Origin’s Need for Speed: Most Wanted Foul Up

Last week, my Xbox Live Gamertag became linked with EA’s Origin service. Whether I wanted an account or not, I now had one as a requirement for online access to Medal of Honor. That makes playing the game a three-step process, first being Xbox Live Gold, second being the online pass, and the third being Origin. It’s remarkably redundant.

Still, I was one of two people who enjoyed Medal of Honor Warfighter. It was worth it I guess.

This week, in steps Criterion’s awesome interpretation of Need for Speed. This sequel/not a sequel to Most Wanted is spectacular, and unfortunately, it’s locked to Origin. By locked, I mean that literally.  Attempting to utilize even single player features, including challenging best times and billboards “owned” by my friends list, requires Origin. Fine, right? I have an account, it’s linked, so off we go.

Except not.

Origin’s interface within Most Wanted doesn’t allow for log-ins as far as I can tell; the expectation is if the account is linked, there’s no need. If not, it expects me – nay, forced me – to create a new account, but of course, my ID is taken… by me. To ensure this wasn’t failure on my side, I logged into the Origin web client with my ID and found it to be working fine. The workaround? I have no idea.

For two days I browsed the city of Fairhaven with no connection to the outside world. There was no other choice. Each time a multiplayer or Autolog selection was made, the Origin icon would pop up, my Gamertag in the space to select as an ID, and then an error was given based on the ID already being in their system. I posted on forums to no avail. I was alone in this odd little hiccup.

With no recourse and time to whip up a review, I created yet another Origin account linked to my Gamertag. Now I have two, and I worry about the repercussions this will create with future EA games over Xbox Live. The inconvenience isn’t honestly worth it, especially since it’s utterly pointless to need such a link up anyway.

Then, I wonder about those less persistent, or without a deadline. How frustrated are they? Why should they be? In what universe does it make sense to need a multi-step process to play a game online? Microsoft caved to EA’s demands when they launched Xbox Live, allowing the company to handle their own servers, while the rest run through peer-to-peer services. That decision has created infinite repercussions for the player, from down servers despite Live being functional, games that no longer support any online multiplayer, online passes, and now the intrusion of Origin.

Microsoft undoubtedly didn’t see the monster they were creating. No one did. Now, it’s biting the consumer, and that means it’s gone too far.