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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+
195 Comments
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Posted by Brackynews

I like discs. Less politics.

Posted by Shuborno

I bet the terms are just that the DLC has to be offered directly through Steam.

If that's it, then I want Steam to have that restriction. I don't want to download DLC or patches from external sources... that's the whole point of Steam.

I'll buy Dragon Age II if the Ultimate Edition comes out on Steam and they don't have to argue about DLC.

Posted by RecSpec

I'm honestly surprised that stuff like this hasn't happened earlier.

Posted by vonFlampanker

Trying to be objective about this: I've never had a problem with anything related to Steam (and I was vehemently against it, the whole concept of it, when it first appeared).

EA on the other hand, has been behind some of the most miserable online experiences I've ever encountered. From requiring multiple accounts and logins to worthless online multiplayer and intrusive DRM

I'm more inclined to think, just based on my personal experience, that no matter who's at "fault", our best interest lies in Valve handing EA their hat.

Posted by TadThuggish

EA's biggest project for 2011 is an attempt to overtake Activision as hated douchebags.

Posted by PJ

@zungerman090 said:

@MEATBALL said:

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.

Pretty much this. Makes me wonder why this didn't happen a while back. Dragon Age: Origins had the same DLC delivery system and it didn't get pulled. If it does though, I will be expecting my refund.

Like thay said in the statement, these are NEW changes that Valves made, and DA:O is moste likely under another publishing agreement from Crysis 2 and DA2

Posted by Ron_Graphite

Ron Graphite here, CEO of The Pencil Council, letting you gamer dudes know that The Pencil Council will never do business with whatever company you think it's cool to "hate on" this month. Keep using pencils, keep safe, and stray away from the nasty chemicals found in pens.  
 
Thanks!

Posted by ITSSEXYTIME

Luckily, if you already have the games you don't lose them.

This only affects new buyers. Granted, the game was on sale lt couple of months, so most peopleted it will have already got it. (disappointed)

Posted by Kidavenger

It would be interesting to know whether EA making the DLC available at both Steam and through their own channels would solve the problem; i.e. if it didn't that would truely make Valve look like the ones in the wrong and it seems like the easiest way to resolve this.

Online
Posted by RichMeisterMan
@Shuborno said:

I bet the terms are just that the DLC has to be offered directly through Steam.

If that's it, then I want Steam to have that restriction. I don't want to download DLC or patches from external sources... that's the whole point of Steam.

I'll buy Dragon Age II if the Ultimate Edition comes out on Steam and they don't have to argue about DLC.

This is exactly what i was thinking.  And it appears EA thinks they can get the game pulled and be the first one to make a statement saying it's not their fault when obviously they appear to be forcing Steam's hand.  It's like EA will allow anyone to sell a catalyst that is a 50-60 dollar game while they are the only ones that reap the benefits for the DLC sales.
Posted by Shivoa

EA have a history of leveraging their market position for anti-consumer behaviour. See their actions at the start of XBL, holding the skill warm head of the Dreamcast (which they did not support and claimed partial credit for the death of in doing so), which is still felt today in the fast closure of on-line experiences in titles to push consumers to newer, more profitable, titles and let's not forget EA was the first company to get MS to agree to share their customer contact details as part of the Live contract. By connecting to an online EA game on XBL (or any other platform but of note is that XBL is a unified closed platform so this wasn't the case for any other publisher titles for many years) you are sharing your XBL email address with EA for use in direct marketing (and are asked to create an EA identity to track your user beyond the XBL user you already maintain).

Valve are known for a Pixar-esque string of critically well received hits since their inception 15 years ago. They also pioneered the digital download space to become the market leader for the PC (a quest not without plenty of bumps but the Steam online DRM is still considered a good enough solution by most on both side of the DRM debate - starting out with the right to re-download any where, any time with every purchase has built customer satisfaction and expectations to the point where EA's first digital download store attempt was laughed off the market when they tried to monetise that feature). Their online service has recently been bullish in offering consumer focussed (and enjoyed) exploitation with well advertised and MMO/achievement orientated sales. Although the use of rewarded/prize draw achievements for games on limited-time deep discount sale is quite a focussed attack on the wallet of consumers the perceived value returned is high and so Valve are actually praised for this. Their use of indie games for both sales pushes and to promote their own title releases with ARG integration also increases their kudos with consumers at the hardcore/dedicated end of PC gaming.

Whoever is actually being unreasonable in this fight for customers and dominance of digital distribution, you can see why EA are going to have to really go above and beyond and explicitly state their case and grievances before they get much traction from the PC community.

As an advocate of removing retailer exclusive pre-order DLC and other limited offer content locked from customers who purchased a title at 'the wrong store' or without pre-order, I can definitely see a justification for Valve insisting that, going forward, any title with DLC must at least offer that DLC to customers via the Valve ecosystem (although if they insist on exclusively offering DLC for Steam copies I think it is definitely an anti-consumer move and goes too far). Let the customer decide if they want to click the DLC button in Steam or in the game's other service (with in-game linking) and decide for themselves where to buy and how to divide up their cash (between middleman-retailer and middleman-publisher, the option to specify how much of the cash actually goes to creator-developer is unfortunately unavailable). A change in business terms consistent with the above would explain why Fable 3 had DLC offered both as Steam and GfWL purchases on release and shows Valve being a bit of a bully but able to justify the position by saying they are protecting their customers by ensuring a Steam purchased copy of a game will always be able to access/purchase the complete game.

Posted by KaneRobot

Fine with me. I'll never use Steam unless there is absolutely no other choice...which unfortunately may be the case someday, as far as PC games. 
 
When I buy a game, I like to own it, not own a license to play it.

Posted by Rhaknar
@KaneRobot said:
Fine with me. I'll never use Steam unless there is absolutely no other choice...which unfortunately may be the case someday, as far as PC games.  When I buy a game, I like to own it, not own a license to play it.

err every game you own, even the physical ones, are just "licenses to play it",. You own those physical copies as much as people own digital ones
Posted by Deathpooky

Hard to trust anything EA says here. Steam runs a great service and I've heard nothing but good things from the developers they work with compared to other publishing services. EA ran a terrible service which they're trying to rebrand and restart.

My guess is EA's trying to soften the ground for when they stop working with Steam altogether and move all their games to Origin. Which likely will crash and burn, just as before.

Posted by joeq1159

I'm really interested in knowing what the terms are. This is strange. Ugh can't we all just get along and be fair?

Posted by Shivoa

@Kidavenger: From the continued Steam-compliance of other titles like Fable 3, I suspect that would be an acceptable option for Valve. They may be demanding some kind of exclusivity or non-compete lack-of-Origin-branding but all signs from other competitors is that they are enforcing neither of those conditions so EA would be free to put Origin DLC buttons all over the game itself and sell DLC to Steam owners that way as long as they also agreed to put the DLC up on the Steam store at the same time.

Posted by Rhaknar

by theway Origin is aparently going to have a summer sale, here´s the link: 
 
http://store.origin.com/store/ea/html/pbpage.summersale
 
 
unfortunately i cant go to this link, when i click it it just takes me to the generic portuguese origin page, with no sale. So...i guess its a sale for americans only, like the one they had a few weeks ago during the steam summer sale? If so, thanks for putting me in my place again EA, i keep forgetting we are inferior to our american brothers
Posted by selbie

EA start up their own online distribution service and wonder why Valve is pulling its games down.

EA is double dipping. Simple as that.

Posted by Lingxor

Battlefield 3 just wants to spend the weekend at Steam's house, but EA is a stone cold bitch.

Posted by Summoboomo
@PJ said:

@AttroPheed said:

EA you so fucking fail.

Your a fucking fail. Valve is being the dick in this scenario not EA. Why else is Steam the only place thats pulled EAs games?

I'm pretty sure it's because Valve's imposing a standard in more recent games that you can't make customers go to other websites to buy DLC, and you can't not release your DLC on Steam for Steam customers. That's the only thing I can think of that other online retailers haven't pushed.
 
Steam makes money on selling games and is happy to sell games, and it's not like they're not losing potential profits with this. If something was removed it's more likely that it was something EA was doing to break contract, not that Valve suddenly decided to fuck EA over.
Posted by mrangryface

I dont get it though, didn DA:O do in game purchasing too? ME2 as well- I DONT GIT IT

Posted by moondogg

Maybe I'm being a fan boy, but, I find it hard to believe Valve are doing anything dubious here. Their history with their customers is far and away the best of any company in the industry. 
 
Though Gabe does have all those knives... hmmm.
Posted by mavs
@KaneRobot said:
Fine with me. I'll never use Steam unless there is absolutely no other choice...which unfortunately may be the case someday, as far as PC games.  When I buy a game, I like to own it, not own a license to play it.
You'll only be buying EA games used, then. EA doesn't let you own their "entitlements".
Posted by 234r2we232

Oh well, they're just EA games. Isn't EA customer service also the worst? They make you miserable jumping through their hoops AND they're selling you last years game also drink Dr Pepper  drink Dr Pepper  drink Dr Pepper.

Posted by Brodehouse

I love in a thread about Valve not allowing anyone to buy an EA product, people are mad at EA for ... actually, I'm not sure what you can be mad at EA about. That they made a deal with D2D or hosted exclusive content on their own service and Valve is trying to decide whether or not they're allowed to do this?

@Shivoa: That's an impossible point, as 'the complete game' only refers to the money you've spent. DLC does not 'complete' a game. This scenario is pretty much saying that publishers taking money for retailer-specific bonuses have to give those bonuses to Valve without Valve paying a dime. If Best Buy paid you 50k to produce a piece of armor for buying it through them, Valve wants to have access to that without paying, or they're not allowing you to sell through them.

@selbie: Double-dipping, are you for real? EA's games are also available at D2D, Amazon, and retail stores, does that somehow qualify as double-dipping? Valve has released retail games at stores in addition to their own download service, is that double-dipping? Considering EA is only doing the thing that Valve started, I can't understand how it's wrong for EA to do it for awesome that Valve did.

Basically, no one wants to ever think anything bad about Valve. I find it funny that when Valve or Blizzard create an anti-piracy online DRM service, no one says boo, but EA makes a storefront to sell EA games and they might as well be establishing pogroms against gamers. It's funny people are so vigilant against EA and Ubisoft and yet excuse any Goddamn thing by Valve or Blizzard.

Posted by notlad

Both of them need to reason a bit here.

Posted by Elsolar

This is just hearsay, but I've been told that the reason the game was pulled was  because EA wanted to sell DLC through the Steam store (currently the sell DLC through in-game stores and their website), but didn't want to pay the fee per item sold. Which is ridiculous, but hey, I wouldn't quite put that past EA.

Posted by YukoAsho

My guess (and this is just that - a guess) is that EA wants nothing more to do with Steam and is using Valve's own policy against them to try in vain to look like the good guys. 
 
Of course, no one will EVER view EA as the good guys, but can't blame them for trying.

Posted by YukoAsho
@moondogg said:
Maybe I'm being a fan boy, but, I find it hard to believe Valve are doing anything dubious here. Their history with their customers is far and away the best of any company in the industry.  Though Gabe does have all those knives... hmmm.
They're all steak and butter knives.  Gotta keep 'em in rotation with how much he eats.  But yeah, it's a joke to even think that Valve is the bad guy here.  No other company has had the gamer's back as much as they.
Posted by siddarth0605

I just hope I can transfer my ME2 save games when ME3 inevitably gets pulled from steam on launch

Posted by PresidentOfJellybeans

If this is Steam's fault, why is it only happening with EA stuffs. I've no logical reason for it, but I trust Steam more than EA, and honestly have 0 interest in making an Origin account. If it ends up being Origin vs Steam, I'm fine with missing out on

EA games that I can't get on Steam. =-/

Posted by YukoAsho
@PresidentOfJellybeans said:

If this is Steam's fault, why is it only happening with EA stuffs. I've no logical reason for it, but I trust Steam more than EA, and honestly have 0 interest in making an Origin account. If it ends up being Origin vs Steam, I'm fine with missing out on

EA games that I can't get on Steam. =-/

This.  It's not like I can't get any EA games I DESPERATELY need (what few there are) on PS3 or 360 anyway, no reason to cave into EA's nonsense.
Posted by dezvous

@siddarth0605: It'll only get pulled after they release the DLC for ME3, that is, if EA continues to do what they have been with their DLC.

Posted by SimpleCRIPPLE

This reminds me of when EA refused to put Madden on Xbox until Microsoft allowed them to run their own online servers instead of Xbox Live. Now I get to look forward to EA spamming me with email everytime I connect to Live with one of their games. EA is playing this like Valve is the bad guy, but if I had to guess, EA wants something that won't be good for us.
 
Stick to your guns Valve.

Posted by LUMIN4RY

I trust Steam... EA... not so much.

Posted by jagenheim
@cday130 said:

@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.

This is my thoughts exactly when I read this article. 
Much of this is just EA pressing Valves buttons so they can present Origin as "it's the only option we had. Just look how Steam mistreats us!". 
Edited by Sanity

Guess i wont be buying any games from EA then, sorry but this is the only developer bitching and to me it sounds more like they just want a excuse to get off steam anyways.

Would also like to add i think EA needs steam more then steam needs EA. Thye will both lose money but ea stands to lose more as i and many others i imagine are not too keen on the idea of having games on a billion different services.

Thats why steam is great, it puts everything in one place, i dont need another game buying app running in the background.

Posted by xbob42

Isn't it funny that absolutely no other developer or publisher has complained about Steam's "restrictive policies?"
 
C'mon EA, no one buys your BS.

Posted by Davin

I'm really torn on this one and feel that neither one of them are right or wrong in the matter. Steam wants people to buy the DLC for the games they sell from Steam itself, thats reasonable. EA wants to bypass Steam and sell DLC for its games directly and collect more profits from selling it, again, makes sense. Bottom line is I wish the two sides could come together somehow. I love Steam and I will continue to use it long into the future and I don't want to start spreading out my online PC game purchases around to multiple companies. Steam has been good to me for all these years and I trust them. This whole thing stinks and no one wins.

Posted by Superfriend

No matter who wins- we lose.
 
Bad move on Valve´s side and certainly not going to make me want to install any of this "Origin" crap (The service, not Wing Commander)

Posted by edfromballarat

who will be buying DLC for DA2??? I thought that thing was played out

its hard not to make EA the empire and steam the rebel alliance on this one. I guess we'll just see how the facts pan out.

Posted by Phonics

Shitty pop-a-mole ''RPG'' gets pulled from Steam. News at 11.

Posted by Abndak

I would love to know what these " restrictive terms of service" are. I somehow have a feeling bringing them up would make ea seem ever more evil than they seem now.

Posted by jkuc316

Who will publish Valve games to consoles now?!

Posted by DeeGee

@Abndak said:

I would love to know what these " restrictive terms of service" are. I somehow have a feeling bringing them up would make ea seem ever more evil than they seem now.

Steam wants all DLC for games to go through them, so they can take a slice of that money. EA said no, we'll let users download the DLC straight from us. Steam said, later Dragon Age 2.

Doesn't really make EA seem too evil.

Posted by Kidavenger

@DeeGee said:

@Abndak said:

I would love to know what these " restrictive terms of service" are. I somehow have a feeling bringing them up would make ea seem ever more evil than they seem now.

Steam wants all DLC for games to go through them, so they can take a slice of that money. EA said no, we'll let users download the DLC straight from us. Steam said, later Dragon Age 2.

Doesn't really make EA seem too evil.

There is no reason why EA can't sell the DLC through both their store and Steam, let the players chose where they want to buy it. Steam isn't asking for exclusive(and there is absolutely no reason to believe they are), they are just looking to be in the running. A publisher excluding the largest distribution channel is just stupid.

Online
Edited by ashriels

Steam cannot possibly be that restricted, when financially insecure indie developers can sell their games across all of those digital platforms.
 
I'm calling EA out on their bullshit.  Their argument doesn't make sense.

Posted by sthusby

Hm, if Origin doesn't work out for EA, they're going to have a shitload of problems with getting their games back on Steam.

Posted by Tennmuerti

@Brodehouse said:

It's funny people are so vigilant against EA and Ubisoft and yet excuse any Goddamn thing by Valve or Blizzard.

Wait wait, did you actually just compare Ubisoft DRM to that of Valve or Blizzard ... lmao

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