A 'closer' look at Origin.

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A 'closer' look at Origin.

Post by The_gh0stm4n on Mon 20 Oct 2014, 01:04

Hello all,


First off, I wasn't sure where to put this, so I put it in the "PC Games" forum; feel free to move the thread elsewhere if needed. Anyhow, since we frequently seem to be 'confronted' with EA's "Origin"-client, in a variety of different issues, I think a closer look at this piece of software and (some) policies behind it should be undertaken. 

Note that the following is barely more than just my personal impression and interpretation of this issue, from the average consumer's point-of-view. I will also cite a few third-party resources, in drawing the whole "picture".


1) Starting with Origin's handling of "personal data", we can find some interesting details in Origin's official EULA (End User Licence Agreement), which can be found here


EA wrote:Origin collects a limited amount of information needed to provide you with excellent, leading edge service that allows you to purchase, download, access and play games and game content, connect online with other gamers and directly provide content and software updates.  For instance, the information collected allows Origin to understand if the Application is working properly around the world.  The information is also used to identify and fix software bugs as they arise.  No information such as pictures, documents or other personal data unrelated to the Application’s performance on your system is accessed or collected.

Right at the beginning of the EULA is the "declaration of consent", and you find the mysterious expression "limited amount of information", and in order to "learn more", we need to scroll further down and read on.



EA wrote:You acknowledge and agree that the Application may use information regarding your computer, hardware and operating system to create an anonymous machine identifier for purposes of validating your license rights and updating the Application. Information accessed for this purpose is not stored in retrievable form


EA wrote:2.         Information Collected By Automated Means
 
In addition to personal information described above in the Consent Declaration as well as information that you provide Origin directly, Origin collects non-personal data such as Application usage statistics (for instance, if and when you experienced unsuccessful installation), operating system (such as service pack, drivers and support DLLs such as DirectX version), information about hardware types as well as CPU information. 
(...). No information such as pictures, documents or other personal data unrelated to the Application’s performance on your system is accessed or collected.  The collection and use of information by Origin helps ensure that you are able to access your games with as little technical difficulty as possible and are able to enjoy the best experience EA has to offer.

"Anonymous machine identifier" ? Oh, and it is very calming that the information collected is "not stored in retrievable form". Assuming that these servers operate autonomously, there will still be human beings looking after the servers, from time to time at least. And that means, someone might get a look at your information. Whether that's likely to happen, is (of course) a different issue. But let's go on.

An older article, here, even goes a step further.


cinemablend wrote:And while there has been no proof that Origin accesses your e-mail accounts or pulls up all the Censored sites you’ve been secretly visiting while the Mrs. is fast asleep, it does however scan your computer for EA related software, products and a few other things. 

What’s more is that according to PC Games and another nifty user investigation (with the original thread from the forum having been removed by moderators, of course), the analysis found that Origin will scan your entire PC and collect certain kinds of data to send data back and forth to EA to check whether serial numbers and product keys match up, whether said keys are up-to-date or whether or not they are legit, as well as activity performed with other software -- apparently for marketing purposes. (...)


Take that as you will, but for me, this sounds highly disturbing. And yes, I'm aware that "most software nowadays" will collect data of some kind, to be sent back-and-forth, but this is no excuse honestly.




2) Another common question that tends to come up is the one about using Origin accounts (with legit serial keys) to get pirated games running. The question is about potential account bans.

I was a bit surprised not to find too much information about the issue on the net, besides some very general statements from EA, here and here

According to the EULA, there is this:


EA wrote:E.  Reservation of Rights and Restrictions.  (...)  Except, and only to the extent that may be permitted under applicable law, you may not decompile, disassemble, or reverse engineer the Application by any means whatsoever, or alter, modify, enhance, or create a derivative work of the Application.  You may not remove, alter, or obscure any product identification, copyright, or other intellectual property notices in the Application or software delivered through the Application.

The underlined passage - in my opinion - could be interpreted in a way that disallows using Origin accounts to get pirated games running (e.g. the currently circulating Sims 4 cracks, which require you to have an Origin account). It could be seen as a "derivative" work based on Origin.

Actual reports of accounts getting banned for that seem to be pretty rare though (at least I couldn't find much interesting about it). In any case, I'd strongly recommend you only use FAKE Origin accounts (with no legit serial keys), for running pirated games, if needed.



3) There are some people that like to share their Origin-accounts with other people. So these "other people" then log in from their computers with the credentials from a legit user. Needless to say, this behavior is unwanted, in general. In the EULA again, there is this:


EA wrote:1.  License Grant and Terms of Use.
 
A.  Grant.  (...)  Any commercial use is prohibited.  You are expressly prohibited from sublicensing, renting, leasing or otherwise distributing or assigning the Application or rights to use the Application.  

I would now recommend not to share Origin log-in details with "too many" other people, if you really want to do that at all, that is. Sharing with one or two other people that you trust well (!) might be OK. But more people than that will raise suspicion sooner or later. EA can see from what IP addresses and computers an Origin account is logged in from.




The conclusions, again, can be summed up like this:


I.) Be aware that Origin might collect all sorts of data from your computer ! At this point, making more suggestions beyond that wouldn't be feasible...but you may consider refraining from Origin completely then, if you're too afraid of that.


II.) DO NOT use your precious Origin accounts (with legit serial keys) to get pirated games running. Always make FAKE Origin accounts for purposes like that.


III.) If you really want to "share the love" (i.e. your Origin accounts) with other people you like and trust, please do not share the information with more than 1-2 people. 


And that's it from me ! Thanks for reading this, and feel free to post any other views on that, or any corrections, if I'm wrong somewhere. Smile  
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Re: A 'closer' look at Origin.

Post by stabitha666 on Mon 20 Oct 2014, 04:58

WOW.
You did some extensive research into this.
Scary stuff to be honest. Almost like spyware in a way...



(If i missed something..sorry..I skimmed...i felt dumb today.. Oh my... )
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Re: A 'closer' look at Origin.

Post by The_gh0stm4n on Mon 20 Oct 2014, 18:22

@stabitha666 wrote:WOW.
You did some extensive research into this.
Scary stuff to be honest. Almost like spyware in a way...



(If i missed something..sorry..I skimmed...i felt dumb today.. Oh my... )


It's OK, you don't have to read everything in "one turn". Razz  

Originally, there was a statement in the EULA, that Origin accounts, that were "inactive" for 2 years, could *possibly* be deleted by EA. But that ruling was removed again. 


As for the spyware thing, what's interesting is the part about "usage statistics", which Origin seems to record, among other stuff. I wonder if Steam does similar things (that would have to be in another topic though)...
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Re: A 'closer' look at Origin.

Post by Misfit203 on Tue 21 Oct 2014, 00:14

I just got the pirated sims 4 update 4 and installed it, then when i started the game it said some items have been removed from my game due to either the items dont exist or i'm not licensed to have them. think this must be Origin's answer to pirated store content in the sims 3. i'm guessing it probably took away the pre-order DLC. but i don't know for sure. but i'm sure we will see much more of this in the future. wonder how this will effect the use of future Expansion and stuff packs.

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Re: A 'closer' look at Origin.

Post by The_gh0stm4n on Tue 21 Oct 2014, 22:21

@Misfit203 wrote:
I just got the pirated sims 4 update 4 and installed it, then when i started the game it said some items have been removed from my game due to either the items dont exist or i'm not licensed to have them. think this must be Origin's answer to pirated store content in the sims 3. i'm guessing it probably took away the pre-order DLC. but i don't know for sure. but i'm sure we will see much more of this in the future. wonder how this will effect the use of future Expansion and stuff packs.


That's a bit off-topic actually, but a G4TW release will come soon. Smile  That one should have the latest patch and the DLC included (but no 100% warranty on that, since we're still figuring out the details).
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Re: A 'closer' look at Origin.

Post by Misfit203 on Wed 22 Oct 2014, 03:11

only reason i brought it up was because of origin taking away objects which til now was odd to me, got me wondering how that will effect the future of the franchise

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Re: A 'closer' look at Origin.

Post by The_gh0stm4n on Wed 22 Oct 2014, 05:14

@Misfit203 wrote:only reason i brought it up was because of origin taking away objects which til now was odd to me, got me wondering how that will effect the future of the franchise


In some games, the same happens when you update pirated releases: when you start the game after the update, you'll get an Origin prompt for a serial key. 

G4TW's base game release won't require Origin, and assuming this will continue with the other expansions, I guess there's no reason to worry about that. But yes, only time can tell.
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Re: A 'closer' look at Origin.

Post by Anarchy on Sun 12 Apr 2015, 22:38

Nothing Steam hasn't been doing for a while now. And considering how badly Steam runs after it's been bloated with stupid virtual economy features (cards, market, trading, etc) I think I wouldn't mind buying games on Origin...

Well you know, assuming I wouldn't mind buying EA games in the first place.

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Re: A 'closer' look at Origin.

Post by The_gh0stm4n on Mon 13 Apr 2015, 00:35

@Anarchy wrote:Nothing Steam hasn't been doing for a while now. And considering how badly Steam runs after it's been bloated with stupid virtual economy features (cards, market, trading, etc) I think I wouldn't mind buying games on Origin...

Well you know, assuming I wouldn't mind buying EA games in the first place.


Hello,


Of course, the things I said in the opening post *on the whole*, will also apply to those other game clients like Steam or UPlay. But still:

Origin (and UPlay) = Steam knockoffs. Sooner or later Origin will also have the same "functions and features" like Steam. The way things look though (and I don't think the trend is going to change), more and more games evolve around these game clients, meaning that should you really want to buy a legit game, there won't be a way around the game clients, in most cases. 
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Re: A 'closer' look at Origin.

Post by Anarchy on Mon 13 Apr 2015, 19:13

Carlos wrote:Of course, the things I said in the opening post *on the whole*, will also apply to those other game clients like Steam or UPlay. But still:

Origin (and UPlay) = Steam knockoffs. Sooner or later Origin will also have the same "functions and features" like Steam. The way things look though (and I don't think the trend is going to change), more and more games evolve around these game clients, meaning that should you really want to buy a legit game, there won't be a way around the game clients, in most cases. 

No doubt. That's why I'm still using Steam, sticking with the enemy I know.

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