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Electronic Arts announced users would be able to download and test an early alpha build of its popular Origin gaming software for Mac starting today. According to a post on the Origin blog, only a few thousand players in North America and the United Kingdom will be able to download the app at this stage.

Mac gamers rejoice: Origin for Mac will be launching soon, and starting today we’re offering you the opportunity to take it for a spin before the official release.This open alpha will only be available to a few thousand users in North America and the United Kingdom, so don’t wait—download your copy of our new Mac client (alpha build) today.

EA is giving each alpha tester a free copy of the PopCap game Bookworm. Since the store is not currently functional in the Mac version, new games will not be able to download at this time. Before we start seeing Mass Effect and Dead Space running natively on your Mac, EA development teams will have to specifically build Mac version of each game in order for them to work on OS X. The decision to do so (or not) will be left to the discretion of each individual game’s developers.

Most other Origin features, such as the in-game overlay, chat, and cloud saves, will be fully functional in the alpha from day one. The alpha requires OS X 10.6.8 or higher, and it can be downloaded from the Origin website.

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