Many people have discovered a number of recent or soon-to-be-released Electronic Arts titles have disappeared almost entirely from Valve’s Steam service, most notably Crysis 2. I say “almost” because individuals who purchased any of the affected games through Steam still have the games in their library and they’re still available for download.
Those games are still available for purchase online through EA’s Origin service as well as other services.
Here’s the kicker—EA says it’s Valve’s fault:
It’s unfortunate that Steam has removed Crysis 2 from their service. This was not an EA decision or the result of any action by EA.
Steam has imposed a set of business terms for developers hoping to sell content on that service – many of which are not imposed by other online game services. Unfortunately, Crytek has an agreement with another download service which violates the new rules from Steam and resulted in its expulsion of Crysis 2 from Steam.
Crysis 2 continues to be available on several other download services including GameStop, Amazon, Origin.com and more.
What is this mystery download service, and what new rules does it violate? EA isn’t saying and the terms of service (for businesses) aren’t publicly available.
Not coincidentally, EA has also announced that their new Origin service, a Steam competitor, will be the exclusive home to Bioware’s Star Wars: The Old Republic and Battlefield 3. Until tomorrow (June 17th), Alice: Madness Returns will be exclusive to Origin (it’s unclear whether Alice will be available on Steam, but I’m not betting on it). You can pretty much bet that in the future all new EA-published titles will either be exclusive to Origin, or at least exclusive for long enough to give EA the lion’s share of early sales. Why? Money. EA can either pay a cut of every sale for using the Steam service or invent a competing service and keep as much cash for itself as possible.
So what is Origin? It’s the EA Store with a fancy new logo, a fresh coat of paint, and a “social network”-enabled client. If you have purchased a game from the EA Store in the past, you had an EA Store account. That account has been converted (renamed) to an Origin account. The EA Download Manager is now renamed Origin. The Origin Store and Client (currently in beta) unfortunately aren’t talking to each other at the moment, meaning a purchase on the store web site isn’t going to show up in the client service right now.
Where does this leave us as gamers? Well, it means we’re pretty much forced to choose between yet another half-baked download service or living without a publisher’s games. Good times.