Publisher EA has today launched a direct rival to leading PC digital distribution portal Steam.
Called Origin and described as "direct-to-consumer gaming platform", the etailer launches with over 150 titles to choose from. It will also be the only outlet from which certain limited editions of EA titles such as Battlefield 3, Star Wars: the Old Republic and FIFA 12 can be purchased.
Customers can also download the Origin beta application – a Steam-rivalling desktop client that as well as offering easy access to content will also offer friends networking.
A mobile version of the client will also be available and will support current EA Mobile hits such as Scrabble.
"We’re committed to offering consumers direct access to great content and community in a way they have never experienced before," EA CEO John Riccitiello stated.
"Today we’re launching Origin.com and the Origin beta application. Over time, Origin will grow with new functionality and unique new content that consumers can’t get anywhere else."
EA’s senior vice president of Global Online David DeMartini added: "Origin is a game service with two fundamental features. 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.
"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. From exclusive demos to full-game downloads, Origin is the place consumers will go for the best game experiences."