EA + Steam: Together At Last?

By Alec Meer on September 13th, 2008 at 10:09 am.

Now here’s a thing. Rousing myself from hangover horror enough to glance briefly at my inbox, I notice a press release about Crysis: Warhead coming to Steam. “Oh, that’s nice”, I think before collapsing into another hour of semi-concious agony. It’s only later that I have a waitagoshdarnedminute moment – this means EA are now prepared to stick their games on Steam. Which is, y’know, a big fecking deal. I believe this means there’s now no remaining major publisher who hasn’t signed up to Valve’s world-devouring download service. Edit – apart from Vivendi, as Theory observes. I is stupid. Still, it’s a fairly momentous occasion, making it increasingly hard to argue that Steam isn’t the iTunes of gaming.

Additional, post-coffee edit – yeah, this seems more to do with Crytek than EA, but EA are mentioned in the press release, and must have at the very least okayed this. It’s a positive step even if it’s not as big as I first thought.

What this means for EA’s own Downloader service, with its unbelievably monstrous restrictions (you have to pay extra if you want to re-download the game you’ve paid for more than six months after the date of purchase) only time will tell. I do hope the stinking thing’s about to be killed, though.

Full press release about Crysis Warhead and Steam’s newfound chuminess beneath the cut.

CRYSIS WARHEAD COMING TO STEAM

Latest from Legendary Studio Coming to Leading Online Platform

September 12, 2008 – Crytek and Valve today announced an agreement to bring Crysis Warhead® and Crysis® to Steam, a leading platform for the delivery and management of PC games and digital content with over 15 million accounts around the world.

“The millions of gamers logging into Steam every week to play today’s best PC games are going to love Crysis Warhead,” said Avni Yerli, Managing Director at Crytek. “Crytek Hungary has done a terrific job creating this new experience while optimizing CryEngine 2, and we’re looking forward to delivering it and the original Crysis as our first offerings on Steam.”

“Crytek is one of the industry’s great success stories, emerging new technology and talent,” said Gabe Newell, president and co-founder of Valve. “Crysis is one of today’s leading PC franchises and delivering the original and Crysis Warhead via Steam is landmark for the platform.”

The follow up to Crysis, one of the highest rated PC games of last year, Crysis Warhead will take players through the parallel story of Sergeant Michael ‘Psycho’ Sykes as he embarks on an intense, explosive adventure on the other side of the island. With waves of more challenging human and alien enemies to navigate through, players will once again be outfitted with the revolutionary Nanosuit and an arsenal of new weapons and vehicles to help Psycho complete his critical mission.Crysis Warhead will also come with Crysis Wars®, a tailor-made experience for multiplayer gamers, featuring three diverse match types and 21 maps.

Crysis Warhead and Crysis will be available for pre-purchase via Steam starting this weekend, and expected to be released in mid September. Both games are published by EA Partners. For more details, please visit www.steamgames.com and www.crysiswarhead.com.

About Steam
The leading online platform for PC games and digital entertainment, Steam delivers new releases and online services to over 15 million PC users around the world. For more information, please visit www.steamgames.com

About Crytek
Crytek GmbH (“Crytek”) creators of the multi-award winning first person shooter Far Cry®, and the recent blockbuster hit Crysis®, awarded best PC Game of both E3 2007 and the 2007 Leipzig Games Convention, and awarded Best Technology at the 2008 Game Developers Choice Awards, is an interactive entertainment development company with its headquarters located in Frankfurt Main, Germany and additional studios in Kiev (Ukraine), Budapest (Hungary) and Sofia (Bulgaria). Crytek is dedicated to creating exceptionally high quality video games for the PC and next-generation consoles, powered by their proprietary cutting edge 3D-Game-Technology CryENGINE®2.

Development teams who are interested in obtaining a commercial license for the CryENGINE® 2 middleware should visit www.cryengine2.com.

About Electronic Arts
Electronic Arts Inc. (EA), headquartered in Redwood City, California, is the world’s leading interactive entertainment software company. Founded in 1982, the Company develops, publishes, and distributes interactive software worldwide for video game systems, personal computers, cellular handsets and the Internet. Electronic Arts markets its products under four brand names: EA SPORTSTM, EATM, EA SPORTS Freestyle TM and POGOTM. In fiscal 2008, EA posted GAAP net revenue of $3.67 billion and had 27 titles that sold more than one million copies. EA’s homepage and online game site is www.ea.com. More information about EA’s products and full text of press releases can be found on the Internet at http://info.ea.com.

Crytek, Crysis and CryENGINE are registered trademarks or trademarks of Crytek GmbH in the USA, Germany and/or other countries

EA, EA SPORTS, EA SPORTS Freestyle and POGO are trademarks or registered trademarks of Electronic Arts Inc. in the U.S and/or other countries. All other trademarks are the property of their respective owners.

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76 Comments »

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  1. Theory says:

    There’s still Valve’s old friends Vivendi…

  2. diebroken says:

    Excellent news, now if only Ubisoft could show some more love to non-US countries for games on Steam…

    *hugs Far Cry*

  3. RLacey says:

    Except they’re now effectively Activision, who are on Steam.

  4. rupert says:

    to me the press release sounds like crytek are just using another distributer as well as EA..? or is crytek park of EA? :o

  5. The Hammer says:

    There’s still Valve’s old friends Vivendi…

    Haha, “friends.”

    That was one awesome court case.

  6. Switch625 says:

    Putting stuff on Steam seems like an excellent way to address the concerns about their skanky copy protection systems, since Steam is more-or-less universally accepted by gamers as the Right Way To Do It.

    I’ve not bought Spore because of all that kerfuffle, but if it appeared on Steam I’d snap it up in a heartbeat (provided the Securom 3-activation thing wasn’t still there of course).

  7. Mogs says:

    I have a bad feeling about this…

    EA on Steam can mean only one thing: Acquisition. Maybe not today, maybe not tomorrow, but that’s their insidious end game.

    Don’t do it Gabe! Remember your promise to Merino!

  8. mister slim says:

    I don’t think EA has much to do with this deal. They’re basically distributing Crysis and helping out with PR, Crytek owns the rights.

  9. SwiftRanger says:

    “or is crytek park of EA?”

    Don’t think so, they’re teamed up through EA Partners, and I don’t really think that Crysis(overpriced on Steam or what)+Warhead being on Steam would hint at EA moving their whole catalogue over. It would be nice of course but EA doing something that makes sense for gaming in general nowadays would be a rare sight.

  10. kuddles says:

    From what I’ve read, all of this is Crytek’s pushing, hence the wording of the press release barely even mentioning EA at all. I think EA is still too stubborn to join, so I wouldn’t get too excited just yet. I have no idea why: they have everyone whining about their DRM methods but they also have piracy problems, they already allow Direct2Drive to hold their games, and you would think they would be on good terms with Valve.

    Tis a shame. Between Warhead, Dead Space, Red Alert 3, etc., I would far prefer to give my money to Steam then GameStop.

  11. Tom says:

    I remember some vid where Gabe said Valve’s open to the idea of acquisition. Makes no sense to me. Why would they want to? They’ve got it all sorted themselves.

  12. The Hammer says:

    Really, Tom? When was that? It kinda contradicts the response to this question.

    RPS: I have a friend (an idiot) who is determined that in six months Valve will be owned by either Microsoft or EA…

    Gabe: Tell him that I’m not interested in buying either one of them.

  13. James says:

    Well, that’s left me spluttering into my cornflakes! Of all the designers i thought Crytek would be the last to join Valve’s merry ship. What with being somewhat of a rival in terms of product with Valve.

    Technically impressive high end shooters riddled with innovation are Valve’s and Crysis’s raison d’etre. It’s like Jobs going down on Gates (shudder).

    Still, a very welcome development and my pre-purchase has already been made.

  14. Shadowmancer says:

    Both games together cost $95 including tax, which is a rip off since you can get it cheaper in any game shop in the UK for cheaper. Other than that they both retail in steam at rrp prices but when you check out and see taxes added on its more than its in the shops. And this isn’t about EA its Crytek, they decided to sell their game on steam if you didnt notice only Sin Episode Emergence is the only other EA published game in steam.

  15. Mogs says:

    That was Doug Lombardi actually, Tom. Gabe said ‘Wasn’t planning on it’.

  16. James says:

    @ Shadowmancer

    Price of games on Steam is an old one, and Valve cry innocence as they say it’s set by the publisher and attempts to circumvent buying games cheaper from other regions and because of pressure from the store retail market terrified that they’ll be undercut.

    So who to blame? EA or Crytek?

  17. Optimaximal says:

    And this isn’t about EA its Crytek, they decided to sell their game on steam if you didnt notice only Sin Episode Emergence is the only other EA published game in steam.

    EA have published all Valves stuff to retail since the Vivendi court case.

  18. Heliocentric says:

    Still.gum boy for £3 gets my cash. Warhead looks like a game i’ll get from retail, second hand, for a fiver, this year.

  19. O.G.N says:

    As others have mentioned Crytek is not owned by EA, they are part of the EA Partners label, and the first EA Partners product on Steam was this little thing called The Orange Box.

    Anyway, I wouldn’t expect EA owned properties like Mass Effect or Dead Space to show up on Steam any time soon, Rage on the other hand…

  20. Kismet says:

    I was quite excited when I saw it this morning, but unfortunately, as others have said, it seems it’s not something strictly related to EA, just a prerogative of Crytek within their partnership terms with the american publisher.

    With Maxis being internal to EA, no chances to see Spore on Steam, I guess (not that there’s any indication that Warhead won’t use additional DRM system on top of the Steam one, anyway, that being my main interest in Spore reaching the Valve realm).

    As a side note, pre-purchase without preload and/or discount, and package of the game with the expansion at the same price of the sum of the individual items is very, very, very sad.

    Back to spending my money on GoG.com.

  21. Larington says:

    I don’t think retail has a leg to stand on regarding the undercut by online channel issue – for 2 good reasons, a downloaded copy is not == to a boxed copy (There are plenty folks who prefer owning boxed copies of games) and more significantly, retailers are often getting x3+ sales for a single boxed copy due to the 2nd hand market. They don’t seriously think they can have their cake AND eat it do they?

  22. soviet_ says:

    Brilliant, I had pre-ordered Warhead from Game but saw that it had the same SecuROM DRM shit like Spore has on the disc so I cancelled it. Just bought it from Steam instead :)

  23. Azhrarn says:

    @Soviet_: Don’t be surprised if you find out that EA is shipping SecuROM on the Steam version, I doubt they’d suddenly go all reasonable.

  24. Switch625 says:

    Who else did that? Might have been the eary versions of Trackmania that still had Starforce on them.

    Makes no sense to me.

  25. nakke says:

    Ah, only 60USD+tax for Crysis. A bargain!

  26. Frymaster says:

    Switch625: steam versions would have starforce for the same reason demo versions do: non protected versions of the exe basically make protecting the exe on the CD useless. OK there’d be steam “drm” on it instead, but my understanding is that’s not exactly hard to circumvent. Later steam versions of trackmania didn’t have starforce because there were no retail versions with starforce kicking about.

    hence why bioshock has drm on steam, though if I were them I’d do what is done with demo versions of games; there’s DRM, and the restrictions are: “none”

  27. Thiefsie says:

    Still complete with 3 installs only?

  28. GreyLord says:

    Steam versions are english only, as is the norm lately…

    I guess I’ll have to go retail with Warhead to get an spanish language version, but the original Crysis is hard to find over here.

  29. Max says:

    “Remember your promise to Merino!”

    Oh how I fucking lol’d XD

  30. soviet_ says:

    @Azhrarn – How can you have 3 installs of a game bought to your Steam account when I thought the whole point was you can access your games from anywhere?

  31. Azhrarn says:

    @Soviet_: Because the game still needs to connect and activate with EAs authentication servers after you download and install it from Steam. And that can be limited to 3x quite easily.

  32. soviet_ says:

    @Azhram – Wow. That is so lame. I’ve not bought a 3rd party title through Steam before, don’t the same rules apply to them like Valve titles? ie Have to be logged into your Steam account

  33. SpoonySeeker says:

    The itunes of gaming? now that just cruel. The last time I checked it didn’t take a $2000 pc to run steam at a framerate greater than 5 fps

  34. Azhrarn says:

    I honestly wouldn’t know Soviet_, but I assume the Steam-Community thing will be integrated, but not sure what else a developer has to do to be allowed to publish through Steam.

  35. Max says:

    @SpoonySeeker

    Unsuccessful troll is unsuccessful.

  36. kuddles says:

    @soviet_: It depends on the publisher, so some third party games also have the same rules, while others still leave their own DRM in there as well (as BioShock did). So it’s hypothetical that the Securom stuff isn’t going to be in the Steam version, but I guess we’ll find out. It’s why Steam can even carry games that require GFW Live, and thus those games also come with a CD-key.

  37. soviet_ says:

    @Azhrarn / kuddles – cheers

  38. bitkari says:

    Good to see EA jumping on to Steam!

    Pity that the prices are still way up above what you can get the boxed copies on Play.com other retailers – but still, I shan’t grumble: at least we can actually buy these games via Steam, rather than suffer the indignity of using “EA Downloader”.

  39. Duoae says:

    Steam is flawed because it’s an open platform. Publishers can do whatever they want on it as long as Valve get their cut. This includes pricing, regional limitations (if you buy a game in Russia you can’t play it in the US – this is just an example but i forget the exact countries which were highlighted when this came to press and is down to how much the game costs in these countries…. so don’t move house!), and DRM/anti-cheating technologies.

    @Switch625 and Frymaster:

    The Securom CD/DVD protection is separate from the limited installs and internet authentication (though they may all be provided by the same company). For Bioshock the three install limit was in place on the Steam version as well as the retail version…. which to me makes little sense except that it provides an extra layer of difficulty for pirates attempting to run their own modified steam clients and games under that.

    Whether or not a publisher goes onto Steam is pointless unless they drop all the extra, unecessary baggage that goes along with it.

    @Bitkari.

    Yeah, i agree. The prices -even when converting from US to UK come out at higher than retail price here… which makes no sense.

    Also, how come the comment edits are down to 10 minutes from 30? Were people abusing it?

  40. Heliocentric says:

    eh… if it really takes you half an hour to proof read your posts, do it before you hit send.

    Truth is steams system is abused heavily by publishers who lie about the root of the issue.

    Most of the games on steam are more expensive than the prices i can find at retail outlets, thats often before tax which the retail channels(delivery websites included) include.

    The best way to vote is with your cash, see it for too much or too much drm etc? dont buy it and dont whine if you do buy it, you are part of the problem.

  41. Shadowmancer says:

    Actually Warhead doesn’t feature the drm that is in Spore only Red Alert 3 is confirmed for that, so there are more than 3 installs.

  42. RichPowers says:

    I’m still weary of purchasing third-party games over Steam because of the issues Duoae mentioned. Why include SecuROM — or any other form of DRM — in addition to Steam? I’m also unconvinced that Valve and other publishers thoroughly vet games for compatibility with the system (see Frontlines: Fuel of War).

    I still wish that more publishers would use Steamworks in addition to Steam. It’s a flying shame that so many games still use Gamespy or some shitty in-house server browser/matchmaking system when Valve’s giving theirs away for free.

  43. aeiou says:

    Steam is great, they’re paying for this site so stop moaning already

  44. The Hammer says:

    they’re paying for this site

    What?

  45. nakke says:

    Didn’t you know?

  46. Excalibur says:

    Once again, I’m aggravated that I can’t register my physical copy of Crysis with Steam to avoid silly things like having the disk in the drive. I know and understand why, and that it will never change, but that doesn’t keep it from bugging me, mostly because I was never given the option to get it from Steam.

    Edit: The original, that is.

  47. cliffski says:

    “Steam is flawed because it’s an open platform.”

    steam is NOT open. It is a privately owned companies storefront that sells games it decides it wants to sell.

    Why is everyone so keen for PC gaming to be entirely in the hands of one company who decides what gets sold? Do we really want PC gaming to become as bland and one dimensional as the consoles, where a single group of people in a boardroom decree what can be sold? and on what terms…
    No thanks.

  48. Larington says:

    Its a fair comment, monopolies are something that should always be avoided, though I personally welcome our new Google & Steam overlords (Could be worse – Could be Microsoft).

  49. teo says:

    There are other game distribution services online
    Like Impulse, and D2D

    For convenience I only use Steam though. I don’t want my games spread out over 3 different services

  50. Mogs says:

    Indeed. As much as I admire and trust Valve, power corrupts and the stock market corrupts absolutely (which is why EA must NEVER eat them). The open nature of the PC is its greatest strength, it is a shame that Valve should be lumped with such heavy responsibility and that there are no decent rivals to Steam.