Content Wars: Origin/Steam Scuffle Unfolds

By Alec Meer on July 7th, 2011 at 12:03 pm.

In a just world, we'd use this picture on every post

We never got a proper answer about what dark force it was which led to a few EA games – most noisily Crysis 2 – suddenly vanishing from Steam last month. Valve have kept entirely mum about their side of the story, but EA claim it was Valve who wielded the axe, due to a mystery transgression of Steam’s terms and conditions. Of course, all this rather neatly coincided with the launch of Origin, EA’s latest attempt at their own PC game download service (now with extra social stuff).

Everyone was to blame, no-one was to blame, we all picked our villains and passive-aggressively shook our e-fists at them, and then it went quiet again. Now, EA has broken cover to offer a little more – while the full explanation isn’t there, we’ve got some pretty strong hints as to just why a bunch of their big games were unceremoniously booted off Steam.

The full thing’s here, but below are what I reckon are the key paragraphs:

“Any retailer can sell our games, but we take direct responsibility for providing patches, updates, additional content and other services for the individuals and communities that play our games. These players are connecting to our servers, so we want to provide them with the very best service. This works well for our partnership with Gamestop, Amazon and other online retailers.

“When a download service forbids publishers from contacting players with patches, new levels, items and other services – it disrupts our ability to provide the ongoing support players expect from us. At present, this is the case with only one download service. While EA offers its entire portfolio to this site, they have elected to not post many of our games. We hope to find a mutually agreeable solution to this issue soon.”

Sounds like several possible things going on there. Either EA is stating that it wants to patch its own games rather than have Steam do it automatically (something I’ve seen a few games do in the past – Darkspore, I think?) or/and it wants to be able to prompt players that DLC and similar is available unbound from just Steam’s news and pop-ups.

But then there’s a slightly longer and broadly similar comment from EA bigwig David DeMartini, which includes a few extra tells:

“We also enhance the gaming experience with features like friends lists and in-game chat using the Origin application. Most importantly, we always want to be sure we provide this content and service at the highest possible level of quality. To ensure this, any retailer can sell our games, but we take direct responsibility for providing patches, updates, additional content and other services to our players. You are connecting to our servers, and we want to establish on ongoing relationship with you, to continue to give you the best possible gaming experience. This works well for our partnership with Gamestop, Amazon and other online retailers.

Unfortunately, if we’re not allowed to manage this experience directly and establish a relationship with you, it disrupts our ability to provide the support you expect and deserve. At present, there is only one download service that will not allow this relationship. This is not our choice, and unfortunately it is their customer base that is most impacted by this decision. We are working diligently to find a mutually agreeable solution.”

What I’m reading into/wildly guessing from that is that EA wants to bundle Origin within EA games on Steam, perhaps even making it a mandatory install/registration, to then provide patches and DLC and social networky stuff that way instead of having Valve’s app do it – and maybe that didn’t go down altogether well.

DLC especially would cause fraction – if EA could essentially sell extra content outside of Steam, via Origin, even when the original game purchase did (ha) originate from Steam, then they wouldn’t have to give any cut to Valve for that stuff. Of course, there is precedent for this – see any Steam game with Games For Windows Live in it, Fable III being a good example – but perhaps (again entirely speculating) a change in those T&Cs is behind all this.

Just how much Valve takes from any sale has never been made public, though it’s rumoured to be in the region of 25-30%. I’m quite sure EA would rather not give 25% of its DLC revenues to another company – in the same way people are forever trying to find in-app purchase systems for iPhone games that sidestep the App Store so Apple don’t get their pound of flesh. I’m also quite sure a platform like Steam would really rather hang on to that 25%. Of course, I’m speculating entirely based on limited information, so there’s every chance I’m a million miles away from working out what DeMartini and EA are referring to.

Whether it is anything to do with such guesstimation or really is as simple as EA just want to provide patches, news and whatnot themselves… well, should we be bothered? Is either corner worth fighting here, given it hardly seems a particularly noble crusade from either angle? I don’t personally give a monkey-lung about how my game gets patched or otherwise updated, as long it’s efficient and easy – i.e it sorts itself out rather than has me push seventeen different buttons. If, however, I need multiple logins and/or applications to do so then I get a bit grumpy. It’s like the notorious GTA 4 launch all over again. Unfortunately, just how hasslesome a Steam/Origin double-whammy would be is something of an unknown quantity for now, given the games that would house it are currently barred from Steam.

(Also, this sounds eerily similar to other download services such as Direct2Drive refusing to stock the likes of Modern Warfare 2 due to its Steamworks integration. What goes around…)

So is this a war or not? DeMartini claims not: “To be very clear, except under extremely special circumstances we offer our games to every major download service including Amazon, Gamestop, and Steam.” The only known extremely special circumstance to date is Star Wars: The Old Republic, which will be Origin-exclusive at launch.

There’s a rather telling dig at the end of EA’s official explanation, however: “Going forward, EA will continue to work with download partners and continue offering our games for sale on all major download sites.

The good news is: you’ve got plenty of choices.”

Ooh, get them!

All in all, it’s a bit of a sad situation. Generally speaking EA are actually pretty good to the PC, as the big publishers go, so we’d certainly want their stuff readily available on our download platform of choice. I’m not mad about the idea of being denied access to neat games on Steam because someone there might want them all to tow some line that doesn’t actually bear any relevance to my enjoyment of gaming. I’m also not mad about anyone trying to lure me into yet another mandatory software layer that doesn’t actually bear any relevance to my enjoyment of gaming. There must be a middleground.

In what I miserably suspect will ultimately be just one of many arguments about direct access to precious, precious consumers in an increasingly non-physical age of gaming retail, this appears to a problem of too many pies and too many fingers trying to be in all of them. Hopefully someone will back down (or at least compromise) in this matter, but now that the initial voyeuristic thrill has passed, it doesn’t seem either fun or constructive for this couple (or at least one of ‘em) to make their argument quite so public. Can you not sort this out like gentlemen, gentlemen?

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198 Comments »

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  1. Theodoric says:

    Whatever happens, the costumer still gets buggered. I am not amused.

    • Planet9 says:

      You are referring to haberdashers I take it. Rambunctious fellows.

    • Nick says:

      suits you sir!

    • mejoff says:

      I need to warn all the guys and girls who set up stalls at LARP events, there’s up to 1000 people attending some of those games.

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      dirtyword says:

      I could care less about the business reasons behind this. I want a system that works. Steam is a great example of a system that works. I’ve been trying to play Bad Company 2 with friends and EA has not provided good community features in-game (not to mention the pain of unlocking Steam-purchased DLC in the game). As far as I’m concerned, their argument for “our ability to provide the support you expect and deserve” goes out the window when their own services are half-baked and established, functional alternatives exist.

    • RedNick says:

      Good Steam patching, or crappy EA patching. I still have nightmares about Battlefield 2 updates.

    • sebmojo says:

      I’m not mad about the idea of being denied access to neat games on Steam because someone there might want them all to tow some line that doesn’t actually bear any relevance to my enjoyment of gaming.

      It’s ‘toe the line’. As in ‘measure up to an expected standard, comply with expected behaviour’ rather than ‘tow the line’, which I guess has an implication of supporting someone else’s argument? Like carrying water?

      In any case I suspect that both usages are becoming acceptable, not least because spell check doesn’t pick it up as an error. I wonder how much linguistic drift results from that.

      tangent over, CARRY ON GENTLEMEN

    • TillEulenspiegel says:

      not least because spell check doesn’t pick it up as an error. I wonder how much linguistic drift results from that.

      I’ve recently noticed that “payed” is becoming disturbingly common, which I assume is helped on by the lack of red squiggles since it’s a valid nautical term.

    • PoLLeNSKi says:

      @dirtyword
      Could or couldn’t care less? David Mitchell’s Soapbox

  2. paco says:

    Welp, looks like I’ll be avoiding using Origin like the cancer it is. Thanks again, EA, for proving you aren’t our friend, but rather our petty, greedy, gaming overlord.

    • Atic Atac says:

      How on earth do you come to that conclusion from this article?

      From it I can only gather this:

      1) Steam doesn’t want Origin bundled.
      2) Steam takes a very high cut of all game sales
      3) Steam don’t want you to sell your own DLC for games on Steam…even if you provide the download service and the payment system yourself.

      It seems to me that it’s Steam that is being the greedy corporate overlord here and not EA. Keep in mind that Origin doesn’t look like it will just a sales platform. I think EA are genuinely trying to do a good product for PC players there with community features etc and a pretty easy to use download system which on the first go around is not as intrusive and terrible as GFWL and takes far less effort and memory than Steam.

      Of course EA also want to get more money for their products, but Steam are dangerously close to being a monopoly and when you are a monopoly you just become greedy and arrogant, which is what Steam look like here.

    • jalf says:

      Which makes it different from Steam how, exactly?

      I’m seriously surprised that anyone manages to cling to the illusion that there are any “good guys” in this story.

    • Kaira- says:

      When you have 300 games tied to an account, you don’t want to bite the hand that holds them, I’d wager.

    • Jason Moyer says:

      I don’t buy any of that since there are games from other publishers that already do that on Steam – basically every GFWL game. I can’t patch BioShock 2 or purchase Minerva’s Den through Steam. Same with the GFWL Codemasters games like DiRT 2 and F1 2010. Patching/DLC is handled through a third-party app.

      OTOH, seeing that you can buy keys for the Fable III DLC, maybe Valve have changed their policy. Seems doubtful, though.

    • Atic Atac says:

      But did GFWL seriously ever look like a contender? And besides….Steam only blew up in the last 2-3 years and GFWL games were on it pretty early on. Maybe Steam realizes that Origin might just be a contender and with huge games like SWTOR and BF3 coming….I don’t blame them for thinking that way. I just wish everyone would just get along.

      But really….when it boils down to it…it kinda looks like Steam are being dicks with monopolizing tendencies.

    • Benjamin L. says:

      As far as good guys, Origin as a platform edges out Steam merely because it allows you to play games without running the client app.

    • Turin Turambar says:

      Yeah, both companies are trying to get all the market share, and that’s it. That’s why Valve games (and now games that use Steamworks) makes the installation of Steam obligatory. You want to install the game, run it, buy dlc? Steam!
      Of course EA is not better, and at least Valve have right now a more solid product/service. I am that saying that, in the end, both are companies trying to maximize their profits and attract every possible costumer to them.

    • Jumwa says:

      It amazes me that some of you are declaring Steam the villain based on only one side of the story. Valve has remained quiet while EA tries to turn it all around into their own PR stunt.

      Now, perhaps I’m wrong and EA isn’t fudging the truth at all (like any PR person would be capable of that), and Valve is being very hypocritical by not allowing EA to do what GFWL has done all these years. Or perhaps there’s just more to the story. Perhaps one of those “other services” that EA referred to was something that would be terribly offensive to Steam’s users. Perhaps it’s nothing nearly so severe.

      However, we don’t know either way.

    • briktal says:

      Maybe Valve should fly some of them out to their office and wine and dine them until they’ll come back and tell us not to worry about it.

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      Alkaine says:

      Or perhaps there’s just more to the story. Perhaps one of those “other services” that EA referred to was something that would be terribly offensive to Steam’s users. Perhaps it’s nothing nearly so severe.

      When has EA ever been offensive to users? Oh, wait…

    • paco says:

      Anyone who tries to claim that Valve is more evil than EA, well, that person’s opinion simply isn’t even worth giving credibility too.

      Its pretty simple. Steam has been a loyal, valuable system for pc gamers since 2004. They have regular, extremely deep discounts on every title available on their service. EA has been screwing us for a decade, they rarely discount their titles deeply. Valve regularly updates their games with free content. They turn their games free to play because they’re successful, ala TF2, not because they fail, ala all EA’s MMOs, Battleforge, etc.

      Not much else needs be said here: Valve is there for their customers, EA is there to fuck their customers. There is literally no debate possible about this fact. It is as indisputable as the Sun.

    • Wulf says:

      I’ll be avoiding Origin due to the memories it dredges up over how a foul gaming overlord (EA, in this case) bought out and utterly cannibalised one of my all time favourite PC games developers. They brandish that name there like a badge of twisted corporate pride, almost saying “Hey, remember what we did?”, and yeah, I remember EA. I certainly remember.

      If they’d named it something else then I would have considered it, but Origin? That’s just pouring salt into the wound.

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      frymaster says:

      “2) Steam takes a very high cut of all game sales”

      No, the article says pretty much the opposite. The publisher getting 70-75% of the price is a fantastic deal when compared to physical-media retail, where their share is inverted at best. Tihe article contained speculation that it was because valve possibly were requiring DLC for steam-bought games to also be bought on steam.

      Personally, since I’m not touching EA’s download service with a barge-pole, I think giving up the lion’s share of the game purchase price (because I’ll buy the game retail) in exchange for possibly getting a couple more quid out of people who buy DLC, if they buy DLC, is a bit silly.

    • Kadayi says:

      “3) Steam don’t want you to sell your own DLC for games on Steam…even if you provide the download service and the payment system yourself.”

      There are plenty of games already available via Steam that already do this though. All the Bioware DLC for Mass Effect & Dragon age you buy and download directly from Bioware and all the DLC for GFWL. None of those things utilize Steams distribution platform.

    • bagga says:

      >Steam has been a loyal, valuable system for pc gamers since 2004. They have regular, extremely deep discounts on every title available on their service.

      Hate to be the one to break this to you, paco, but retailers don’t set discounts out of sugary kindness to their customers. They do it to tap in to the large, fresh market of juicy consumers who don’t value it at the original tangy price point.

      I’ve made myself thirsty, anyone for orange juice?

    • paco says:

      Hate to break it to ya bagga, but its irrelevant.

      What is relevant is that Valve has produced significantly cheaper products, consistently high value customer service, and high quality games, which it has offered at exceedingly reasonable prices and EA has given us one shit sandwich after another. No matter how you cut it, there’s zero reason to use Origin over Steam. That’s the point, not your fallacious strawmanning of my position.

    • Stromko says:

      I’ve got to agree with Wulf here, I was sour on this thing the instant they decided to name it ‘Origin’. It’s in extremely poor taste. Origin Systems was making incredible games right up until they were acquired by EA, it’s sad to think how much richer my gaming life would be if they hadn’t been turned into a mill for shitty Ultima Online expansions.

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      Timofee says:

      Firstly, declaration of interests: I have something in the region of 150+ games on Steam. Not because Steam is hugely better than the alternatives (although its pretty good), but because they were the first one I used and it is now entirely about convenience.

      Yes, I’ll pay a few quid more if I can have something on Steam rather than a different download platform or via retail. I’d compare it to physical products – I want all my games on one shelf, I can’t be bothered to walk into the other room to get my games that sit on the other shelf.

      Secondly, my point: I think Valve need to take the (admittedly) bold, game-changing step of running steam as not-for-profit.

      I’ll give you a moment to think about that. But now, before mocking me, please read my justification:

      It sounds far fetched I know but: 25%…really? 25% of every sale made on steam? I’m pretty sure Valve games are pretty self-sufficient in terms of generating enough cash to fund the next game, so unless they have a Duck Tales-esque money pit, this is money that is pure profit and not really needed.

      Unlike EA, they’re a private company and so they’re not responsible to a giant group of shareholders who would never ever ever ever allow a company to ‘throw money away’ like that.

      Obviously running the Steam infrastructure is far from free, but one suspects that they would generate enough money to run it on perhaps 4 or 5% of sale price. In theory, that saving could be passed on to gamers, which perhaps may encourage others to participate in what is a pretty expensive form of entertainment, thereby driving up overall revenues (this is my carrot so the money grabbing bastards like EA don’t just keep that extra for themselves).

      But to relate it back to this post: If Steam was effectively a neutral platform then other companies wouldn’t feel the need to constantly make their own platforms as they wouldn’t be ‘giving money to the competition’.

      While that would be bad news for other digital distribution platforms (and for people that hate steam) it would make Steam the go to place for digital distribution thereby hugely increasing the user base, this in turn would mean that every publisher etc would want to be represented on Steam for fear that it would majorly harm their sales potential not to be.

      This would give Valve an unprecedented degree of power over those companies (admittedly this would be very worrying if abused) but it would also allow them to enforce such sensible policies as worldwide release dates and globally consistent pricing. They could act as the ultimate consumer advocate.

      Ideally the industry would gradually shift away from the publisher led method it operates on now but instead developers would sell direct through steam and basically earn all the money they make in sales (rather than giving significant portions to 3rd parties). This could then be put toward making their next game. Obviously this would make you only as good as your last game, but with no giant publisher breathing down your neck maybe you’d put the required effort in.

      Publishers would then become supporters of start ups and AAA games; Start ups because they have no capital to make their first game – but this would be inherently low risk as you wouldn’t throw around huge amounts of cash at this stage; AAA games because they require huge marketing budgets.

      Obviously running Steam as not for profit would be one of the ultimate acts of altruism but honestly, if anyone is capable of it, I’d suggest Valve come pretty close to the top of that list.

      And a man can dream. A man can dream…

      If not, I demand a go in the valve money pit.

    • kristian says:

      oh btw. just saying.. whos paying the 30% platform fee from steam? the customers are.

      At present retail distributors are still limiting digital sale prices, but they are dropping in the future. More competition = more competition for prices. breaking the Steam -almost-monopoly- is just a good thing. Even though everyone loves steam, they are taking way much more money than they’d deserve for a digital distribution.

    • Aejis says:

      I am not saying they probably don’t get their cut for it, but just because there isn’t a physical product, it doesn’t mean it’s free. There’s a lot of infrastructure involved, so I couldn’t even estimate how much it takes a month to keep it running. However Valve offers Steamworks completely free, which include the voice-chat, VAC, auto-updating, in game DLC and Steamcloud.
      Oh, and one thing I do know, on EA games, usually the developers see about 15-30% of the revenue, awesome isn’t it?

  3. sgc2000 says:

    Surely any GFWL game with DLC would have the same problem as the DLC is purchased via the in game store.

    • Archonsod says:

      They seem to have sorted that with Fable III for example though – you get a redeem code off Steam to put into the GFWL store. So presumably Microsoft/Lionhead are happy to let Valve take their cut there (possibly because the game automatically directs you to the GFWL marketplace if you follow the “buy DLC” links from there ….).

  4. magnus says:

    Well I’ve made my choice and it certainly isn’t origin. For the sake of neatness and keeping my purchases as straightforward as possible without having to remember a ridiculous ammount of log-in details I’m sticking with steam. I simply can’t belive anybody would do otherwise.

    Steam, I’ll hold your coat.

    • jon_hill987 says:

      my guess it is the patches more than the DLC.

    • Rii says:

      “I simply can’t belive anybody would do otherwise.”

      You ‘simply can’t believe’ that some folks would prefer to purchase the best product at the best price rather than enslave themselves to the vagaries of any given distribution platform? Really?

    • Jad says:

      Agreed, Rii. While the majority of my digital purchases are through Steam, I buy games from whomever has good sales and an interface that is not utterly baffling (ie., I haven’t purchased anything through GFWL, because I hate that they don’t have prices available on their website; although I’m okay with good games, like Batman, that include it).

      I’ve got accounts and games with GOG, Direct 2 Drive, Gamersgate, and EADM (which I suppose means Origin now, haven’t checked it out).

      D2D stand particularly out, as sometimes they have pretty spectacular sales — their five dollar, five year anniversary sale two years ago meant I got around a dozen high-quality AAA games for the cost of a single new game. They have pretty good pre-order discounts, too. And better yet, D2D has no login required. Other than the website, of course, but so does RPS for that matter. I can launch any D2D game from a shortcut on my desktop, which is what I do for Steam games as well, and is the game-organizing method I’ve used since Windows 95 was released.

      So, no login to launch D2D, GOG, Gamersgate, or EADM games, “save login info” button checked in Steam, cookies saved for the D2D, GOG, Gamersgate, Steam, etc. websites saved in my browser means … well, no having to “remember a ridiculous ammount of log-in details”. And I having a broader outlook on game services means I get more sales and save more money.

    • Eamo says:

      You make your choices about whats important to you. For me personally I could be bothered installing additional games platforms beyond steam, but then I am quite happy to wait for pretty much any game to be discounted before buying it.

      The thing in that post that has me laughing though is the patches comment, I don’t know about anyone else but I hate patches, steam manages them for me perfectly and I love it for that. I don’t regard having to go to your website, download a program, run it on my PC and sit around while it runs as “building a relationship” with you, it’s an annoying, error prone, waste of my time. At present I have 225 games on steam, when I change my PC I install one application and they are all ready again, every single one of them that is installed is patched up to date and working. If it even took me 5 minutes per game, once a month to do that manually thats almost 20 hours a month I would need to spend keeping things up to date. That is not valuable relationship building, its a waste of my life.

      Now maybe I could have gotten the games a little cheaper if I had shopped around, the steam calculater values my account at just under $3000 right now, I suspect I certainly averaged a 50% discount on anything I bought so lets even say I spent $2000 over the 5 years I am using steam, thats $400 a year. Now how much would I save if I had bought those games elsewhere? I suspect it would be hard to go above 10% of that since pretty much everything I buy is already heavily discounted when I buy it. So for about $40 a year, I get my games available on all my PCs, I never need to patch a game, all my games are transferred to a new PC automatically for me, every game I have bought in that time is still installable, still works on any PC I get and I haven’t lost it. Prior to steam most games I have bought are lost, broken or unsupported, not to mention that I got free mac versions of about 20% of those games.

      Now I can imagine someone who doesn’t think all that stuff is worth the premium you pay for it, but for myself the idea of going back to doing all that crap by hand is just repulsive.

  5. Ovno says:

    Please EA ditch the whole origin thing before it goes too far, I do not want a publisher specific download platform, and I especially don’t want a publisher specific patching and friends platform.

    It didn’t work for gfwl and it won’t work for you, because a) you will do it badly and b) nobody wants it.

    • DerShcraa says:

      Origin is a drop-in replacement for EAs download manager.
      You never have to start it up beyond downloading and installing the game.
      It is nothing like GFWL, what don’t you guys understand?
      Do you even try the services before critisizing?

    • Ovno says:

      Nope, it’s a simple case of I don’t want it…

      That and my expectations based on past results, i.e. the ea download manager…

    • Bhazor says:

      What about the download manager? It downloads the game and then goes away. What is so evil about it?

    • mouton says:

      Its not Steam – only Steam is good, so EADM/Origin, logically, must be evil.

      Seriously, people get really religious and irrational about the whole thing. Congratulations to Valve marketing.

    • Duckpoop says:

      How does it keep your games up-to-date with patches and such if it just goes away after you download the game? I am confused…

    • mbourgon says:

      Yes, because long term that’s what EA wants – just a small app once in a while. They have no interest whatsoever in bringing up BIG MENUS FULL OF GAMES YOU SHOULD BUY THAT MAYBE YOU DON’T KNOW ABOUT, WOT, RIGHT? Purely altruistic on their part, I’m sure. They already mention wanting you to set up a separate friends list – because that’s what I need, another place I need to put in all my friends so I can reach them.

    • dsi1 says:

      EADM(now Origin) is even more of a piece of bloatware than it could be, it could just be dumped and EA could just use Steam and I could just have less shit on my computer, but EA doesn’t give a single fuck about me, or you for that matter.

    • Damien Stark says:

      @mouton

      “Seriously, people get really religious and irrational about the whole thing. Congratulations to Valve marketing.”

      You’ve stumbled on an interesting point here – people definitely get religious and irrational in their love of Steam, but marketing is clearly not the answer. I’ve never seen Steam “advertised” or “marketed” anywhere. Portal 2 ads were everywhere, buses and billboards, etc. But you know where all that massive unthinking love for Steam came from?

      Using Steam.
      Seriously.

      There were no “marketing” campaigns that talked people into it. They love it because they actually love it.

  6. Stuart Walton says:

    Running Red Faction Guerilla was a pain. You needed to be signed into GfWL in order to save your game. NOBODY liked that. Then there’s the Ubi DRM, we all know how that fared. It sounds as though EA are wanting to do something equally annoying.

    It’s shit like this that stops me buying a PC copy and waiting for a nice cheap second hand console version. Sure, consoles may be walled gardens, but at least they don’t make it a pain for the consumer when you just want to play a game.

    • RDG says:

      I don’t really get the hatred towards GfWL. Sure you need to be signed in, but you can simply create an offline local account, unless you want to play online, which requires user credentials with any game nowadays. I haven’t really found it bothersome, yet.

      ….Yet.

    • alseT says:

      Just wait till you want to use your savegames after reinstalling your system. You can’t. GFWL is an abomination and needs to die.

    • ArtVandelay says:

      @alseT
      That’s just not true. If you copy your save data over manually you can use your saves on any computer. This goes for most any game ever.

    • Wilson says:

      My favorite thing about GfWL was how it never added anything of use or value to my experience, always popped up obtrusively when I started a game with it, and when I did want to play an online game with it, it would demand an update that it could never download itself (instead offering a useless error message), thus forcing me to go download a new version manually.

      Plus all the fun of having to have an account I rarely used and couldn’t always remember the details of, instead having to navigate an annoying and clunky interface to regain passwords/make new accounts.

      Although I could get over the above problems, what really aggravates me about it is the complete uselessness of it. I can’t think of one way it has actually done anything good for me. Even the multiplayer services it offered were functional, but not particularly smooth or nice.

    • alseT says:

      @ArtVandelay
      Nope. Happened to me with both Batman and RFG. I used an offline account both times and I couldn’t see the saves at all.

    • suibhne says:

      @Art: You’re incorrect. GfWL includes the functionality of encrypting your savegame files, which means they cannot be migrated. I don’t think all GfWL titles do this, but Batman: Arkham Asylum does. I experienced this firsthand, as I lost my entire Batman savegame directory when migrating to a new computer; GfWL would not allow old saves to be used because they were tied to the old installation of GfWL.

      Compare that to Steam, which not only allows saves to be migrated but actually enables your entire Steam games directory to be seamlessly moved without any registry futzing.

      This is only one of the many problems with GfWL, of course.

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      Wisq says:

      GFWL offline accounts work fine, right up to the point where you try to use a game that demands you have an online account. Then suddenly you’re having to migrate over to it, and everything’s a mess.

      I think Bulletstorm was the one that required it for me, even though I’ve never played anything except the single player campaign.

      It’s also really “fun”, when I’m trying to test out mods and such for Red Faction Guerrilla (and therefore restarting a lot), to have to wait several seconds (sometimes as many as 30) for it to finally log me in to GFWL so I can actually load my savegames.

      Thanks for nothing, GFWL.

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      DarkNoghri says:

      Heh. I spent a month or so with RF:G totally unplayable as I spent time trying to get it to actually reach the main menu after starting. Finally, the only way I got it to work was xliveless. That’s right, the only way I could play the game was the digital equivalent of excising a tumor with a scalpel.

    • Faxmachinen says:

      RDG: GFWL on FlatOut was a complete disaster. While you could create an account in-game, that was apparantly not good enough to play multiplayer. And then, after the hassle of quitting the game and making a GFWL account, that was not good enough either. Apparantly you need an XBox Live account as well? WTF?

    • KenTWOu says:

      @alseT says: Just wait till you want to use your savegames after reinstalling your system. You can’t.

      Actually, you can! Backup this folder (for Windows 7)

      c: – Users – %username% – AppData – Local – Microsoft – XLive

      I can’t use backslash here because of tags :(

      And put it in the same directory after reinstalling your system. Then use the same offline/online login and password. Of course, in addition you need to backup savegame folders for each game.

  7. Raziel_aXd says:

    Next, Activision will want their own download service too.

    • Premium User Badge

      jezcentral says:

      You can already buy Starcraft 2 that way from them. I’m sure they have a proper DD in the works. It makes sense, as what publisher wants to give an unnecessary slice of their pie away?
      We can only hope that someone manages to invent a skin that can sit on top od all these services, almalgamating the friends lists, achievements, etc, and we can pick our store of choice like the way web browsers allow us to choose which search box we have in our Navigation Toolbar.

    • Raziel_aXd says:

      That’s actually a really good idea, having an aggregator that incorporates all big services. Even nicer would be for GfWL to GTFO since it’s pretty much useless and who knows when it will be able to match Steam. Origin might be at Steam level in 2 years, but with this monetary trend all big players will want their own download service.

    • ankh says:

      Yes very good idea. I nominate you, jezcentral, to make this happen. And…. Go!

    • eduh says:

      It’s already known that activision will start using Battle.net to sell their games in the next couple of years.

    • thegooseking says:

      There are certain aggregators out there in some sense (they’re not entirely aggregators, but they can be convinced to behave as such). The trouble is I’ve never found one that’s (a) full-featured, (b) not a system hog and (c) actually stable.

    • mouton says:

      Yup, the idea of an application that unifies all the DD services is floating for a while now. Hopefully someone competent will make it one day.

  8. Teddy Leach says:

    I still want to know where Space Marine went. And why Brink vanished for so long and came back without an explanation.

    • Xocrates says:

      Isn’t that due to UK retail refusing to stock Steamworks games or something?

      Both those games have always been available on Steam outside of the UK.

    • Premium User Badge

      deadbob says:

      Brink was available in retail shops on launch in the UK, just not on steam, which after the reviews put me off buying it until last week when it was on sale in GAME for about £13. I was able to install it through steam fine even though at that point it wasnt listed in the store.

      Oh and EA downloader was the biggest pile of S*** i’ve had to encounter, worse than GFWL imho, and i’ve had plenty of problems with GFWL so I have no interest in Origin at the moment.

  9. djbriandamage says:

    Many games require GFWL even if you buy the Steam version. Some of those games have DLC for sale which you can by through either GFWL or Steam. My guess is that the GFWL client bundled with games doesn’t include the GFWL Marketplace, so it doesn’t fall astray of Steam’s terms of service, whereas from the sound of it Origin will include a store.
    Sounds very similar to D2D’s boycott of CoD:MW2 due to Steamworks being bundled with the Steam store. Although Steam has nothing in the world to fear from Origin, they’ve got to flex their muscles to avoid a new precedent being made. Or so I speculate.
    Blah, acronyms aplenty.

  10. Ecto says:

    Making TOR Origin exclusive seems like a smart move. I haven’t bothered installing Origin so far, not out of anger towards EA or loyalty towards Steam, but simply because of convenience. But if TOR requires Origin, I’m bound to get it. And who knows, maybe I’ll be pleasantly surprised.

    Or maybe not.

    • mouton says:

      Well, its the same move Valve made with their games, but still lots of Steam aficionados scream bloody murder.

      Origin is okay, it is nothing special, it works. Installs and goes away, no problems.

    • Wilson says:

      @mouton – Sounds good, that’s just what I look for in my digital download platforms. If it has good offers, I will probably buy some games on it.

  11. Archonsod says:

    “In what I miserably suspect will ultimately be just one of many arguments about direct access to precious, precious consumers in an increasingly non-physical age of gaming retail, this appears to a problem of too many pies and too many fingers trying to be in all of them”

    The awkward thing is I’ve been able to buy Steam titles via Gamersgate and Direct2Drive for just over a year now. I can’t buy a non-Steam title on Steam though, so it looks to me like it’s less a case of too many fingers in the pie and more the case of a certain platform spitting out it’s dummy.

    • Premium User Badge

      frymaster says:

      uh, whut?

      A staggeringly high proportion of the games sold on steam don’t have steamworks

    • Archonsod says:

      The point being I can go to Gamersgate, D2D et al and buy a game that only works via Steam, and here we have Steam refusing to do the same from their own store. Sounds a bit petty to me.

    • Premium User Badge

      phlebas says:

      There wasn’t any mention of Steamworks there. You can’t buy games on Steam that work without Steam, whereas you can buy games on some other download services that you can then choose to register with Steam instead.

    • MadTinkerer says:

      It’s mostly:

      1) Valve’s own games.

      2) The F2P games that have been fully integrated with Steam.

      3) A handful of other smaller publishers who really like Valve and would rather partner with them for the Steamworks features because they like those features.

      Which includes a lot of the most prominent games on Steam, but only a small number of the total. Not all games on Steam even have achievements, and some of those that do only use Steamworks for the Cheevos. Steamworks is basically 100% optional for devs.

    • Archonsod says:

      Which has zero relevance.

      The principal here is that the other major download stores are happy to sell games which require the use of a competitor’s service. Steam apparently isn’t. The fact those games utilise Steamworks and have to use Steam is irrelevant – the same applies to Origin (which I note said other digital stores are also happy to sell).

    • subedii says:

      I’m not sure I follow.

      – There are games sold via Steam

      – There are steamworks games that make sue of additional features and are fully integrated with Steam regardless of where you buy them.

      Either of those doesn’t prevent the game being sold outside of Steam Steam, that’s a developer / publisher choice. About the only real games I can think of that are sold as DD exclusive to Steam as standard are Valve games.

      I won’t find Half-Life 2 on Gamersgate. Will I find Sins of a Solar Empire on there? Or anywhere other than in physical stores, and the Impulse store?

  12. Anarki says:

    Here’s the problem, I don’t want a “relationship” with EA, we’re not going to get married and have kids, what I actually want to do is play their games with the least amount of intrusion possible.

    • Cunzy1 1 says:

      Nonsense! I want a social network with its own login that tweets me and everyone I know every time I successfully crouch down or pass a QTE for every game, and mini game I play and to inform me of new products every two seconds.

    • Kaira- says:

      Then again, Origin would seem to be just a download manager, not a client akin to Steam. Which is a good thing, if you ask me.

    • RDG says:

      It is merely a rebranded EADM at the moment, however I don’t see any reason for EA to not change that into a tied in Steam-esque DRM client. They already added the Origin overlay with a social networking aspect. Sooner or later they will realise people aren’t talking to each other through Origin because it isn’t mandatory, which is when it will become a requirement.

    • Archonsod says:

      People talking to each other is probably not a main concern, it only costs them money. Linking in to your twitter/facebook and other ways of attracting new customers on the other hand …

    • sinister agent says:

      Agreed. It’s not just game publishers either – I’m quite tired of every company in the world trying to be my friend and offer me ‘rewards’ and nonsense. Here’s a crazy deal, guys: You give me stuff, I give you money, and then we both fuck off and leave each other alone.

  13. diebroken says:

    Damn you EA, why isn’t the original American McGee’s Alice on Steam/GOG yet (is it even still available on Origin)? : [

  14. Premium User Badge

    amateurviking says:

    I don’t get this. All the DLC for Bioware/EA games are bought directly from Bioware (or at least can be) so, Shirley, this can’t be about circumventing DLC sales revenues etc: it’s already happening.

    My guess is that this is more about some kind of embedded chat/matchmaking/social whatsit platform like the steam overlay or the cross-game chat in battle.net. I Just hope it gets sorted. I really really really don’t want another separate launch platform running in the background and competing for resources.

    Plus one unified source is *neat* and this appeals to my inner nutjob.

    • thegooseking says:

      Well, I think the DRM-exclusivity thing is probably a bigger thing than that. Steam still sells Mass Effect and Dragon Age because they would be mad not to take Mass Effect and Dragon Age’s money, but you can bet they’re not happy about not also getting a cut of the DLC. (And it at least gets a cut of DA:O’s DLC when it sells the Ultimate Edition.)

      For something like Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3, I think Steam’s more confident about throwing its weight around.

      Of course, EA can just say “list Crysis 2 and Battlefield 3 on our terms or you can’t have Mass Effect 3″, but that would be a terrible PR move when they’re trying to build goodwill for their own platform.

    • Premium User Badge

      Alkaine says:

      I think what EA wants is to raise a lot of noise around their platform to advertise it, which would be a very basic move. After that, obviously, they want Steam’s market share.

  15. Jools says:

    The problem with digital distribution is that it’s unfriendly to competition by its own nature. If I have $3000 worth of games on Steam then I’m going to be extremely reluctant to use another platform, simply because I already have Steam open to play most of my games and managing multiple programs (especially if we’re talking about three or more) just to launch a game is a major hassle.

    • Archonsod says:

      Why? Steam is thus far the only one that requires you have it running when you want to play a game that uses it. In fact, since Steam shortcuts automatically launch Steam, it’s pretty easy to just use the shortcuts, like I would for any other game.

      And it’s still a damn sight quicker than having to dig the actual disk out, like we did in the olden days.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Never mind digging the actual disk out, launching S.T.A.L.K.E.R: Shadow of Chernobyl (with Stalker Complete 2009) from Steam is way quicker than using the retail copy. I have both as I bought the retail one a long time ago & then got it on Steam when it was on sale with Call of Pripyat for about £2.50 for both last Christmas. Even with the disc already in the drive my Steam copy launches & I can load my save before the disc has even spun up for reading.

  16. riadsala says:

    Isn’t the patch excuse utter nonsense? If an indie game on steam (AI War) can offer lots of optional beta patches, using it’s own updater then why can’t other games do this?

  17. reticulate says:

    To stop the fragmentation of your user experience, EA has decided to fragment your user experience

    David DeMartini, EA.

    • ankh says:

      And all i wanted was frags.

    • LionsPhil says:

      Quite.

      Also, to hell with games that patch outside of Steam. You just stopped yourself patching automatically whenever Steam is running, concurrently with others. (Especially since Steam default-pauses all other patching if you launch that game to “play”, read, sit at its patch screen. I’m looking at you, Champions Online.)

    • Archonsod says:

      To be fair though Steam aren’t exactly prompt when it comes to patching. I’ve had a fair few games where a patch has been released and taken between three and four weeks to finally arrive in Steam. So I can see why you’d want to bypass that, particularly if the multiplayer was the primary component.

  18. Stevostin says:

    “for providing patches, updates, additional content”

    The man is at the top of the company because he knows how to make you feel he’s providing three thing that are actually the one same thing that is already there on Steam. Or at least he doesn’t blink when he tries.

    • reticulate says:

      Honestly, he could just qualify it with a “…also, it means we keep all the profits” and we’d probably be ok with that. Not like it, by any means, but if that’s how you have to get your TOR, Battlefield or Mass Effect 3 fix, then we’ll probably deal.

    • LionsPhil says:

      He also wants a direct line to you so he can notify you of exciting new opportunities.

      Which is to say, EA want tendrils into you deep enough to pump you for marketing information and spam you with the results.

  19. Howling Techie says:

    Some of the comments on this page lead me to believe that some people here haven’t even tried origin but still think that they are in a good position to say how bad it is.

    • Raziel_aXd says:

      I have to use it because of Crysis 2 and thank God I don’t have to run it with the game. It’s not horrible, still, I don’t want tons of additional software so I can play my games. One is enough. Of course, there’s money to be made from direct downloads and services so it won’t stop EA.

    • Jad says:

      Did they add Origin requirement to Crysis 2 later on? Because I got the game in a retail box when it came out and I didn’t have to touch any EA login or system (Origin wasn’t even announced then). There was that really annoying GameSpy login / CryTek login for multiplayer, but I think that’s more CryTek’s doing than EA’s.

  20. Unaco says:

    Fair play to EA here. They’re well within their rights to do this, and it could work out better for the consumer this way. Valve have Steam as their exclusive digital retailer… you can’t get Valve games from any other places, like D2D or Gamersgate. Valve games are exclusive to Steam only… they are tied in to Steam. Now, I remember when HL2 and Steam first appeared. It was a nightmare… downloading patches on dial up as soon as I start it up. Not being able to play my game, because it’s started patching. Shitty offline mode locking me out of games I had paid for. It was all pretty horrible in the end… but after they forced it upon us, locked us all into it, got us using it and then started improving it, it hasn’t worked out too bad. Steam is pretty painless to use now… far from perfect, and still objectionable to some people. But not too bad.

    Maybe the same will happen to Origin. I see a little criticism here… that it’s like UBI DRM or GFWL or a turd in your cornflakes… It’s a download manager. It’s not like Steam, where you run your games through it. You don’t need Origin running while you play the game… just for downloading installing, and (I would reckon) for patching as well. It’s like the GoG downloader. But with Facebook and Twitter buttons. Probably.

    What gets me though, is the timing… or rather, the time it has taken. Steam isn’t new. It’s been around for at least 7 years. And it hasn’t suddenly started to explode and take off… it’s been quite popular, and talked about, for many years. So, why did EA wait so long before coming up with their own Digital Download and Social system, or promoting it heavily (if they had one already), getting people signed up to it, with a few exclusive games? Maybe if they’d done that about 5 years ago, we’d have had some competition, they’d have had their fight, and both Steam and Origin would be better systems now.

    • Baboonanza says:

      Yeah, as much as I like Steam and dislike the idea of being forced into another service this is a clearly an anti-competitive move on Valve/Steam’s part. This is the sort of thing the internet is usually up in arms about when it’s less well liked companies doing it, but I guess that just shows (unsurprisingly) that many people aren’t as objective as they often claim.

      Lets put it this way: If Valve are worried that Origin might be competition for the DD market then they should ensure they stay ahead by providing the best services and prices. And since they are doing that already by a large margin this uncompetitive behavior is unwarranted.

      But at the end of the day Steam is far from perfect (they’re customer service is somewhat lacking for instance), so even if you plan to stay with Steam some competition to keep them on the ball can only be a good thing in the long-run.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Unaco you seem to have missed the whole parts of his quotes where he basically says “Origin will offer the same services as Steam”. Just because all it does right now is act as a downloader doesn’t mean EA aren’t ready to basically clone Steam.

  21. Persus-9 says:

    As a consumer I have a lot of sympathy with EA here because I don’t like the way Steam walls off games and makes the Steam DLC incompatible with non-Steam base games and non-Steam DLC incompatible with Steam base games. Seems like a nasty little anti-competition trap to me. Just last night for instance I was feeling a little peeved because I couldn’t get The Sims: World Adventures in the Steam sale because my copy of The Sims 3 is in Origin. I want to see cross-compatible DLC and it seems like Valve are against that and EA are for it. I can see the business reasons on either side but it seems like my self-interest is currently aligned with EA rather than Valve.

    • Premium User Badge

      Alkaine says:

      How can anyone have “a lot of sympathy” for EA is beyond me.

    • Gormongous says:

      Maybe reading his comment would help you puzzle that riddle out, mate.

  22. Ingenu says:

    Does anyone have Guild Wars on steam ?
    I have the original game (before it came on steam) and it does self update and there’s an in-game DLC shop…
    Also Mass Effect games have DLC purchased on the Bioware website (Bioware is part of EA BTW)…

  23. Premium User Badge

    sonofsanta says:

    unfortunately it is their customer base that is most impacted by this decision

    Except, Mr EA, it really does look like your decision to start being difficult and knowingly force their hand.

    The fact is, Steam is already solidly entrenched, and it is worth pointing out that this advantage was not necessarily gained from being the first, but from being the best. Steam works very well and is as close to hassle free as PC gaming gets.

    Surely it can’t be that cost effective to try and entirely replicate the infrastructure. I am tempted to say that Valve should work out special rates with EA and other big publishers to appease them, but then I fear the indie will suffer for that, and the indie have done so very well out of Steam so far.

    I have no answers. I only know that at the end of the day, it’s us missing out in these petty games.

  24. aircool says:

    …and another username and password to remember, which will no doubt get hacked and result in notPayPal asking me for personal details.

    MS should have got a grip on digital distribution before Steam became everyone’s choice (whether we wanted it or not, it’s now the easiest place to see what friends are playing, and join in).

    Can we be arsed with yet another social/gaming/DLC/whatever they’re called services? Does anyone actually use GFWL to organise games? Does anyone actually update GFWL except when a new game DEMANDS it?

    As for EA, there previous attempt at digital distribution was a toilet. You couldn’t even get Sim City 4 (which was available to buy from a retails website for a fiver inc next day delivery).

    However, EA has comitted a terrible crime that I cannot forgive… Where was the SSX series for the PC eh? EH?

  25. Premium User Badge

    UW says:

    From a purely selfish perspective, I wish all games were available on Steam.

    I already have a personal investment in the service, I find it functional and aesthetically pleasing. I don’t want to have more than one DD service running on my PC, I want that one to be Steam.

    That said, I completely understand and respect that other publishers really like the look of the pie that Valve are eating and want a piece for themselves. They’re all businesses and would be stupid to ignore what Valve are doing and not trying to muscle in. It’s just not beneficial to me, and that pisses me off.

  26. Theodoric says:

    Concerning the DLC: I think it’s more of an exclusivity thing than anything else. Valve doesn’t mind if you can buy DLC anywere else, as long as it is also available on Steam. Bad Company 2: Vietnam, for instance, is just a key that unlocks DLC, and as such can be bought on other sites as well. I bought mine through a ridiculously cheap EA sale.

  27. Freud says:

    I don’t care where I buy games. I buy from Steam, D2D and Gamersgate. If I have to buy from Origin, I’ll do that. For me the only two factors that matter are product and price. I could care less about any loyalty to Valve, Steam or EA.

  28. Stevostin says:

    Well, all in all they Steam just doesn’t want to implement something special for some games NOT BEING AUTOMATICALLY UPDATED which probably can lead to tedious tech troubleshooting (with such thing as “verify app intergrity”) and weakens the overall service to steam users by splitting social network. Which makes sense – basically, Origin features doesn’t provide anything more than Steam and allow every EA user to be on a network with less friend. If you think about it it’s obvious that the social networking tool is best in the thing that most gamers have in common. Windows or Steam are good contender (depending where you want your limits), EA OTOH certainly isn’t. A social network of people playing EA Games ? Seriously ?

    OTOH this is a typical windows situation : lack of competition is bad for end user, but lack of standardisation also is. So while we can bitch about Steam lacking competitors and holding us bu the nuts, it’s also true nobody’s very enclined to have to run several competitor at once.

    UNLESS

    Someone come up with a sort of Trillian of gaming. One social network to rule them all ?

  29. poop says:

    CANT WAIT TO USE THE ORIGIN FRIENDS SYSTEM INSIDE THE STEAM FRIENDS SYSTEM

  30. Premium User Badge

    Joshua says:

    When I read the paragraphs, I thought they were refferring to the steam patches having to be validated first et all. With ARMA, a lot of players had problems because retail players had already updated their games whilst others were waiting for the steam update to arrive. Imagine this happening with Battlefield 3.

    • Coins says:

      There’s an easy solution for that: don’t ship your games broken.

    • BarneyL says:

      Exactly, shoddy publishers like Valve that are still releasing patches for TF2 years after release should be punished…

  31. Premium User Badge

    Keymonk says:

    So, will every publisher begin to get their own download service now? That’d be balls.

  32. Derppy says:

    Steam has a ton of flaws and is just as “evil” as the rest of the digital distribution platforms. They take big cuts, have DRM and the service lacks important features like selecting which drive you want to install the game to. The download speeds are limited and the service crashes under heavy load.

    However, I’m already using Steam and I have a ~200 game library there. I have bought some retail games again from Steam if I couldn’t activate them there, just so I can trash the disks and forget about manual patching etc.

    If some publisher doesn’t launch the game in Steam, I’m not going to move to their service. I’m just going to be slightly mad for them trying to “force” players to their own platform (just like Steamworks games do) and keep playing the games that are available on Steam, after all, they got a pretty huge selection, including tons of indie titles.

    If a DD service can compete with Steam’s game catalog, features and download speeds, I might consider to start using it. That means I want one login for every single game in the service. I want constant 5+mb/s download speeds, I want moderated forums for each title and I want to be able to have a new game in my library within 10 seconds from the decision to buy it. Unless that happens, I’ll stay with Steam and ignore anything that’s not available there.

    It’s not that Steam would be the best thing ever, but I just don’t want to split my games to multiple services unless there’s an extremely valid reason for it.

  33. Doctor_Hellsturm says:

    It is all so ambigious! I just bought The Sims 3 pack on steam on a 72% reduction. Why would EA offer such a deal if they plan to pull it all away? I have 70 games on steam, so i’m not switching partners, but if i want more sims expansions, are EA just going to let those sales fly? I think not! FEAR does the work of reason and fear will prevail once those sales starts to drop.

  34. Coins says:

    Also, why do people think 20 to 30% is a bit cut? As far as I know, non-digital stores take 70%-ish. That’s a major difference.

    • Lukasz says:

      that cut goes to your competitor.

      steam should be disconnected from valve. a publisher and developer owning biggest shop is not a good thing.
      thankfully valve is not ax crazy so so far it turned out alright.

  35. Rossi says:

    In my opinion, the comparison with GFWL is a bad one. All the GWFL games (afaik) are also console games. During the development process I suspect that sperating GFWL from the PC version of the game would be pretty much impossible. I don’t mind GFWL but yes, it was a pain to start with, now it’s no longer an issue.

    I want all my games via Steam. And I think we will definitely see BF3 and (in time) TOR on Steam. It’s in EAs best interest to diversify the way the games are distributed. In Bad Company 2, there is a friends feature and seperate log in to EA, yet no one complains at that, I think that Origin is just taking this concept and moving it off into it’s own app. Which is a better way, you’ll still get the Steam overlay.

    • InternetBatman says:

      I doubt that it’s actually that hard considering how many games programmed in XNA wind up using steam as their overlay.

  36. Corrupt_Tiki says:

    That picture is racially abusive! That black man is about to be beat on by his white oppressor/slave master, How dare you post such blasphemy Lord Alec! I shall sue your ass and your balls.!

    • ankh says:

      Actually that white boy is about to get his ass handed to him.

  37. sinbad269 says:

    Steam are coming off as the greedy corporate bigwig here in my view.
    But in reading this, I can’t see a perfect end-user solution unless EA fold completely. That being said though, it seems to me, that either side will be stubborn, and not budge an inch on this, so both have made their beds, and are going through with this.
    But why wouldn’t they? EA have already made much of the groundwork needed, and while yes, it’s ANOTHER download service we’re going to have to deal with, it’s kind of on the level of Facebook vs Google Plus [Facebook akin to Steam here]. Who here DOES NOT/WILL NOT play an EA game?
    In honesty, I wouldn’t mind dealing with Origin, provided it’s a nice, simple interface

  38. Lukasz says:

    Didn’t I buy DLC for ME2 not through steam but through bioware site?

    Anyhow
    Origin seems better for one simple reason: it does not require client to play your games.
    actually
    gamersgate
    d2d
    are also better in that regards.

    the ONLY benefit steam has over those services is that it is huge and everyone uses it. all that nifty features like friends, screenshot folders, list of games… all of that was available to us years before HL2 was released.

    I love steam, its sales and since i learned how to use it, how easy it is now… i do remember the greenhell of installation when HL2 was released. yet i don’t like how big it is. a single shop having such a massive market share is not a good thing even if it is valve.

  39. Premium User Badge

    Okami says:

    We also enhance the gaming experience

    and this is where I stopped reading. Which is too bad, since I’m pretty sure the article is very interesting, but there’s something about this phrase (and similar ones) that makes it physically impossible for me to continue reading. My brain just shuts itself down and refuses to process any information that might be connected to it.

    • johnpeat says:

      Know EXACTLY what you’re saying…

      The game IS the gaming experience – to ‘enhance’ it you make the game bigger and better.

      Friend lists, lobbies, in-game overlays are peripheral tat (or worse – they’re just to keep tabs on you) – they aren’t “enhancing” anything for the player (tho their benefits to the publisher are undeniable).

  40. johnpeat says:

    You can’t “bundle” Origin inside Steam – that’s a crazy idea – ditto allowing games to install their own overlays inside Steam’s overlay – it would become utterly unmanageable.

    It’s dead simple – things like Friend Lists and other ‘in game overlay’ content should be provided according to the PLAYER – that is the CUSTOMER’s – wishes – based on where they buy their games.

    If I want my friends on Steam when I’m playing a game – I’ll buy and play it in Steam.

    If I wanted same from Origin then by all means give me that…

    Let the customer decide here – stop trying to manhandle people for your own greasy and suspicious ends eh? We’re paying for a game – not buying into your cult-creation mania.

    • Premium User Badge

      DarkNoghri says:

      Ideally, what I would like to see come out of this is that Steam backs off of its policy that Steam needs to run all the time.

      Then, you run Steam when you need games updated. Then you can close it. When you run a Steam game, you get a Steam overlay with your Steam friends list.

      Then, open up chat between the main services that have friends lists already. Steam, GFWL, Origin, whatever. Open up the chat APIs, and then allow linking of usernames through OpenID or something. Now you can talk to friends cross service.

      If you then need an overlay on a game that isn’t Steamworks or Origin, run Evolve or XFire or something (which now would link into the above mentioned unified chat). Or check a box somewhere that tells the Steam overlay to fire up over a non-steam game like it does now.

      Looking back at this, my thoughts are “Yeah, right.” But seriously, I wish they would do something for the consumers for a change.

    • Premium User Badge

      Malibu Stacey says:

      Ideally, what I would like to see come out of this is that Steam backs off of its policy that Steam needs to run all the time.

      Then, you run Steam when you need games updated. Then you can close it. When you run a Steam game, you get a Steam overlay with your Steam friends list.

      Basically what you’re asking for is a checkbox on the Interface tab of the Steam settings dialog which says “Run Steam automatically when my computer starts” which you can toggle off so it doesn’t automatically launch when you log in to your Windows profile?

      Err wait doesn’t that already exist? Oh yeah it does & has since 2004.

  41. Vexing Vision says:

    If Origin allows me to pick the installation directory for games I want to install, I may be seriously tempted.

    • johnpeat says:

      EADM has always allowed that – I’ve not installed anything since it had “ORIGIN” painted over it’s title area but I don’t see why they’d stop it???

  42. Brutal Deluxe says:

    I don’t want a relationship with EA. EA is ugly and abusive.

  43. pyjamarama says:

    Valve is wrong on this one and hope they change their policy.
    Just like other online retailers sell games with steamworks they should sell games with other services. If I want the game the fact that isn’t on Steam doesn’t stop me from buying it.
    It’s sad to read that people do so, this is the sort of thing that leads to monopoly’s.

  44. yhalothar says:

    Unfortunately, if we’re not allowed to manage this experience directly and establish a relationship with you, it disrupts our ability to provide the support you expect and deserve>
    I have used Origin and frankly, especially in comparison to Steam, it does not give me the experience I deserve. Unless this is what EA thinks I deserve, in which case I bid them good day.

  45. BloatedGuppy says:

    I think hating EA is just a reflex now, for me anyway. Naming the platform “Origin” when they were the bastards who murdered Ultima is just an extra kick in the balls. EA can go fuck themselves.

    • Wulf says:

      That was my reaction as well. I mean, really, what unforgivable dicks they are.

      They buy one of my favourite developers, gut them, ruin them completely, destroy the Utlima brand, turn it into a web game, and then use the Origin brand for a download service. Fuck you, EA. This is just taking the wound they caused and pouring a metric fuck-tonne of salt into it. Oh, and probably cackling and moustache-twirling in the process, just because.

      If they’d named it something else then I might have considered it, but the Lords of Ultima insult is still fresh in my mind as an instance of them taking a once glorious IP and whoring it, whoring it for whatever small amount of worth it has left. And now they’re doing that with the name of the developer, too.

      Anyone who takes any amount of pride as an older PC gamer, and someone who played the Origin titles, should feel at least a little bit indignant about this. It forces every recollection I have of EA doing this to great PC developers to the surface, and they’ve done it to so many. I mean, what’s next EA… ? Are you going to disband Mythic so that you can create a social networking service called such? I really wouldn’t put it past EA.

      And therein lies my problem with this service. It just feels so completely cold, heartless, soulless, and entirely unempathic, and if I’m going to put this service to use, I’ll just be used in the same cold way they used the Origin IP. At least Valve puts on a friendly face, they’re nice like that, and they show some amount of respect for people. This, on the other hand, is horrible.

      I want no part of it.

  46. mlstrum says:

    I see a lot of hate about big corps, some blaming one, other the others.
    I never enjoyed GFWL and am always glad when a company removes them from their game. It just adds layers and layers of account, security, friend systems and other uselesness so we get drawn towards one system through another.
    I don’t mind those who like GFWL more, neither do I mind those joining Origin over Steam.
    But I’m a Steam guy, I want to use Steamworks with my Steam friends. I don’t want to be bothered with other systems INSIDE the one I’m currently using.

    Also for the sake of arguments; EA is stockholder based while Valve is privately owned. EA has legal responsabilities towards their stockholders and are required by law to increase profitability. Valve on the other hand can do whatever Gabe thinks good. That would be a bad thing if he were egoïstical and megalomaniac… but the way I see and feel it; no services offer the games, the support, the community and the prices for my PC gaming needs like Steam does. If that doesn’t talk about commitment to their users I don’t know what is.

  47. Robin_G says:

    I’m sticking with steam on this one. I haven’t liked the previous EA download services. I also hate how EA handles its DLC, especially with Bioware games, they were pretty awkward. That is, of course, if were deemed lucky enough to be even given the option to buy DLC for our late console ports.

  48. Tei says:

    I am with Steam on this.
    EA, no doubts, will close any server that don’t produce a profit. And patch servers don’t produce this profit. But it produce profit for Steam. I know wen I install a game on Steam that I will get all the patches, but I don’t trust EA to do the same. EA may even discontinue games that hare older than 5 years. And I know Steam will not do that.

    Do I want to depend on a EA server, 10 years down the road?

    June 23, 2011 Online Service Shutdown
    SimSocial on Facebook

    Previously Shut Down Online Service
    Arena Football™ for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    Arena Football™: Road to Glory for PlayStation 2
    Armies of Exigo™ for PC
    Army of Two™ for PlayStation 3 (Asia only)
    Battlefield 2: Modern Combat™ for Xbox
    Burnout™ Revenge for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    Burnout™ Dominator for PlayStation Portable
    Burnout™ 3: Takedown ™ for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    Def Jam® for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
    EA SPORTS™ Fantasy Football 09 for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
    EA SPORTS™ FIFA Manager 10 for PC
    EA SPORTS™ Fight Night Round 2 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    EA SPORTS™ Fight Night Round 3 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Xbox
    Facebreaker™ for Xbox 360 and PlayStation 3
    FIFA Soccer 2005 for PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    FIFA 06 for PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox and Xbox 360
    FIFA 07 for PC, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Xbox 360
    FIFA 08 for PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and PC
    FIFA 09 for PC, PlayStation Portable, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii
    FIFA 09 Ultimate Team for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
    FIFA Street 3 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
    The Godfather™ The Game for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
    GoldenEye: Rogue Agent™ for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    The Lord of the Rings™, The Battle for Middle-earth™ for PC
    The Lord of the Rings™, The Battle for Middle-earth™ II for PC and Xbox 360
    The Lord of the Rings™, The Battle for Middle-earth™ II, The Rise of the Witch-king™ for PC and Xbox 360
    The Lord of the Rings: Conquest™ for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
    MVP Baseball™ 2005 for PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    MVP™ 07 NCAA® Baseball for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    Madden NFL 05 for PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    Madden NFL 06 for PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox and Xbox 360
    Madden NFL 07 for PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox and Xbox 360
    Madden NFL 08 for PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Wii, Xbox and Xbox 360
    Madden NFL 09 for PlayStation Portable (all regions), PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, Wii and Xbox
    Madden 10 for PlayStation Portable (all regions), PlayStation 2 and Wii
    Marvel Nemesis™: Rise of the Imperfects™ for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    Medal of Honor Pacific Assault™ for PC
    Medal of Honor™ Rising Sun for PlayStation 2
    Mercenaries 2: World in Flames™ for PC
    NASCAR® 05: Chase for the Cup™ for PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NASCAR® 06: Total Team Control for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NASCAR® 07 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, Xbox and Xbox 360
    NASCAR® 08 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
    NASCAR® 09 for PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (Europe Only)
    NBA LIVE 05 for PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NBA LIVE 06 for PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox and Xbox 360
    NBA LIVE 07 for PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox and Xbox 360
    NBA LIVE 08 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation PortableandWii
    NBA LIVE 09 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and Wii
    NBA Street (2007) for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
    NBA Street V3 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NCAA® Basketball 08 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
    NCAA® Basketball 09 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
    NCAA® Football 05 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NCAA® Football 06 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NCAA® Football 07 for Xbox 360, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable and Xbox
    NCAA® Football 08 forPlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NCAA® Football 09 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360 and PlayStation 2
    NCAA® Football 10 for PlayStation 2
    NCAA® March Madness 06 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NCAA® March Madness™ 2005 for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NCAA® March Madness® 07 for PlayStation 2, Xbox and Xbox 360
    Need for Speed™ Carbon for PlayStation Portable
    Need for Speed™ Most Wanted for PlayStation Portable and Xbox
    Need for Speed™ ProStreet for PC and PlayStation Portable
    Need for Speed™ Underground for PlayStation 2
    Need for Speed™ Underground 2 for PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NFL Head Coach 09 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NFL STREET 2: Unleashed for PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NFL STREET 3 for PlayStation 2
    NFL Tour for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
    NHL® 2005 for PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NHL® 06 for PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    NHL® 07 for PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox and Xbox 360
    NHL® 08 for PlayStation 3, Xbox 360, PlayStation 2 and PC
    NHL® 09 for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
    The Simpsons™ Game for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
    The Sims Carnival
    Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 05 for PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 06 for PC, PlayStation 2, Xbox and Xbox 360
    Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 07 for PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable, Xbox and Xbox 360
    Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 08 for PC, PlayStation 2 PlayStation 3, PlayStation Portable and Xbox 360
    Tiger Woods PGA TOUR® 09 for PlayStation 3, Wii and Xbox 360
    TimeSplitters 3: Future Perfect™ for Xbox and PlayStation 2
    Total Club Manager 06 for PlayStation 2
    UEFA Champions League™ 2004-2005 for PC, PlayStation 2 and Xbox
    UEFA Champions League™ 2006-2007 for PlayStation 2 and PlayStation Portable
    UEFA Champions League™ 07 for PC and Xbox 360
    UEFA EURO 2008™ for PC PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360
    2006 FIFA World Cup™ for PC, PlayStation 2, PlayStation Portable, Xbox and Xbox 360
    2010 FIFA World Cup™ for PC, PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360 (only Hospitality upload functionality retired)
    2010 FIFA World Cup™ for PlayStation Portable and Wii
    2010 FIFA World Cup™ Demo for PlayStation 3 and Xbox 360

  49. Premium User Badge

    Alkaine says:

    Are EA’s PR employees comment-bombing this blog as well? Awesome.

  50. Nighthood says:

    It’s probably worth noting that Bioshock 2 has DLC which can only be accessed, bought and downloaded through GFWL, there is no steam version at all of said DLC.

    So yeah, I’d not jump to the conclusion that EA are lying, but there seems to be a lot of spin going on.