EA’s Origin platform is finally making its way to the Mac, starting with an open alpha release that’s available to download from today. Although it’s open to the public, only “a few thousand users” in North America and the United Kingdom will gain access to it, according to EA — those who get in will be gifted a free copy of Bookworm, a popular word-puzzle game from PopCap.
Because this alpha is only available to a few thousand users, you’ll want to download and install it as soon as you can if you want to test it out. EA hasn’t stated whether it will be opened up to more users as testing phase progresses, so you could miss out if you don’t sign up quickly.
EA says that’s Origin for Mac will offer gamers the same experience they get with the Windows version, with features like cloud storage, auto-patching, friends lists, and more. It will also include the Origin Store so you can purchase new titles, but that isn’t yet live in this alpha trial.
“Rest assured, the store will be live — with a great catalog of EA and partner titles — when we formally release the client,” the company explains in a post on its blog.
You will, however, be able to add non-Origin titles to your library, use the Origin In Game overlay, chat with friends across different platforms and games, and continue your saved progress from any Origin-enabled Mac. So that alpha users can test out these features, EA is giving away a free copy of Bookworm to everyone who gains access.
EA is encouraging alpha testers to provide feedback on this release. You’ll find a feedback button in your games library, which you can use to report bugs and share your thoughts. That’s the whole point of a test release, after all. The more bugs you report, the more EA can fix prior to its public debut.
Origin is compatible with Macs running OS X 10.6.8 and above, with an Intel Core 2 Duo processor or better. You can download your alpha copy from the source link below.
Apple’s Mountain Lion operating system has Game Center, its own gaming platform, built-in, of course. Combined with the Mac App Store, this allows gamers to purchase new titles, see global leaderboards, compete with friends, and collect achievements. The problem with Apple’s solution is that it’s exclusive to Mac and iOS devices, and it hasn’t really taken off.
Steam, which is a cross-platform service, is also available on the Mac, and it’ll be Origin’s biggest competition. It already has a large library of games from countless different publishers, many of which can be found at reduced prices. What’s more, Steam’s sales are some of the best around for gamers.