EA to tackle Steam with Origin

Publishing giant EA announced something big today; a digital-download service to rival Steam.

Named Origin, the service will launch at 9am PST, replacing the old EA Store. The beta application will be available to download from the site. It will offer games from both EA and their partners program, but the real money is in the exclusives; Origin is the only place you’ll be able to download BioWare’s highly anticipated MMO, The Old Republic, when it launches later in the year.

Other upcoming EA titles such as Need for Speed The Run and Battlefield 3 will have exclusive content offered through the service. Throw in a mobile section for upcoming EA smartphone games (again, like the mobile version of Battlefield 3), social applications like friends lists and Facebook integration, and you’ve got a promising new way to download games.

More than 150 games are available at launch, meaning a good amount of EA’s back catalog will be covered. Here’s hoping we see a lot more from Origin this E3.