EA has shut down its On the House program for PC games. Accessible via the company’s Origin website, it allowed users to get classic EA PC games free of cost. Now the On the House page redirects you to EA’s Origin Access section. Origin Access is EA’s subscription-based gaming service. From 2014 to 2018 the On the House program netted players access to 34 titles from the company, each available for varying durations. It included games like Mass Effect 2 and Need for Speed Most Wanted among others.
“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,” a spokesperson for EA said to Polygon.
While EA has confirmed the end of the program, it makes us wonder why it was shuttered. Perhaps the company used it as a means to get more PC gamers to download, install, and hopefully, use Origin often enough to be considered as a regular consumer of the service. And while giving away 34 games over a four year period is nothing to balk at, it may just be that it has resulted in a tangible increase in Origin’s install base, suffice to warrant its closure.
That said, it will be interesting to see how many of Origin’s users acquired through this would transact on the service even once, or give its subscriptions like Origin Access or Origin Access Premier a try.