Juneteenth set to become federal holiday Loki's hidden detail in credits Ant-Man 3 Best early Prime Day deals 12 big Prime Day deals IRS child tax credit portal opens

EA Origin arrives on Mac, alpha testers nab a free game

EA's Origin game download platform is hoving into view for Mac owners.

EA's Origin online game service is landing on Mac, giving owners of Apple's shiny computers the opportunity to download games, or have their games interrupted by chat with friends.

Publisher EA confirmed that Origin was hurtling towards Mac on its official blog, and has launched an alpha testing program ahead of the service's major launch. If you fancy being EA's guinea pig you'd best move quickly, as the open alpha will only be available to a few thousand gamers.

EA is at pains to reassure gamers that Origin for Mac works just like the Windows option, saying, "Just like PC gamers, you'll be able to add non-Origin games to your library, use the Origin In Game overlay, chat with friends across platforms and games, and can continue your saved progress from any Origin-enabled Mac."

If you do manage to get in on the alpha testing phase, you'll get a free copy of Popcap's Bookworm. It's hardly Mass Effect, but hey, at least it's free.

Origin is EA's attempt to tightly control the way gamers purchase and play games, making players less likely to spend money elsewhere -- in shops or on second-hand titles, for example.

Origin rivals Steam, which is made by Half-Life creator Valve and was made available on Mac in 2010. Valve boss Gabe Newell has been outspoken about modern operating systems, calling Windows 8 a "catastrophe".

Valve is prepping its own console-esque 'Steam Box' for your living room, but don't expect to see that on sale any time soon.

What do you think of Origin? Is it a worthy alternative to Steam, or an interfering bit of software that stands between you and your games? Let me know in the comments, or on our Facebook wall.