Jan 182012

Today, Bioware announced that the Mass Effect 3 demo will be released on February 14th on the PC, Xbox 360 and PS3.  The demo promises 1-2 hours of single player content as well as access to two co-op levels.  The online  co-op portion will not open up until February 17th, unless you’re a BF3 customer, which then it will unlock immediately on the 14th.  Now you have the perfect excuse to completely ignore the sham of a holiday, Valentine’s day!

Don’t forget that EA is doing some cross-promotion of their two upcoming action RPGs through their demos.  Play the Kingdoms of Amalur:Reckoning  demo to unlock exclusive armor and a weapon in ME3 and play the ME3 demo to unlock “Omniblade daggers” in KoA:R.  The Kingdoms of Amalur demo is out now on Steam, Origin, XBL and PSN and is worth checking out if you’re looking for a game with an Elder Scrolls influence that focuses on action and combat.  That demo also offers a sizable chunk of gameplay, again in the 1-2 hour range.  2 pre-release demos that offer a significant length of gameplay that are both available on the PC?  That definitely bucks the trend over the past couple years.

Jan 162012

If you’ve been paying attention to the EA / Steam battle, you could have guessed that Mass Effect 3 wasn’t going to be on Steam, regardless of the fact that Mass Effect 1 and 2 are currently available.  If you were really in tune to the situation, you would have also guessed that Mass Effect 3 would require Origin to play on the PC.  Bioware has confirmed both facts over the weekend, explicitly stating that Origin will be required even if you buy a boxed copy and that it wouldn’t be available on Steam “at this time.”

While both of those things are true of BF3, and did cause some outrage, it didn’t seem to hurt the game’s sales or popularity online, and I suspect a similar outcome for Mass Effect 3.  Both games are high profile with a large following, and even though the Origin requirement will cause complaints, the number of players boycotting the game due to this alone will be low.

Origin still feels clunky even months after its wide scale debut with BF3, still calls itself a beta in its window title bar, and still shows me games that have permanently expired like the BF3 alpha and beta tests.  At this point, it’s added no value for me and only serves as EA’s latest attempt at always-on DRM that just so happens to come bundled with a game store and a friends list.  What’s your opinion of Origin after you’ve been using it (or not) for the past few months?

Bioware source.