The new EA app replacing Origin is still a launcher you’ll only ever use when forced to

The new EA app replacing Origin is still a launcher you'll only ever use when forced to

Electronic Arts have formally launched their new store client doodad after a long open beta, replacing the much-maligned Origin with something they refer to as “the EA app” (its actual name is only “EA”). They say it’s faster and better. I think maybe it is? But it doesn’t really matter, as long as it’s not a disaster, because it’s not like you’re using it unless you have to anyway. Just like Origin before it, the new EA app is an inconvenience you must accept to play the EA games which require it, and beyond that it is useless. It does an okay job of that.

“The EA app is our fastest and lightest PC client to date,” EA claim. “With the new streamlined design you will easily find the games and content you’re looking for and discover your new favorite games. With automatic game downloads and background updates you can ensure that your games are ready to play when you are.”

Perhaps? I think it feels a bit faster? I’m not sure. I only ever open it when I need to for a game which requires it. I myself switched from Origin to the beta app because it was needed to play EA games on PC Game Pass. Sure, let’s say it doesn’t feel strikingly worse, maybe?

In terms of how it looks, your game library is still displayed as rows of big box art cubes, rather than a helpful form like a straight list. My own library still includes the ghostly greyed-out expired Battlefield 2042 Open Beta which I can neither install nor remove from the list (I think Origin had that option?). That feels neither fast nor streamlined but then, what does that matter when I’ll only ever launch the app with a specific intent.

You can also now link your friends lists from Steam, Xbox, and PlayStation, but I’m not sure why that’s useful in software I will only ever launch when a game requires it.

I can tell you that the issue which always made Origin slow to me still remains: no matter how many times I tell it to remember my login, it will soon forget and log me out. Seeing as I will only ever open the EA app when a game requires it, needing to also launch and log into my password manager to retrieve my EA credentials is by far the biggest source of slowness.

Sure, I guess that’s a homepage

If you judge the EA app as a launcher and as a storefront, it is bland, featureless, and entirely forgettable. It is outclassed by its rivals in every way. You would only ever use if you were forced to. But you are forced to use it to play most of EA’s games (and I cannot imagine buying a non-EA game through it), so let’s judge it as that: an unavoidable inconvenience. By that metric, I want the app to act basically pointless. I want it to appear quietly when necessary and beyond that, I never want to touch, see, or think about it.

It’s irksome when the app opens up on its homepage after I close a game because hey, no, I closed the game, that was the only use I had for you, and that’s over now. It’s irksome when I then close that window and my PC dings with a pop-up notification saying “The EA app is running and has been minimized”. I know. Shut up. If we have to use it, make it as invisible and frictionless as possible. So it’s extra irksome that when I am required to interact with the app, it will likely have forgotten my damn login.

This isn’t like 2K with their new 2K Launcher, mind. 2K last year started wedging that into games which had never used it, offering no benefit while adding clutter and even breaking some games. With EA, hey, they’ve largely required a bad client for a decade now, this is simply the same arrangement under a new name.

Not every new game published by EA requires their client. When EA resumed releasing new games on Steam after an eight-year huff (during which they did put some old games on GOG), many did still require Origin on top of Valve’s own store client. But the Steam versions of the new F1 racing games—which EA publish since buying Codemasters—don’t require Origin on top. And it seems the Dead Space remake might not on Steam either. I hope this continues, and I further hope they release more games on stores which mandate no client.

You can download the EA app from its site for Windows (Macs are staying on Origin). More likely, it’ll happen to end up on your PC when some EA game you want to play requires it.