Origin Now Allows Gifting, but with Heavy Restrictions

Origin adds gifting, but it’s heavily restricted to the point of being useless.

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EA’s digital distribution platform for the PC, Origin, has added a new feature: gifting. You can now buy games for your friends as gifts—a feature that should come in especially handy for this holiday season.

The highly-requested feature has been a part of other services, including Steam, for a long time—so this has been a long time coming. It went live alongside the launch of a store-wide Black Friday sale, which includes discounts for the studio’s latest titles and third party games.

However, users intending to use the feature should be aware of its limitations: firstly, you can only gift EA-published games, and not third-party titles. It is also impossible to gift virtual currency or any bundles that include virtual currency. This is to prevent players from exploiting the system with hacked credit cards or stolen accounts.

The worst limitation of the system is that you can only gift friends games if they reside in the same country as you. If you’re in Canada and your friend is in the US, you won’t be able to give them anything. This system differs from Steam’s, which allows you to give games to your friends if they’re within the same region. US releases can also be gifted via Steam to people living in countries where the games may be priced substantially cheaper.

It is possible to gift a higher edition of a game to someone who already owns a base game, so you can give the Deluxe Edition of Battlefield 1 to someone who owns only the regular version. However, the price will be the same and not set at the upgrade cost. It might be better to just send your friend money over PayPal or Google Wallet if you want to do that.