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 headDavid DeMartini saidit 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 theremoval 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, Newellsaid 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

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Matt Bradford wrote news and features here at GamesRadar+ until 2016. Since then he's gone on to work with the Guinness World Records, acting as writer and researcher for the annual Gamer's Edition series of books, and has worked as an editor, technical writer, and voice actor. Matt is now a freelance journalist and editor, generating copy across a multitude of industries.