game Spot for supplying us with this information.

Image courtesy of Battlefield.

Get Wing Commander 3 for Free on Origin

EA gets a lot of stick from gamers these days, and it’s understandable given that the company comes across as a soulless machine for squeezing money out of consumers. However this much is true of most companies and gamers seem quick to forget that companies like EA owe us nothing, sucks but it’s true. Of course every now and then, after having our wallets beaten, our games ruined and our online experiences poorly coded, EA and their not so loved Origin service like to give something back and today I think the freebie is a pretty cool one, Wing Commander 3.

That classic semi-point and click adventure / space simulator is a throw back to when the PC used to offer some very unique and creative experiences. The game features a pretty awesome cast, full voice acting and is a massive dose of retro fun.

Don’t forget that Wing commander is the series created by Chris Roberts, the guy who is working on the games spiritual successor, Star Citizen, something that is going very well since the new game raised just short of $50 million in crowd funding.

So what are you waiting for, jump back in time and see what all the fuss was about! Just head on over to the Origin client or web store and you’ll see the “on the house” banner.

 

Canada and NASA Team Up To Stop Asteroid That Could Hit Earth

Canada is said to be teaming up with NASA to work on its Spectral Interpretation Resource Identification Security Regolith Explorer mission, or OSIRIS-REx for short, having its main objective be the first US probe to return samples from an asteroid.

A $61 million laser-based system named the Laser Altimeter (OLA), provided by Canada, is said to be mounted on the side of the probe and will serve scientists with high-resolution 3D maps of the asteroid named Bennu. With the images, scientists are then able to search for a safe place to land the probe in order to collect samples.

The Bennu asteroid is said to be 500 meters in diameter and regularly crosses Earth’s orbit, posing a chance to will hit our planet each time it passes. Calculations have previously indicated that there is one chance out of 1,800 that Bennu will hit Earth in 2182. However, the calculations are still not that precise. This is why scientists are anxious about the project and are eagerly awaiting the samples from the asteroid.

The probe is said to be ready for launch in 2016 and will reach the asteroid in 2018. The mission the will consist of the probe hovering Bennu for approximately 8 months, time that will be used for searching for a safe spot to collect the samples. Once that has been found, the probe is said to hover a few meters above the surface of the asteroid and collect the samples, having a return to Earth date set for 2023.

While the mission aims to serve scientist with the knowledge needed to predict the asteroid’s true path, it is said that the project itself aims at providing a deeper understanding of how asteroids are connected to the origins of the solar system as well.

The public is said to also be invited for the ride by sending their names on the round-trop journey to the asteroid. It is said that the name will be on the spacecraft, which will remain in space long after returning the sample return capsule to Earth. Sign-ups are said to close on September 30th, 2014 and people who would like to have their names floating around in the galaxy could fill up the form here.

Thank you Yahoo News for providing us with this information
Image courtesy of Yahoo News

Battlefield 4 Dragon’s Teeth Out For Premium Members Today

Are you a Battlefield Premium member? Well if you are as of today you will be able to access the new Dragon’s Teeth DLC for Battlefield 4. The new DLC pack is available to buy and download via Origin’s Digital Distribution service on the PC. If you are not a Battlefield Premium service member than you will have to wait until July 29th to gain access to the same content.

The new DLC pack is also available for console users today but it will arrive in the following time windows:

  • Xbox One and 360 – 1:00 AM Pacific Standard Ttime to 5:00 AM PST/ 9:00 AM GMT to 1:00 PM GMT
  • PlayStation 4 and PS3 in North America – 2:00 PM PST to 6:00 PM PST/ 10:00 PM GMT to 2:00 AM GMT
  • PlayStation 4 and PS3 in Europe – 6:00 AM PST to 10:00AM PST/ 2:00 PM GMT to 6:00PM GMT

Battlefield 4 Dragon’s Teeth brings four new maps, new large vehicles, the new Chain Link game mode and a two-handed ballistic shield that can be used to protect against enemy fire. Dragon’s Teeth is the fourth piece of DLC offered to Battlefield 4 fans following on from China Rising, Second Assault and Naval Strike. The final piece of DLC, expected to be called Last Stand, will arrive soon.

Source: Softpedia

Image courtesy of EA/DICE

Investigation Started After EA Caught Spying Via Origin Client

EA representatives have begun an investigation after it was discovered that the Origin Client is file snooping. With privacy concerns being a hotter topic than ever before in light of scandals such as the NSA, this is a bad time for EA to be making such a mistake and it’s not like they’re winning over consumers with love and hugs recently, given that they’re loathed by many gamers for their business practices (although this much is true of a lot of games publishers).

A thread on Reddit discovered that the Origin software was snooping on users usage habits, when this was raised with EA they said that “they are trying to get to the bottom of this”, which is another way of saying “we are snooping, but we don’t know why”.

The screenshot below shows a record of what Origin is scanning, it’s a little garbled but Reddit loves a mystery and figured it’s using a ROT13 Cypher. A little decoding will reveal to you that Firefox, Chrome, iTunes, Foxit Reader, Torchlight, PCSX2 and a few other apps were logged by Origin. Why the hell are they watching our browsers and more importantly how much of these apps are they monitoring?

The seriousness of this allegation promoted an EA representative to leave the following statement:

“Thanks for bringing this to our attention. I’ve been working with our live operations team to fully investigate this issue. Origin is not spyware, and there should be no privacy snooping operations of any type. I hope we will be able to update you guys on the investigation soon, we’re gonna get to the bottom of this……Please message me any additional details or info that will help us investigate. We take claims like this very seriously.”

The terms of service for Origin do say:

EA collects non-personal information along with personal information when you actively provide it in the context of various online and mobile activities including online and mobile purchases, game registration and marketing surveys, for instance. In addition, we and other third parties use cookies and other technologies to passively collect non-personal demographic information, personalize your experience on our sites and monitor advertisements and other activities as described below.

The concern right now is just how much data and what those other technologies involve – how deep does the rabbit hole go, so to speak. Why are we not better informed and why is there no opt-out. In legal terms, EA will no doubt have covered their asses. After all, the ToS state that if you don’t want to use this technology, do not play. What will matter now is how EA handle the situation, as they could be on the brink of yet another PR disaster.

Thank you WCCFTech for providing us with this information.

Image courtesy of WCCFTech.