As you've undoubtedly heard, some of EA's games have been retracted from Valve's digital distribution platform. When Crysis 2 first disappeared from Steam in June, gamers immediately assumed that the decision was part of an overarching strategy to force users into purchasing titles through Origin. EA quickly responded to that speculation by noting that it didn't necessarily want to remove Crysis 2 from Steam, and that it mostly boiled down to conflicting terms over serving game patches and downloadable content.
The controversy continued last month when Dragon Age II disappeared from Valve's storefront coinciding with the launch of the Dragon Age II: Legacy add-on content, and EA maintained the same story: Valve's business terms were too "restrictive." Along yanking those titles from Steam, some of EA's upcoming titles will be Origin exclusives, including Star Wars: The Old Republic, while Battlefield 3 will use EA's platform no matter where you buy it. Surprisingly, Valve has been pretty quiet about the feud – until this week.
Speaking with Develop magazine, Valve boss Gabe Newell explained that matters were complicated. "I don't think Valve can pick just one thing and think that the issue would go away if we fixed that," he said, noting that it was Valve's responsibility to prove that EA stands to gain by having its games on Steam. "We have to prove we are creating value on an ongoing basis, whether it's to EA or Ubisoft or whoever. We want EA's games on Steam and we have to show them that's a smart thing to do," Newell continued.
"I think at the end of the day we're going to prove to EA 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." Many believe that EA is sacrificing a large, Steam-loyal audience by omitting games like Battlefield 3 from Valve's platform. In that particular case, players who refuse to use Origin will have immediate access to the primary competition, Modern Warfare 3.