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Dragon Age II Pulled From Steam, EA Points Finger at Valve

Valve remains quiet about its strained relationship with Electronic Arts.

Dragon Age II is the latest game to be caught in the middle of tensions between EA and Steam.

The continued, confusing relationship between Valve, Steam and Electronic Arts continues, with Dragon Age II coming down from the digital platform as the game's downloadable content launches.

Dragon Age II: Legacy, the first major expansion for the RPG sequel, launched this week. Soon after, Dragon Age II came down from Steam without an explanation.

As has been the case in the past, EA was quick to issue a statement about the reason why.

"At EA, we offer our games and content to all major download services including GameStop, Amazon, Direct2Drive and Steam," said EA senior VP of global e-commerce David DeMartini in an emailed statement. "Unfortunately, Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to sell downloadable content. No other download service has adopted this practice. Consequently some of our games have been removed by Steam."

"We hope to work out an agreement to keep our games on Steam," he continued.

So far, that hasn't happened. Dragon Age II still isn't available through Steam.

Crysis 2 still isn't available on Steam, after being pulled over downloadable content issues.

The erratic process of pulling EA games from Steam started a few weeks back, when Crysis 2 disappeared. EA said the reason was a change on policy regarding downloadable content, as EA and Crytek had brokered a deal for another distributor to be the exclusive host of that content.

Thus, Crysis 2 came down.

"It’s unfortunate that Steam has removed Crysis 2 from their service. This was not an EA decision or the result of any action by EA," said the company at the time. "Steam has imposed a set of business terms for developers hoping to sell content on that service--many of which are not imposed by other online game services. Unfortunately, Crytek has an agreement with another download service which violates the new rules from Steam and resulted in its expulsion of Crysis 2 from Steam."

Rumors persist Battlefield 3 will not be on Steam when it releases in October. A list of digital distributors on the official website didn't include Steam, but was eventually pulled down. EA has not officially commented, except to say the decision rested completely in the hands of Steam, not them.

When Crysis 2 came down from Steam, Alice: Madness Returns went up. I asked about Battlefield 3.

"No new information on BF3 or what Steam will decide to do with other EA titles," said the company. "We are glad they chose to post Alice on Steam."

You can still purchase Dragon Age: Origins on Steam.

Patrick Klepek on Google+
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Posted by patrickklepek
Dragon Age II is the latest game to be caught in the middle of tensions between EA and Steam.

The continued, confusing relationship between Valve, Steam and Electronic Arts continues, with Dragon Age II coming down from the digital platform as the game's downloadable content launches.

Dragon Age II: Legacy, the first major expansion for the RPG sequel, launched this week. Soon after, Dragon Age II came down from Steam without an explanation.

As has been the case in the past, EA was quick to issue a statement about the reason why.

"At EA, we offer our games and content to all major download services including GameStop, Amazon, Direct2Drive and Steam," said EA senior VP of global e-commerce David DeMartini in an emailed statement. "Unfortunately, Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to sell downloadable content. No other download service has adopted this practice. Consequently some of our games have been removed by Steam."

"We hope to work out an agreement to keep our games on Steam," he continued.

So far, that hasn't happened. Dragon Age II still isn't available through Steam.

Crysis 2 still isn't available on Steam, after being pulled over downloadable content issues.

The erratic process of pulling EA games from Steam started a few weeks back, when Crysis 2 disappeared. EA said the reason was a change on policy regarding downloadable content, as EA and Crytek had brokered a deal for another distributor to be the exclusive host of that content.

Thus, Crysis 2 came down.

"It’s unfortunate that Steam has removed Crysis 2 from their service. This was not an EA decision or the result of any action by EA," said the company at the time. "Steam has imposed a set of business terms for developers hoping to sell content on that service--many of which are not imposed by other online game services. Unfortunately, Crytek has an agreement with another download service which violates the new rules from Steam and resulted in its expulsion of Crysis 2 from Steam."

Rumors persist Battlefield 3 will not be on Steam when it releases in October. A list of digital distributors on the official website didn't include Steam, but was eventually pulled down. EA has not officially commented, except to say the decision rested completely in the hands of Steam, not them.

When Crysis 2 came down from Steam, Alice: Madness Returns went up. I asked about Battlefield 3.

"No new information on BF3 or what Steam will decide to do with other EA titles," said the company. "We are glad they chose to post Alice on Steam."

You can still purchase Dragon Age: Origins on Steam.

Staff
Edited by MEATBALL

This rubbish needs to end, Steam's terms seem a bit too restrictive, but it feels like EA are all too happy to simply take their ball and go home. Hopefully both sides will figure out something at some point.

Posted by buft

the origins/steam war continues

Posted by HT101

This is a weird thing that EA's been doing, but since I don't play games on PC it doesn't actually concern me. However, it does suck for the people who do play all their games on the PC.

Posted by delorean99947

If you want EA games, you wont get it through Steam.

Posted by Jackhole

I guess this means I'm going to buy The Old Republic on Origin... gross.

Online
Posted by TorMasturba

Dragon Age 2 ain't exactly awesome either way so I've stopped caring about anything in that universe.

Oh and EA and Steam need a time out, they should go and sit on the naughty publisher step and think about what they've been doing!

Posted by bald_n_nekkid

Meh, Dragon Age II is garbage anyway.

Posted by wolf_blitzer85

John Riccitiello and Gabe Newell need to sex it out....hard.

Posted by try_again

all because of the DLC. miss the days when you bought expansions to the game and were not nickel and dimed by the game publishers.

Posted by Seedofpower

They'll be back......

They always come back.

Posted by iamthemoneyj

PATRICK, did you mean EA points finger at VALVE?

Posted by Claude

I guess it has become very clear that Valve answers to no one.

Posted by Vexxan

@Seedofpower said:

They'll be back......

They always come back.

Posted by Irvandus

Valve being restrictive is dumb. Ea being dicks about it is dumb. Man video games.

Posted by GogDog

And nothing of value was lost.

Posted by AxleBro

dragon age 2 and crysis 2 not on steam? ... not a big loss. dragon age 2 was a letdown (icons that tell you how your actions will pan out and the same dungeon re-used 200 times totally makes it a bad game get at me) and crysis 2 is just another shooter... and a pretty bad one tbh.

Posted by TheHT

"Steam has imposed a set of business terms for developers hoping to sell content on that service--many of which are not imposed by other online game services." 

"Unfortunately, Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to sell downloadable content. No other download service has adopted this practice."
 

I get a real villainizing-the-leader-so-we-can-get-our-foot-in-the-door vibe from this, having been used twice now, the second time with harsher words.
Posted by Jumbs

I'd completely understand if the EA/Bioware websites weren't complete and utter messes, and painfully annoying to buy DLC on. But since they are, this is ridiculous.

Posted by Cday

@buft:

There is no "war" here. EA is just trying to keep Origin in the news and in the process make Steam look like bad guys, kicking and screaming like a child whose mother just refused them some money for the ice cream truck.

@delorean99947:

http://store.steampowered.com/publisher/Electronic%20Arts?snr=1_234_234__13

Posted by Rhaknar

its all about the cut that Valve takes on everything (including DLC) and by having it as a in game store thing, it bypasses Steam so valve doesnt get the cut, EA gets 100% of it... and thats fine. But is Legacy not available on XBL and PSN for example? And they get cuts of that shit FOR SURE.
 
So while EA has every right to want to have 100% of profit on DLC, its OBVIOUS this is about Origin vs Steam and they are using this as a way to look good and still get their games off steam.

Posted by HubrisRanger

I'm glad to see EA using their bully pulpit to make a very public stand about whatever weird draconian policies that Valve is using on the back-end of Steam. It feels like the publishers at the top of the chain (ie, those that are Valve's competition) have long had a strained relationship with Steam, while it support and bolsters indie developers who aren't much of a threat and are willing to meet the behemoth on its own terms. The fact that EA is making this public of a stink about it makes me wonder when other major developers will do the same. I recognize that fracturing the download marketplace on the PC front is going to be inconvenience for customers, but it always struck me as odd that a relatively high-profile developer was the gatekeeper for the biggest distribution channel, and only surprised it took this long for someone to finally step up and say 'Hey, Valve, stop being dicks.'

Posted by Gamer_152

This seems to be something to do with a possible conflict between Steam and Origin, but I wish EA would be clearer about this one. If Valve are being too restrictive with Steam, what are the troublesome restrictions they are imposing?

Moderator
Posted by Brendan

It's hard to say without any concrete evidence, but it doesn't seem surprising that Steam is suddenly getting bad press from EA's end in the follow-up to EA's own digital service. Of course, whether the offensive is coming from EA or Valve is impossible to say if I take away my bias.

Posted by AlexW00d

Considering no other Publisher faces any problem with Steam when selling DLC I think EA need to re-think this little charade. And they need to stop selling Bioware content through Bioware's shitty website with Bioware's shitty points system.

Posted by Peewi
@MEATBALL

Since you clearly know all about Steam's business terms, I think we'd all like to hear the details.
Posted by zeppelinracer
@delorean99947 said:
If you want EA games, you wont get it through Steam.
Posted by probablytuna

This is getting so weird.. Valve is strangely very quiet regarding this issue.

Posted by HubrisRanger

@Rhaknar said:

its all about the cut that Valve takes on everything (including DLC) and by having it as a in game store thing, it bypasses Steam so valve doesnt get the cut, EA gets 100% of it... and thats fine. But is Legacy not available on XBL and PSN for example? And they get cuts of that shit FOR SURE. So while EA has every right to want to have 100% of profit on DLC, its OBVIOUS this is about Origin vs Steam and they are using this as a way to look good and still get their games off steam.

The difference there is that those are closed platforms; if you're going to add shit to games on the console, you have to work within the parameters of the console owners guidelines. And EA has even there been the most anti-incorporation of all the major developers; see how they use their own servers on X-Box Live, admittedly towards shitty end. With the PC marketplace even more wide-open for a multitude of other stores to go with, it isn't that surprising that EA is going to play hardball with Valve because hey, you're not the only game in town; the fact that they openly name drop other distribution partners in the press release suggests that those relationships are more skewed in EA's favor, and they don't go to line the pockets of a developing competitor so they can put off making Half-Life 3.

Posted by Rhaknar
@Gamer_152 said:
This seems to be something to do with a possible conflict between Steam and Origin, but I wish EA would be clearer about this one. If Valve are being too restrictive with Steam, what are the troublesome restrictions they are imposing?
lets use Bathesda as an example. They have their New Vegas expansions on steam right... you buy them, Valve gets a cut of the cost like they do with everything on the store (well like anyone does, MS on XBL, Sony on PSN, etc). EA doesnt put their DLC on steam, they sell it through in-game stores, so it bypasses Steam, and thus Valve doesnt get a cut. 
 
The hypocrisy here is that they do put their dlc on XBL or PSN tho, who also get cuts (i dont know if other PC DD services sell dlc packs or not so i wont comment on those)
Posted by OldGuy

But... is it really about Origin? Since I can go to DirectToDrive to get my DAII and Crysis 2...
 
Sorry... I shouldn't have shifted focus from the EA is EVIL vibe... carry on...

Posted by Eribuster

To be honest, I don't really care which DRM+Store I have to go through to play a PC game as long as I can play it. EADM/Origin hasn't been too much of a hassle for me to use, although it can be frustrating when it takes a few hours for a purchase to register or give out a product key.

Posted by Rhaknar
@HubrisRanger said:

@Rhaknar said:

its all about the cut that Valve takes on everything (including DLC) and by having it as a in game store thing, it bypasses Steam so valve doesnt get the cut, EA gets 100% of it... and thats fine. But is Legacy not available on XBL and PSN for example? And they get cuts of that shit FOR SURE. So while EA has every right to want to have 100% of profit on DLC, its OBVIOUS this is about Origin vs Steam and they are using this as a way to look good and still get their games off steam.

The difference there is that those are closed platforms; if you're going to add shit to games on the console, you have to work within the parameters of the console owners guidelines. And EA has even there been the most anti-incorporation of all the major developers; see how they use their own servers on X-Box Live, admittedly towards shitty end. With the PC marketplace even more wide-open for a multitude of other stores to go with, it isn't that surprising that EA is going to play hardball with Valve because hey, you're not the only game in town; the fact that they openly name drop other distribution partners in the press release suggests that those relationships are more skewed in EA's favor, and they don't go to line the pockets of a developing competitor so they can put off making Half-Life 3.

dude if you dont think for a second that this is in SOME PART about Origin you are out of your fucking mind, sorry :)  Again, i think EA has every right to do this, dont get me wrong.
 
And Steam stopped being open when they started doing F2P shit (which is the genesis of all of this really, they had to change their terms of service because of that, otherwise they wouldnt get anythiing from the microtransactions and thus it would be pointless for them as a business)
Posted by HubrisRanger

@Rhaknar said:

@Gamer_152 said:
This seems to be something to do with a possible conflict between Steam and Origin, but I wish EA would be clearer about this one. If Valve are being too restrictive with Steam, what are the troublesome restrictions they are imposing?
lets use Bathesda as an example. They have their New Vegas expansions on steam right... you buy them, Valve gets a cut of the cost like they do with everything on the store (well like anyone does, MS on XBL, Sony on PSN, etc). EA doesnt put their DLC on steam, they sell it through in-game stores, so it bypasses Steam, and thus Valve doesnt get a cut. The hypocrisy here is that they do put their dlc on XBL or PSN tho, who also get cuts (i dont know if other PC DD services sell dlc packs or not so i wont comment on those)

Again, those are closed systems. You can bet bottom dollar if EA could find a way to sell you DLC directly on the PS3 and 360, they (and everyone else) would do it rather than use the storefront that the console developers provided. On the PC, no such hurdle exists, but most developers find the ease and exposure of using Steam to be a bigger benefit than the lost revenue from the cut that Valve takes. EA seems to be saying "Fuck that noise, if you're going to take this amount off the top, we're just not going to use your store anymore because we have other options." It would make sense financially, save for the fact that in the hearts and minds of PC gamers, Valve and Steam are king and anyone who tries to challenge them are money-grubbing assholes. Because Valve's main purpose as a company isn't to make money, apparently.

Posted by HumanityPlague

Here's the problem with EA's argument: Buying DLC from their store is terrible. I'll use two EA games on Steam to illustrate this:

1. Burnout Paradise: Every time you boot it up, it goes to a store-front website (then a browser window) in order to buy the DLC (the cars, and I think the island set) EVERY TIME you boot the game it does this. That's annoying. It's like EA is mocking you for not buying it.

and 2. Mass Effect 2: It's a goddamn chore to get DLC in the game. First you have to go to Bioware's website, navigate the labyrinth they've designed to keep you away from it, buy the "Bioware Points", download the DLC exe, and run it.

Mind you, both of these games came out before Origin's existence. They only illustrate though EA's backwards-ass thinking of DLC content. Look at the DLC for Magic the Gathering, Fallout, or Dawn of War 2: Retribution. You go to the store page, and find the game for sale, and the DLC (and possible collected DLC packs). How hard is that process? Step 1 -- Find DLC for game you want, Step 2 -- Buy DLC for game you want with credit card, Step 3 -- Play game with DLC

EA's process is, Step 1 -- Find DLC of game you want, Step 2 -- Find it on the website or store, Step 3 -- Buy the points you need, Step 4 -- Purchase the DLC maybe (if the store lets you), Step 5 -- Sacrifice a goat & offer your first born to EA, Step 6 -- Install DLC, Step 7 -- hope it works.

EA is terrible.

Posted by Tom316

@Jackhole said:

I guess this means I'm going to buy The Old Republic on Origin... gross.

You do know that Origin is going to be required to play SWTOR right. It was announced awhile back that Origin will be required to download the patchs and to play the game. Even the boxed copy is going to make you install Origin just like Steam based games that you buy in a box.

Posted by Chibi_Kaji

Has any other publisher had this problem with Steam?

Posted by l4wd0g

Gotta believe EA. Steam is a jany, unreliable, unknown downloadedable service, unlike Origin.... *#sarcasm*

Posted by HubrisRanger

@Rhaknar said:

@HubrisRanger said:

dude if you dont think for a second that this is in SOME PART about Origin you are out of your fucking mind, sorry :) Again, i think EA has every right to do this, dont get me wrong. And Steam stopped being open when they started doing F2P shit (which is the genesis of all of this really, they had to change their terms of service because of that, otherwise they wouldnt get anythiing from the microtransactions and thus it would be pointless for them as a business)

Don't get me wrong, EA would be delighted if you bought all of your EA content on Origins because then there is no middle man, you're purchasing it directly from the content provider. I'm just saying that EA isn't above working with other digital retailers, and its only their relationship with Steam that has been this strained. Again, I'm not saying that Valve is doing anything unethical persay, but there is clearly some business relationship there that has been strained to the point of breaking.

Posted by MrRedwine

I was excited to play ME2 on PC with all the expansions until I tried to download them. It was a hassle to the point that I decided not to bother at all. I'll just keep my EA games a console experience, I guess.

Posted by Rhaknar
@HubrisRanger said:

@Rhaknar said:

@Gamer_152 said:
This seems to be something to do with a possible conflict between Steam and Origin, but I wish EA would be clearer about this one. If Valve are being too restrictive with Steam, what are the troublesome restrictions they are imposing?
lets use Bathesda as an example. They have their New Vegas expansions on steam right... you buy them, Valve gets a cut of the cost like they do with everything on the store (well like anyone does, MS on XBL, Sony on PSN, etc). EA doesnt put their DLC on steam, they sell it through in-game stores, so it bypasses Steam, and thus Valve doesnt get a cut. The hypocrisy here is that they do put their dlc on XBL or PSN tho, who also get cuts (i dont know if other PC DD services sell dlc packs or not so i wont comment on those)

Again, those are closed systems. You can bet bottom dollar if EA could find a way to sell you DLC directly on the PS3 and 360, they (and everyone else) would do it rather than use the storefront that the console developers provided. On the PC, no such hurdle exists, but most developers find the ease and exposure of using Steam to be a bigger benefit than the lost revenue from the cut that Valve takes. EA seems to be saying "Fuck that noise, if you're going to take this amount off the top, we're just not going to use your store anymore because we have other options." It would make sense financially, save for the fact that in the hearts and minds of PC gamers, Valve and Steam are king and anyone who tries to challenge them are money-grubbing assholes. Because Valve's main purpose as a company isn't to make money, apparently.

NEVER did i say that valve wasnt about the money. And you think if EA found a way to bypass XBL and PSN with DLC that MS and Sony would play ball? They would do EXACTLY the same thing valve is doing.
Posted by Rhaknar
@Chibi_Kaji said:

Has any other publisher had this problem with Steam?

not yet. the closest example would be Games For Windows live games, they have their own marketplace as you know, but they also release their DLC on steam, like the Fable 3 stuff for example.
 
Actually, Dirt 3 has a fuckton of GFW dlc that isnt on steam, and the game wasnt pulled...
Posted by PK_Koopa

Saying Steam is "restrictive" ,and then being vague about the details sounds like EA trying to make out that Steam are the bad guys here. 
 
Everything just stinks here about the way EA has worded everything, which makes me believe that EA has a way bigger blame for this than they're letting on.

Posted by Arker101

EA come on. You can't compete with Valve. Please give up on origins. 
Because you sure screwed up the sequel to dragon age origins.

Posted by Henny
@cday130:  
 
I said the same in another thread. I think Valve is doing the right thing by not commenting. Let EA make all the noise they want with Origins and if their services aren't up to par, customers will come back running.
Posted by benjaebe
@Tom316 said:

@Jackhole said:

I guess this means I'm going to buy The Old Republic on Origin... gross.

You do know that Origin is going to be required to play SWTOR right. It was announced awhile back that Origin will be required to download the patchs and to play the game. Even the boxed copy is going to make you install Origin just like Steam based games that you buy in a box.

Haha no.. 
 
" Origin is a digital storefront, and the desktop application is there to give you quick access to Origin exclusives and deals. However, you won't need to launch the Origin application to runThe Old Republic, nor will you patch the game via Origin. Once the game is on your hard disk, you'll be connecting to our servers to patch and launch the game, and Origin does not have to be running to do that." 
 
But, you know, feel free to continue spreading bullshit if you so please.
Posted by CornBREDX

I really wish I had time right now to count how many times this article says the word STEAM haha

Posted by Bertlezat
@HubrisRanger said:

 so they can put off making Half-Life 3.

Because companies have a threshold of money that they want to make... anything above that amount and they dial back their business. 
 
I guarantee that anybody that works at Valve and is involved with supporting the Steam platform has very little/nothing to do with making Half-Life 3. When it comes to development I put Valve in the same category as Blizzard. They work on 3-4 projects at once and the games come out when they are ready, and they are excellent.  
 
EA is totally playing the average gamer/consumer as a fool. They want to get this huge ruckus built up around how terrible Steam is for kicking out their games so that the consumers will turn against Steam and start looking for alternative game delivery methods (ie. Origins). Really its just a power play on EA's part. Apple says no in app purchases on the App store, XBL and PSN don't allow it either. This practice by Steam really isn't any different than what those marketplaces do. 
Posted by HubrisRanger

@Chibi_Kaji said:

Has any other publisher had this problem with Steam?

Stardock opened Impulse, their own online PC gaming store, pretty much because they were unhappy with the terms of service that Valve required for Steam partnership, specifically the use of insular DRM and the fact that a competing developer absorbed a certain portion of their profits. The irony of Stardock then selling Impulse to GameStop cannot be understated.

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