Earlier today it came to light that Electronic Arts are on the verge of launching an on-line storefront along the lines of Valves Steam software.

Origin, as it’s to be known, will launch with full social networking integration such as messaging and friends lists (pulled from Facebook, Twitter and the like), as well as profile pages linked automatically to your EA game progress.

At launch Origin will be host to 150 EA games, while it’s not certain if Origin will host non EA games in the future it is a logical assumption to make.

Of an interest closer to home, Stephen Reid, SWTOR senior on-line community manager, revealed that Star Wars the Old Republic will be available exclusively for digital download from Origin.

Read Stephens post after the jump.

Hey everyone – well, apparently once again the online world trumps newsprint, as a story that was supposed to pop tomorrow popped up tonight! Let me give you a couple of notes on Origin.

First off: Origin is a fantastic new digital initiative from EA, and we’re pleased to confirm that Star Wars: The Old Republic will be available exclusively for digital download from Origin.

However, even though you’ll only be able to buy and download The Old Republic digitally via Origin, you will still be able to buy a retail, boxed copy of the game from your favorite retailer (and that includes online retailers who’ll ship the box to you). BioWare and EA know the value many gamers place on a cool boxed product… and we’re producing a cool boxed product. (Or maybe I should say ‘boxed products’. )

Second: it’s easy to hear an announcement like this and assume it means that we’re about to drop another bombshell or two, especially with E3 around the corner. The reality is, this sort of pre-show announcement is pretty standard PR work, so that the story can ‘breathe’ a bit before E3 news obliterates everything else.

While I will say we have some super-cool stuff coming out of E3 – some of which you’re actually going to see before E3 starts – I don’t want you to jump to conclusions just yet. Instead I’d suggest you just strap in and enjoy the ride. We know every single one of you wants to know when The Old Republic is going to launch, and I assure you, when we are ready to give you a date we’ll broadcast it loud and clear.

As I’m sure you know, we’re 100% committed to making Star Wars: The Old Republic the best quality game (and service) it can be, as you’d expect from a BioWare MMORPG set in the Star Wars universe.

I’ve said before that an announcement as big as release date will be so big, it’ll come thundering towards us and we’ll all hear it long before it arrives. That train’s coming… but so far, I’d just say we’ve laid down some early track.

You have questions, no doubt, and all of them will be answered in time. For now, sit back and enjoy E3 next week.