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Origin is a digital distribution system created and maintained by Electronic Arts for the distribution of video games, both published by Electronic Arts, and by others. Origin Studios was originally acquired by EA, and later renamed EA Origin; the Origin name was then used for both the online store and client digital platform. The client can also be used to access the Origin Store specific to that user's geographic location.
Functionally, the software is very similar to Steam, with patching and game launching handled by the client, and built-in support for Downloadable Content, including the ability to buy DLC directly from the game's store page. Like Steam, the Origin client also has an overlay function accessible in-game. The client supports purchases using real-world currencies, or formerly with BioWare points (that were themselves purchased using real-world currencies, until they were phased out). The client also supports Origin-specific achievements, and has access to Origin's friend system. The client also include a chat client where friends can communicate; this has both text and voice support.
Origin will be replaced by an all new app — EA Desktop — in the near future.