Origin is a digital distribution and digital rights management system from EA where users can buy and publish computer games through the internet. The service allows users to download their purchased games directly to their PC or Mac using the Origin client.
While Origin platform has it's store front, it also offers some free games in various ways that are not included in regular selection of it's game library. It has demo and beta section in which they offer demos, betas and trials of their games. It also has On the House section in which it has limited time offers for users to claim a game for free. These games change periodically and have included such games as Jade Empire, Command & Conquer Red Alert 2, Dragon Age: Origins and Syndicate. Game Time section offers users to play game for free for limited time. This timer starts from the first time game is launched and after the timer, player must purchase the game to continue playing it.
Origin was formerly known as the EA Store and EA Download Manager, but on June 3rd 2011, the EA Store was reopened under the new name, taken from the defunct games studio, Origin Systems.
It has been announced that Origin will be the only way that consumers will be able to play Star Wars: The Old Republic. You will also be required to log-in to Origin to play Battlefield 3.
At Gamescom 2012, Peter Moore announced that achievements would be coming to Origin later on in 2012. Details were not disclosed.
Achievements have since been added to Origin, however only three games are currently supported: Dead Space 3, Mass Effect 3 and Battlefield 3. As you earn achievements in these games you will receive 'Origin Points' which will appear on your profile page as well as below your username on the main client window.
As noted on the Battlefield 3 page, the game and the service are currently under investigation for violating German (and most likely other European) privacy laws. EA requires registration under a real name and tracks both Hard- and Software of the host PC as well as an IP-address, forcing gamers into a total transparency if they want to play games that enforce the use of Origin to play. A recommendation by German radio station 1live is to trade in the game citing that it violates federal law or play one of the console ports until the issue is resolved.