Publisher Electronic Arts tried selling both digital and physical games through its Origin service, but most customers heavily favored one of those options.
EA announced today that it is dropping physical games from its distribution network. Starting Friday, Origin customers will only have the option to download software. The Battlefield 4 publisher explained that only around one out of every 100 customers ever used Origin to buy a packaged disc.
“What does this mean for you? If you’re among 99 percent of our users, absolutely nothing,” Origin spokesperson Craig Harris wrote in a blog. “Your shopping experience hasn’t changed one single bit. But if you’re that 1 percent who still desires a physical collection, we want to let you know that Origin won’t be able to fulfill that need beginning April 4. We’ll still be here when you transition your gaming habits to the wonders of digital downloads.”
Origin is EA’s attempt to have control over the digital distribution of its games. The company previously used services like Valve’s Steam to sell its PC titles online, but EA figured it had big enough properties to justify its own service.
In 2011, EA introduced Origin and started pulling some of its games off of Steam and other services. By selling its own games, EA no longer at to share sales revenue with Valve. In late 2011, EA released Battlefield 3, which required Origin. EA has mandated an Origin install for all of its PC games ever since.
Ubisoft’s Uplay service, which is its digital-distribution network, still sells physical games for consoles, but it is digital only for PC.