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It looks like EA’s ‘On the House’ freebies are over [Update]

Before Origin Access Premier goes live, the page goes dark

Battlefield 1 - no man’s land EA DICE/Electronic Arts
Owen S. Good is a longtime veteran of video games writing, well known for his coverage of sports and racing games.

Electronic Arts’ “On The House” program, which gives out free, classic games on PC, appears to be over. The page for the promotion now links over to EA’s Origin Access home.

The subtle change comes shortly before the launch date for Origin Access Premier, which was announced to investors in the quarterly earnings call yesterday. Going live on July 30, it’s an upgraded software-as-a-service subscription that will give PC users new titles five days before their street date, somewhat similar to the EA Access subscription offered to Xbox One customers.

Origin Access Premier will cost $14.99 a month or $99.99 a year.

We’ve reached to EA to ask what’s going on, and to make sure this isn’t some website redirection error. But the timing next to Origin Access Premier’s announcement sure looks like the free lunch has come to an end.

On the House delivered 35 titles between 2014 and 2018, the last one being Peggle back in late April and early May. Titles were available for a limited span, most often a month or two but sometimes a lot longer or shorter. Premium downloadable content was also available through On the House, mainly through the Battlefield franchise.

Origin Access is the companion program to the EA Access subscription available on Xbox One. For $4.99 per month, or $29.99 a year, subscribers can avail themselves of 40 different PC titles, ranging from classics like Mass Effect to more recent big-timers like Battlefield 1. However, those titles are usually added well past their launch date, whereas Origin Access Premier will deliver them to subscribers more immediately, somewhat like the Xbox Game Pass program that went live in March.

Update: An Electronic Arts spokesman replied:

Origin On the House has been retired and games will no longer be offered through the program. This change won’t affect any games players downloaded from the service prior to that date — those are theirs to keep forever.

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