When EA launched its personal digital distribution service late last month, the company insisted that it was never meant to compete with other digital distribution services like Steam. Now a company representative seems to be singing a different tune.
David DeMartini, head of Origin is talking about a "conflict" between its service and Steam. DeMartini says that recent business decisions by Steam have shown "areas of conflict" between the two services "on a going forward basis." DeMartini is referring to the sudden disappearance of Crysis 2, which, EA says, Valve took down because DLC for the game was being sold exclusively somewhere else.
"Crysis was taken down because the DLC was not available through Steam; it was available through [Direct2Drive]," said DeMartini in an interview with Gamasutra. "That would, I guess, be a situation where two partners didn't see eye to eye, and by their choice, they were going to take that product down because they were insisting that the DLC be available through Steam."
"We believe in absolute freedom of choice to allow customers to buy through whatever retail outlet... as long as they're buying an EA game, we're delighted," he added.
While DeMartini had sassy things to say about Steam, he did not say that EA was done distributing its games on Valve's digital distribution service:
"We feel like if you buy the product with Origin, where we're going on a long-term basis is we'll integrate some of the Origin feature set into many of our highest-profile IP... but by all means if your preferred retailer is Best Buy or Direct2Drive or Impulse or Steam or Amazon... we're going to make our product available to you."
But the million dollar question is, what does this mean and why is EA saying it now? Speculation is that EA will offer a number of its most popular titles via its own services first. This saves them from paying commissions on sales and allows them to offer deals that only a publisher can offer directly to a consumer. Could be.
We'll continue to follow Origin to see how EA plans to utilize it for future AAA releases.