EA Reveals Origin For iOS, Basically Xbox Live

Since EA revealed its intentions to bring Origin to the App Store, we’ve been wondering how it will be implemented and what it will do for enthusiasts. Those questions were kind of answered at EA’s Summer Showcase event in San Francisco earlier this afternoon. In a nutshell, it’s an Open Feint-like interface that sits on top of games. It’ll have its own high score rankings and achievements, it’ll demand its own friends list, and it’ll allow you to launch other EA titles from the interface without having to switching to your dashboard.

Also, Origin will be able to read cross-platform cloud save data. You’ll be able to pick up an Origin game on iOS, Facebook, or Android, then quit, and theoretically pick it back up again on any of these platforms. Scrabble will be a game with this feature and it’ll also boast cross-platform multiplayer.

The cloud-saving is the super interesting feature, though the friends lists, while separate from Game Center and all the other game or service-specific friends lists you’ve been building for years, will allow you to see what your pals are doing with their PC Origin accounts as well as their iOS accounts. That’s neat. I think.

Origin is EA’s attempt to cut out the middleman in the PC digital distribution space, and it appears like it’s poised to try to do the same thing with this iOS extension. I’m not sure if closing off the pre-existing networking functionality that Game Center provides is the best move, but then again, EA never bothered with that service in the first place.

In this 1UP story, Need For Speed: Shift 2 was mentioned as one of the demos shown at the event. In that game, Origin usage will grant players access to more racing tracks and, hilariously, in-game cash. Following that logic, it appears as though Origin usage will be incentivized, but not mandatory, which is a good move considering the ire I’m sure this service is about to drum up.

UPDATE: Our information on the achievements part of Origin might have been bad. We’re following up with EA this morning to check.

So, what do you think? Is Origin something you’re looking forward to or would you rather EA just use and leverage Game Center?