Back in the 'good-old-days' Origin could be installed with a seven digit serial number and you were good-to-go. Now (as of Origin 7) we have Serial Numbers, License Keys, Registration IDs, and more.
What does it all mean?
The old Serial Number is still there and is carried forward as you upgrade to newer versions, but it has now expanded to include additional fields indicating the version, the product level and the language. Origin is now available in English, Japanese and German, and Chinese and Korean are in development. Combined, the fields tell us what Origin you have - useful to the user looking for Tech Support or looking for an upgrade or a patch.
In a perfect world, that number might be sufficient, but when we found our software on servers around the world for anyone to download, we were concerned that we should do something to protect the product we develop and sell for our livelihood. The answer - though far from perfect - is a License Key. There have been arguments about copy protection schemes since the first personal computers became available. The upshot is that all software copy protection schemes ultimately can not succeed, but you can do things which prevent the casual copying which makes victims out of legitimate users and we can make it clear that we are protecting our investment and ensuring future development of the software. The License Key encodes the same information as the Serial Number in a more obscure form (the Serial Number is stored as plain text).
OK. We've got the Serial Number for product identification and an encrypted version of that in the form of a License Key, but why a Registration ID?
The Registration ID was designed to be a 'Web Serial Number' - without the installation powers of a Serial Number and License Key - that lets you add functionality to Origin via Internet downloads. Some downloads require that you have a Registration ID. You can visit our Add-On Modules page to check out what's available.
The web can provide additional information helpful to Origin users. In particular, the Knowledge Base and the Forums can be invaluable. On our web site you can get a User ID and choose a Password. If you Registered your Origin online, you probably already received an email with a User ID and Password. You can login and change your Password and edit your online profile as you see fit.