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.

__________________

« | »

, , , .

76 Comments »

  1. Azhrarn says:

    @Mogs: Impulse is a vey decent alternative, but doesn’t have the broad range of games on it that Steam does. But some day it might. :)

  2. A-Scale 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.

    I’ve got a decent rival for you, it’s called buying games in a store. What fantasy land are you guys living in? Steam is a great alternative to buying games in a store, but it doesn’t preclude that option and it doesn’t risk abusing its power, because it survives on the model of offering games at store prices or less, but with less effort expended in acquiring them. Additional digital distribution services will spread the concept too thin. When Best Buy and Gamestop die out then we can talk about competition for Steam.

    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.

    You’re killing me here. In what way does a Steam stranglehold on digital distribution affect game production in ANY WAY?

    “Oh, steam won’t carry our edgy game, its just too cool for their tastes. I guess we can’t sell it.”

    Tell that to Telltale, which lets buyers download games directly from their site. Or just sell it in a damn shop. I mean come the hell on, your complaint doesn’t even make sense.

    “Someone has opened an additional venue of distribution. This totally cuts off all creativity in the development of new games!”

    That’s what we call a non sequitur.

  3. Shadowmancer says:

    There is a rumour mogs that Valve is selling to EA, Gabe said in a recent interview that there is that option on the table with the deal with EA, personally I agree with you Valve are the white knights of pc gaming presently but Valve are only small, they only have 150 employees and rarely hire, since they produce games every year or so its hard for them compete with other developers however steam saves them as they sell their games and other developers games however that makes them publishers putting them into a battle against other publishers which are bigger and older than them,this makes valve vulnerable to buyouts and shit especially when they came up with one of the first online purchasing shops for gaming, also with the migration towards console gaming from pc this decade due to consoles catching up with the pc and being cheaper and the fact that valve are primarily pc developers they have signed their death warrant, in a perfect world steam would live forever but it wont in a year or two it will die.

  4. Nick says:

    Err.. yeah ok.. right. Sure.

    Uh huh.

    *does the twiddly finger to the side of the head*

  5. Thiefsie says:

    Well I did my bit for PC gaming and ordered it on steam… little disappointed we can’t pre-load it tho :( Now to reformat.

  6. Saflo says:

    I tried to buy it using this 2001 Dell laptop and all it did was send me an mp3 of Gabe Newell laughing hysterically.

  7. Aftershock says:

    i read the title and went OMFGTHISISSOFUCKINGAWESOME.
    i’m a little underwhelmed now.
    Still, there is hope.

    EDIT: this new editing majigger is awesome.

  8. Duoae says:

    Heliocentric says:

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

    Heh, yes of course. No, the reason why i mentioned it was because i often think of something else to add to the post 5-10 minutes after i’ve posted it. Rather than having a succession of posts i prefer to edit it into my original. That a good enough reason for you?

  9. Heliocentric says:

    Since you asked? NO! But yea, edit time reduces spam but boosts ret coning. Its a give take issue.

  10. cliffski says:

    “You’re killing me here. In what way does a Steam stranglehold on digital distribution affect game production in ANY WAY? ”

    *HEAVY SIGH*

    Maybe you should read up on the word monopoly?
    if the only well known digital distribution site is steam, good luck releasing a new FPS that competes with team fortress.
    You REALLY want the people at valve to have final say over what PC games are considered worthy? I don’t trust ANYONE to have that much power of the currently OPEN pc game platform.
    If you think the only games sold online are the ones that are on steam, I suggest you wake up and take a look around. Can I buy sins of a solar empire on steam?

  11. soviet_ says:

    As if any other company could make a mulitplayer FPS anywhere near as good as TF2! :D

  12. Duoae says:

    @Heliocentric
    Damn you and your give/take logic! Damn you all!

    ;)

  13. Skyvik says:

    If Crysis is successful on Steam, I can see them including more games (Spore and Bioware’s games being the most obvious candidates).

    Regardless of whether Valve remain independent, I do subscribe to the idea that a monopoly for anyone would be bad news. However, a large number of online markets do go in the direction of one very dominant player. (google, Amazon, ebay, World of Warcraft, itunes as a few examples). Competitors are reduced to relatively small minority status and I see nothing special about games to show why they would be different. At the moment Steam seems to be best placed to become that dominant player.

    Also, if EA acquired Valve would other publishers pull their games from steam?

  14. Deuteronomy says:

    I tend to use Direct2drive a whole lot more than Steam, I’m disappointed there’s been no announcement for Warhead on D2D.

  15. TheDeadlyShoe says:

    There’s really no lack of competing downloading services. Stardock’s been mentioned. Gamersgate – I bought ArmA from them for 30% cheaper than the Steam price. Both of them are excellent services with little DRM, though neither can match Steam’s platform. Then there’s the EA Store, D2D and so on, which I consider second tier in terms of useability. IMO Steam does not threaten to exert chokehold control on online game distribution :)

  16. Deuteronomy says:

    Steam might be marginally more usable than say D2D, but I’ve had far more trouble with getting games to work when my internet connection is down – or having to delete that client.blob or whatever file again and again. Direct2Drive just works – I’ve had zero problems. I do not work for IGN.

    Crysis Warhead is available on D2D!

  17. Fumarole says:

    Crysis costing $60 plus tax on Steam? Not for me. I see it for $40 and I never pay tax when I buy through Steam. Is that a European thing?

  18. A-Scale says:

    Maybe you should read up on the word monopoly?
    if the only well known digital distribution site is steam, good luck releasing a new FPS that competes with team fortress.

    You evidently have no idea what the word monopoly means. A monopoly on distributing games would mean that if you want games you MUST use Steam. Would you claim that Netflix has a monopoly on movie distribution because they deliver movies to your door and are without peer in that field? You wouldn’t, unless you were an idiot. Save your heavy sighs for when you have a decent point to make.

  19. TheDeadlyShoe says:

    You evidently have no idea what the word monopoly means. A monopoly on distributing games would mean that if you want games you MUST use Steam. Would you claim that Netflix has a monopoly on movie distribution because they deliver movies to your door and are without peer in that field? You wouldn’t, unless you were an idiot. Save your heavy sighs for when you have a decent point to make.

    Well, if someone controls a big enough slice of the market they can dictate to publishers what they have to do. I mean there are significant competitors to Wal-Mart (such as Costco) but Wal-Mart still has iron control over a lot of retail markets.

    Crysis costing $60 plus tax on Steam? Not for me. I see it for $40 and I never pay tax when I buy through Steam. Is that a European thing?
    Washington State thing – that’s where Valve is locate.

  20. A-Scale says:

    Well, if someone controls a big enough slice of the market they can dictate to publishers what they have to do. I mean there are significant competitors to Wal-Mart (such as Costco) but Wal-Mart still has iron control over a lot of retail markets.

    And neither is Wal-Mart a monopoly. If you couldn’t buy a game without going to Steam, or couldn’t buy tube socks without going to Wal-Mart, that would be a monopoly. The DEFINITION of a monopoly is complete control by a seller over a market. Just because you don’t like a company/service or feel that it gets too much attention does not make it a monopoly. Whether or not Valve or Wal-Mart can dictate to developers/producers what to make doesn’t change the fact that the people who produce content/goods can still make whatever the hell they want and sell it wherever they want. Telltale can still keep making Sam and Max games and keep selling them right off of their site regardless of what happens with Valve.

  21. Shadowmancer says:

    @ Nick
    No I’m not crazy but Valve are considering selling steam to EA http://www.mcvuk.com/news/31428/Valve-happy-to-discuss-acquisition

  22. Chris Remo says:

    Shadowmancer,

    As the person who conducted the interview that MCV quoted in the piece you linked, I can say no that’s not at all what Doug Lombardi was saying. First off, Valve isn’t currently considering anything–they are theoretically open to acquisition talks generally, meaning they aren’t going to outright refuse them right off the bat, and not meaning they are actually entertaining or soliciting any offers.

    Also, he was referring to Valve as an entire company, not Steam. His only point was that someday Valve might be acquired by somebody.

  23. leahcim says:

    @Steam Takeover. Lombardi said he’s open to hear offers. That’s it. Newell, in response to that, said he gets offers to buy Valve multiple times a month and has no current plans to sell Valve and he said he’s quite happy with the way it is now.

    @Steam Monopoly.
    Valve has come out and said that they basically allow the developers of their game to decide how they want to publish their titles and Valve does not “editorialize” over them.
    Newell also has the infamous quote “I want every game on Steam.” For now, I think your concerns over a Steam monopoly being able to dictate the market is a bit off the mark. Like I said, for now.

    @Discussion in general.
    When I first saw Crysis on Steam the other day I too was excited about the possibility of EA, after looking into it more it seems my initial excitement wasn’t warranted. However, I would love to see the vision of “all games on Steam” become a reality. I also don’t mind competing sources like D2D or Impulse. There are a few games that if they were buyable on Steam I’d get right now, like Spore from EA for example, but for whatever reasons I just don’t feel like getting retail.

    I like Steam for a lot of reasons, never worrying about losing the discs, not having to have a disc in the drive, being able to have it on multiple computers. There are also some things I don’t like about Steam, having to have Steam run while playing, losing the physical packaging of a game for the above benefits, and its regional pricing issues.

  24. Shadowmancer says:

    @ leahcim You forgot a big thing about steam that is bad, they can destroy your account for any reason, since its not property per-se you can’t counter due back towards them, but luckily they rarely destroy accounts, read the steam subscriber agreement next time.

  25. Devin says:

    I think steam is great cause you have can download your games were ever there is an internet connection. I would willing pay money when I know that I will have the game as long as I can find a system to download it and run it. No damming serial numbers to get in my way. One nice thing would be if I could register my EA games on steam.

  26. PHeMoX 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.”

    Not really, as the people at Crytek will do anything to get their next game published, even if it means selling their IP or game names…

    Far Cry 2 wasn’t much of a competitor for Crysis in a direct sense though, so they can get away with all that so far.

Comment on this story

XHTML: Allowed code: <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <strike> <strong>