EA Unveils ‘Origin,’ A Direct-To-Consumer Digital Store For Mobile And PC

When we recorded our podcast yesterday (which will be released shortly), we said EA was one of the most progressive game publishers out there. It’s investing the most in the digital future, especially in the direct-to-consumer phone and social realm. This morning, it made us look like total geniuses with the announcement of “Origin,” a digital download direct-to-consumer service set to hit PC and mobile devices in the near future.

News of Origin is still in the early going, but here’s what we know. On the PC, it’ll offer a similar experience to that of Valve’s Steam platform. Like Steam, you’ll be able to grab digital versions of retail games through a chunk of UI that connects you to a store and your friends. Unlike Steam, you’ll be able to order physical versions of games, too, much like you could via the old EA Store.

You can check out a beta build of the application here if you so desire.

On the mobile side, Origin will be a “mobile platform that gives you access to your profile and lets you connect and play with friends in EA’s leading smartphone titles,” according to the EA Web site. EA namedrops Scrabble [$2.99 / HD] and a mobile variant of Battlefield 3, though it’s up for grabs what other popular titles Origin will include on and after launch.

We’ve got some questions about the mobile branch of the service. The wording implies that it’s a straight-up third-party store, which is something we’re not sure if Apple will allow. But if it’s like, say, the Pogo Games [Free] app, EA will be in the free and clear, though then there’s a question of how fleshed out Origins’ games are destined to be.

EA makes it clear that it’s not going to talk anymore on the subject until E3 begins, so stay tuned until next week. E3 kicks off on June 7, 2011.