Electronic Arts is attempting to launch a new service on gamers, one that works like Valve’s popular Steam, but one that only works for EA products. While we can understand publishers attempting to take control of the selling of their own video games and additional content, forcing users to subscribe to another, separate service when we already have one, sucks. It sets a bad precedent and before you know it, all major publishers require installations of new always-running, always-connected services in the background.
As expected, EA is taking lots of heat for the advent of Origin, especially since they will be encouraging PC gamers to use it in order to play Star Wars: The Old Republic and Battlefield 3 (by not allowing those games on Steam), but what’s made it worse is that some key EA titles that were already on Steam, have started disappearing, namely Dragon Age 2, which made headlines last week. But that one wasn’t exactly EA’s fault…
When the news broke that Dragon Age 2 was no longer available on Steam, some fans were outraged that this was an attempt by EA to block users from purchasing games on the competitor’s service, thereby forcing games to use Origin. But that’s not what happened and EA responded to explain.
The new ‘Legacy’ DLC for Dragon Age 2 released last week, but was made available through an in-game purchase and not through Steam. Some speculated that that could be part of the reason but EA has not detailed the exact reason why Steam took the game off, only that they’re being much more strict in their terms of service. David DeMartini, SVP of Global E-Commerce for EA, explained to IGN:
“At EA, we offer our games and content to all major download services including GameStop, Amazon, Direct2Drive and Steam.”
“Unfortunately, Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to sell downloadable content. No other download service has adopted this practice. Consequently some of our games have been removed by Steam.”
“We hope to work out an agreement to keep our games on Steam.”
Those choice words strongly hint that Steam doesn’t like EA selling their own way, because they don’t get a piece of that pie. The same thing happened when Crysis 2 was taken off Steam by Valve after it released DLC. Also, Valve surely isn’t too happy about EA launching Origin so they’ll take their jabs when they can get them.
Either way, and no matter whose fault, this is becoming almost childish. Guess who suffers in the end? Us. We have less options now if we are Steam users and for bonus content for the Limited Editions of Battlefield 3 and Mass Effect 3, gamers are literally forced to deal with the Origin application, a service that does nothing better than what we already have.
At least Serious Sam developer, Devolver Digital, isn’t launching their own competitor service…
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