The rumours were true, Spore has arrived on Steam. And it's brought with it a collection of EA games, making their first appearance on Valve's monolithic download service. Along with it comes MMO Warhammer: Age of Reckoning, racer Need For Speed Undercover, Bioware's Mass Effect, and FIFA Manager 2009. Oh, unless you don't live in the US or Canada. Sigh. Although apparently EA doesn't know about this.
There's been some confusion somewhere along the line. In the press release announcing EA's arrival on Steam, Valve states (our emphases),
"Valve today announced Spore, Spore Creepy & Cute Parts Pack, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, Mass Effect, Need for Speed Undercover and EA SPORTS FIFA Manager 2009 are available now to gamers in the United States and Canada via Steam."
Which is then immediately followed by a completely contradictory quote from EA's John Pleasants, their President, Global Publishing & Chief Operating Officer.
"We are pleased to extend our holiday titles to gamers worldwide via Steam..."
It seems Valve's version is the more realistic, as none of EA's games have appeared on EuroSteam. So are EA jumping on board the Train Of Madness with Ubisoft (with the exception of Far Cry 2) and Atari, where they won't make their games available internationally?
The very recent launch of both European and UK versions of Steam, charging unique prices - and EU readers, we're very aware of quite how unique the Euro pricing is, and will try to get some answers - means publishers can now charge their increased prices for us abroad types, surely making international sales a more likely prospect?
Before the brand new localised Steams, you could understand EA's fear of undercutting their own highly priced download site. For example, incredibly Spore is still priced at £40 on the EA Store, despite being available almost everywhere else at £30 or less. Direct2Drive have it at £28.22 - which also also recognises the drop in VAT.
However, if they want Spore at £40 on Steam, they can have that. So why not? We've contacted EA and Valve to see if there are any answers, and will let you know as soon as we hear anything.
EA plan to put Mirror's Edge, Red Alert 3 and Dead Space on Steam in coming weeks, but those outside of the US/Canada probably shouldn't hold their breath. Unless they're underwater, when it's essential.