Gabe Newell Wants EA On Steam, And Is Polite About It

Gabe Newell Wants EA On Steam, And Is Polite About It

Electronic Arts has Origin. Valve has Steam. Both want you as a customer for their online game store. And so far, neither can work out their differences enough to ensure that Electronic Arts’ games will be available on Valve’s massive computer download service.

But things still haven’t come to a complete impasse, at least not according to Valve co-founder Gabe Newell.

“We really want EA’s titles on Steam,” Newell told Kotaku during a Gamescom interview. “We want to be useful to every developer. To provide useful tools to everyone.”

Right now that’s not happening. Electonic Arts’ Origin service is home to all future PC titles and with each new release (and, retroactively, with some older ones) comes news that that game won’t be hitting Steam.

Most recently, EA confirmed that Battlefield 3 will not be available on Steam.

“The service limits our ability to deliver patches and downloadable content directly to players,” EA told Kotaku at the time. “No other download service has adopted these practices. At EA, supporting our players is a top priority, and we are happy to partner with any download service that does not restrict our ability to connect directly with our own consumers.”

That echoes what EA said when Crysis 2 dropped from Steam.

But Newell remains hopeful things will work out.

“I think with any developer, the onus is on us to show them we have value, that we’re creating a set of services and capabilities and bringing an audience to them,” he said. “We want to do a good job showing EA that we have value on Steam.

“We’ll try to work hard with them.”

Top photo of Jane Kittermaster (not EA) on a miniature steam engine (not Steam) by Ted West/Central Press/Getty Images


  • Without starting a flame war – is there any technical or reasonable reason that Steam could not allow developers to directly deliver patches hosted on the developer’s own servers if that’s what the developer wanted? Still provide the steam-hosted stream for those developers who want to use it, but provide a secondary option for those who don’t?

    Obviously if it could be shown that using the secondary stream lead to games breaking, etc, there could be an out clause – but besides that, why can’t they do it?

    • It’s not really anything to do with patches, many games already have patching systems entirely independent of Steam. The problem is when you want to sell DLC direct to the customer instead of via steam – Valve wants it sold via Steam so they get a cut, EA wants to manage it all via their systems so they get the entire amount.

      • Dirt 3 since the EA stuff and all GFWL titles prior with DLC are sold through the GFWL marketplace where Steam get no cut of it at all…

      • Okay, so to refine my question: Is there any technical or reasonable reason why Valve could not enable developers to sell DLC or other directly through their games?

        • They wont allow it to happen because the DLC is still being downloaded off of Steam’s servers and using their bandwidth. Essentially EA has been trying to use Steam’s downloads for free.

    • Developers can do that. Dirt 3 is a prime example. Dirt 3 DLC came out after this EA stuff started and is only available through GFWL Marketplace and last I checked Dirt 3 is still on Steam.

      EA have yet to mention what it is exactly about their system that violates the Valve’s T&Cs which in my eyes makes me think EA are deliberately handling their DLC in manner to violate those conditions.

      It could also be said that Valve changed something to get back at EA for releasing Origin but when we look at EA’s history of online clients, Valve have nothing to worry about in the slightest.

  • So why on Earth is it that they did it with the likes of Mass Effect 2? I recall that the patching was done in Steam yet all the DLC was bought through the Bioware online shop.

    I’m really hoping ME3 won’t be Origin only.

  • What i dont get about this Valve V EA thing is that EA are Valves Retail Partner. EA publishes Valve games on PS3/360 and retail PC. EA doing this is basically suring up that there partnership that most likely netted them lots of money is going to be lost to activsion or some other publisher.

  • EA is just bullshitting everyone, there are games on steam that do not patch via steam. Some of the Ubisoft games require you to log in with them and patch via their app rather then Steam. My opinion is to boycott EA until they get their act together and stop making things difficult for the consumer.

    • If you boycott then you don’t get battlefield 3. So you miss out.

      Just buy a retail copy and add the shortcut to steam

      • Battlefield 3 does not look like the revelation in fast-paced large-scale gaming that DC/BF2 were, it is just more of the same in a new wrapper.

        I will most definitely be boycotting BF3 (which requires Origin even for a retail copy) in favour of ArmA 3 which like its’ predecessors gets more realistic with every incarnation and is infinitely expandable on. It also does not spam me with useless achievements and is a pure PC game.

  • EA needs to be careful it doesn’t divorce itself from a large number of gameplayers. Origin is not particularly user-friendly (although not quite as bad as GFWL), and some players – especially casuals – will only look at Steam for their gaming pleasure. If EA isn’t careful, it may find itself having to go back onto Steam with more onerous conditions than it currently faces.

    That said, I’d prefer developer-agnostic game delivery (e.g. a game delivery system that automatically finds the best price on the web and sells the game for a small markup).

  • Their service limits patches? I call BS on that. I’m constantly downloading patches for a bunch of games. Before they rolled out the new light-patch tech they would redownload the entire game again and again.

    They also said it was because they wanted to sell DLC content not through steam, you know getting the cake and eating it too? But then that’s what Mass Effect does so apparently that’s BS too.

    So tell us EA, what’s the real reason…

  • Personally, I find this whole mess disappointing. I was looking forward to BF3 at announcement, but every, single, time EA have opened their mouths since then it’s just been to insult the PC community and tell us to bugger off. Ironic considering most of their earlier trailers were aimed at the PC community too.

  • As of know, I would move away from Steam if Origin starts getting more games.

    Steam has always bugged me, I mean if I want to donwload something, I don’t it to randomly stall and then let me download 8gb at 2kbps. I JUST WANT TO DOWNLOAD, is that so hard?

  • Now.. I’m normally die hard Steam, but Gabe and EA are both hiding behind bullshit. This is all about market share and nothing more.

    The last few nights I have run origin to play bfbc2. After changing the overlay shortcut to shift+tab I found Origin to be much like Steam.

    My only real gripes are that I can’t figure out how to separate the friends list from the store.. or is that their game plan? Also, it didn’t seem to find any of my friends from xvlive or psn. And whats with not being able to add older games? I tried to add BF2 but couldn’t.

    Origin is a poor rip of of Steam. But I can see why EA might want to keep BF3 off of it.

    I don’t see Valve offering up the next Half Life for sale on Origin any time soon either.

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