“Where were you when the war began, Daddy?”
“Well, little Ignatius H. Meer III, I was at my PC, staring vacantly at Twitter. Probably eating some crisps as I did. I’ll never forget that dark, terrible day. The day that EA decided they could fight Steam.”
“Daddy? Why are you crying, Daddy?”
Crysis 2 has disappeared from Steam, and is now described as being “Origin only.” Origin is, you may recall, EA’s newly-relaunched download store. Uh-oh.
This week’s Alice: Madness Returns, meanwhile, is marked as listed as “ONLY AVAILABLE ON ORIGIN UNTIL JUNE 17TH”. This implies it will turn up on other services after that time, but may simply be referring to the retail release – the game is not listed on Steam at all as yet.
EA appears to be remaining tight-lipped on the matter for now, although matters become confusing in that you can still nab Crysis 2 from other store such as Direct2Drive, while the likes of Dragon Age II and Bulletstorm are still to be found on Valve’s service.
Everyone’s speculating that this may mean EA is determinedly resisting Valve’s infamously successful cornering of the download market, as it attempts (again) to make its own service something of a go-to store. Battlefield 3 will likely be the proof of that particular pudding – it’s EA’s biggest PC game in yonks, but is it so big that only being able to download it from one place won’t hurt it? You can pre-order Battlefield 3 from Origin already, but it’s not to be found anywhere on Steam. Then again, it doesn’t launch until Autumn anyway, so anything could happen in the months to come. Whatever’s happening, olde worlde retail releases appear to be proceeding as planned.
It’s all speculation and rumour for now, of course. We’ve contacted EA to try and work out what’s going on, and have been told a statement should be forthcoming later today. We’ll let you know as soon as we have more.
If this is what everyone’s thinking it is, what happens now? There aren’t many games that could support this kind of exclusivity, but perhaps Battlefield 3 and SWTOR are big enough to get away with it. OR ARE THEY?
Oh, and if you bought Crysis 2 from Steam at an earlier date, fear not – you can still play it.