BioWare Points. You remember them, right? Once purchased in “packs,” they’d allow you to buy DLC for BioWare games on PC that you weren’t allowed to just directly buy with real money for some reason. In October, EA will be phasing out the premium currency. The publisher has sent out emails to those with remaining Bioware Points in their Origin accounts, notifying them of the currency’s final days and that select Dragon Age and Mass Effect DLC you once needed the points to acquire are, effective immediately, available for free. For everyone. Chalk one up for r/patientgamers.
As spotted on the r/Games subreddit, user AircraftSam89 shared an email they claim EA sent them regarding the expiring premium currency: “We’re reaching out to let you know that starting October 11, 2022, BioWare Points will no longer be available as a form of currency in the Origin store,” it states.
Affected games, as per the email, are Dragon Age II, Dragon Age: Origins, Mass Effect 2, and Mass Effect 3. DLC for these titles is available under a big orange “Get it Free” button found in your Origin game library, under the selected game’s “Extra Content” tab. Other premium currencies, such as Battlefront II’s “crystals” and Dragon Age: Inquisition’s “platinum,” remain active.
Kotaku has reached out to EA for comment.
The exception to this nice surprise are the multiplayer packs for Mass Effect 3. Those will be available, as per the email from EA, “using Credits you’ve earned in-game” after October 11 of this year. The email assures those who spent money on the premium currency that “any content previously purchased using BioWare Points” will remain available.
This is actually kinda cool. I don’t know about you, but my least favorite quirk of modern digital video game storefronts is that they’re almost all doomed to shut down at some point, and it’s never guaranteed that you’ll have access to stuff you paid for in the future. So, being able to grab critically acclaimed DLC like Lair of the Shadow Broker for Mass Effect 2 after the publisher is ditching its tired virtual currency is pretty great—and it’s free! This is on top of the fact that, well, unlike some other publishers out there, EA is content with allowing older versions of its software to remain accessible while more polished experiences like Mass Effect Legendary Edition are out there.
The conversation about access to and preservation of aging digital goods is ongoing, with many different attempts at preserving the legacy of video games. So long as publishers like EA still hold the keys to content once only available via the internet on exclusive storefronts, their participation in making these works accessible is essential.