Gabe Newell hoping to woo EA back to Steam

EA may have had legitimate reasons for pulling its games from Valve's digital distribution service Steam, but Valve boss Gabe Newell is determined to win them back regardless.

In an interview with Develop magazine, Newell noted EA's departure from Valve's gaming portal makes sense on a number of levels, but that the mega-publisher can still stand to benefit from the use of Steam, saying, "I don’t think Valve can pick just one thing and think the issue would go away if we fixed that. We have to show EA it’s a smart decision to have EA games on Steam, and we’re going to try to show them that."

EA's launch of its own digital distribution service Origin is thought to be the primary reason for its withdrawal from Steam. Following its removal of Crysis 2 from Valve's service back in July, however, Origin head David DeMartini said it had zero intentions of engaging in direct competition with one of its download partners, and cited EA's desire to deal directly with its consumers as the main reason for its Steam departure.

“Any retailer can sell our games, we take direct responsibility for providing patches, updates, additional content and other services to our players. You are connecting to our servers, and we want to establish on ongoing relationship with you,” wrote DeMartini on EA's blog, adding,  “Unfortunately, if we’re not allowed to manage this experience directly and establish a relationship with you, it disrupts our ability to provide the support you expect and deserve.”

In a later statement following the removal of Dragon Age II from Stream, DeMartini expanded on EA's case for going it solo, saying, “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.”

Profit sharing and restrictive services notwithstanding, Newell said every studio has the absolute right do what they need to do with their products, but believes EA can still benefit from staying with Steam, explaining:

"We really want to show there’s a lot of value having EA titles on Steam. We want EA’s games on Steam and we have to show them that’s a smart thing to do ...I think at the end of the day we’re going to prove to Electronic Arts they have happier customers, a higher quality service, and will make more money if they have their titles on Steam. It’s our duty to demonstrate that to them. We don’t have a natural right to publish their games."

EA has taken some fairly high-profile titles out of Steam's library. Has this negatively affected the way you play, or are you fine with working with EA directly?

Aug 18, 2011

EA: It's never been about Origin vs Steam
Origin head hits blog to address rivalry "confusion"


EA responds to Steam dropping Dragon Age II 
“Restrictive terms of service” to blame for removal from Steam’s catalogue, says EA


Battlefield 3 will require EA's Origin to play on PC 
Origin membership required even if playing from DVD


  • BALLSTOTHEWALLET - August 19, 2011 1:22 a.m.

    @R-ape This isn't /v/, dumbass. @Bloodstorm I wholeheartedly agree.
  • Elitepwnsface - August 19, 2011 12:48 a.m.

    For any game that needs to be patched, i have to google the patches anyways, not like origin will change that. I think as a customer steam gives be a quicker way to get the pc games I want without the hassle of logging in to a website.
  • HalfBlindRatt - August 19, 2011 12:27 a.m.

    I am a long time steam user, have tens of steam games + tens of non-steam games I play trough steam. Steam starts with my computer and has all my gaming buddies just waiting for a message "Wanna play that and that?". I like using it even with non-steam games, because then people see I am playing something, and maybe think twice before asking me for something or bothering me :D And even if they send a message, I can see it in middle of the game instead of having to go back to desktop (skype, msm, etc). I allready have origin, because of BF 3, but I dont like it, feel like they are forcing it on me, just takes some extra space and costs memory resources. Id rather have the possibility to use steam with BF 3.
  • mentalityljs - August 19, 2011 12:27 a.m.

    I think it was a poor financial choice for EA to back out of Steam considering they already had massive advertising and exposure to a massively well established community. If EA really wasnt able to integrate the user support they needed to because of TOC, then I suppose it was for the better. But if they're just being picky and stubborn about using their own desired methods, then they effed up big time. I found my niche with Steam. I launch every game thru it, have all my friends on it, auto updates, weekly/monthly deals, awesome tech support, user friendly interface, anti-cheat integration, and it's fuckin FREE!
  • CommandantOreo - August 18, 2011 11:47 p.m.

    "You are connecting to our servers, and we want to establish on ongoing relationship with you" Who wants a relationship with you? We just want to play our games. Go away.
  • SumthingStupid - August 18, 2011 10:28 p.m.

    i think why most people dont like the idea of origin is because on steam they have all there games, friends, groups and that kind of stuff in 1 place, but now they need to have a new account remember a new password for a few games or whatever, im only going to be on origin for knights of the old republic
  • R-ape - August 18, 2011 10:24 p.m.

    Inb4 Valve fags saying they want HL3 already.
  • superrey19 - August 18, 2011 9:31 p.m.

    I have both Steam and Origin installed. I mainly use Steam but couldn't pass up the $4.99 Battlefield 2 collection sale that Origin had a week ago. I like that it's not intrusive, but it is a little bare-bones at the moment. I'm sure they'll continue expanding on it though. I have no problems with Origin and I think people are just making a big deal out of nothing... especially those that say they flat out wont purchase Battlefield 3 because of it. Remember, people didn't like Steam when it first came out either...
  • Temperance11 - August 18, 2011 8:22 p.m.

    Origin is essentially the same as the "EA Download Manager" that existed before it only with some more community features. I've used all three services (Steam, Origin, and EA DLM), and I don't really have a standout issue with any of them.
  • lilspooky - August 18, 2011 8:03 p.m.

    I think EA has already messed up. They pulled products from steam, this will lead to consumer mistrust. Consumers wont want to buy EA products on Steam or Origin. It makes little business sense to not maximize your audience, with over 25 million steam users, seems like EA is losing out on potential sales and customer exposure. EA will make a good lump some from BF3, Starwars, and MassEffect 3 with Origin only. However they would make much more with steam support, along with consumer support in the long run. Origin seems very short sighted.
  • MySistersMenstruationTastesFunny - August 18, 2011 6:42 p.m.

    Refreshingly mature points and discussions from both companies.
  • Bloodstorm - August 18, 2011 6:25 p.m.

    I'm simply refusing to partake in Origin. It's not a matter of is Origin crap or not, its that if EA starts up Origin and it goes well, then Ubisoft and Activision and 2K and so on and so forth will jump into the mix. Next thing you know you have a digital store for each major publisher and it like having a mall in you computer just to buy games. I want one stop shopping where I can find everything, and Steam is where that is at. I want my library of games all stored in one place and easily downloadable and redownloadable anytime I want. Plus, I remember hearing something about that if you don't play a game on origin for more that 2 years, you loose the license to it or something like that.
  • fullmetallegend - August 18, 2011 6:22 p.m.

    I would definitely prefer to have all my games on Steam, I even run all my non-Steam games through it. But, at the end of the day, it's NOT A BIG DEAL. So I click on Origins instead of Steam to launch a game, so what? I have both programs launch when I start up my computer anyways. Not buying BF3 just because you have to use a program that takes 1 minute to install and another minute to start is just ridiculous.
  • Balaska - August 18, 2011 6:11 p.m.

    I would rather have just one online portal for games, but if I must have two then so be it, Origin isn't bad.
  • AnonymouZ - August 18, 2011 6:06 p.m.

    i got steam and origin. i hate ea for trying to make me buy their game through their shitty steam carbon copy thing, so, yeah, they're not getting me $60 for BF3... screw them. if they don't want to deal with me through steam, they're not dealing with me at all.
  • sinwar - August 18, 2011 5:56 p.m.

    I have both Steam and Origin. They both have ups and down. Steam is a CPU-whore and Origin is only EA games
  • Fiirestorm21 - August 18, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    I wonder how this whole deal between them affects the retail agreement they've had for the last four years. It'd be great if EA came back to Steam, but I think the negative backlash to Origin is largely unwarranted.
  • KingMiedus - August 18, 2011 5:28 p.m.

    Honestly, I'm completely fine with Origin, its just somewhere else to download the game, and just a different place I have to click to start up my game. You don't even have to be running Origin to play the game, and I think if theres an update to the game you just login while in the actual game (as EA has always done, hell I had to sign in and accept a terms of use just to play the damn Madden demo) and then it'll pop out and open up origin to download it.
  • MadMan - August 18, 2011 5:26 p.m.

    I have both Steam and Origin... I don't have a problem with either.
  • vadorsoul - August 18, 2011 5:25 p.m.

    I want bf3, but I dont want to Download Origen to my computer. :(

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