EA’s download distribution service, Origin, essentially a makeover for the old EA Store, launched the summer of last year. Although EA assured that the service wasn’t meant to be a competitor for Valve’s Steam, curiously, various EA titles became “Origin” exclusive or disappeared off of Steam’s virtual shelves. EA pointed an accusing finger at Steam, blaming Steam’s download policies for EA’s title’s removal. In all but words, EA is going for a bout of fisticuffs with Valve.
Valve head Gabe Newell had some interesting things to say about Origin. When asked on the Seven Day Cooldown podcast about his thoughts on the Origin service, Newell stated, “I don’t think they’re [Origin] doing anything super-well yet.” He believes that Origin, since it’s still relatively new to the market as a digital distribution service, is at a disadvantage because “they’re still playing catch up” and as a result, they’ve yet to really build anything that’s “useful to software developers or gamers.”
However, Newell did have some positive comments about EA as well. He stated that Valve would still want EA’s games on Steam’s virtual shelves, but if “EA wants to take their shot at their own alternative to Steam, and if they’re successful at that and their customers like that then that’s great.” He hopes that EA will listen to Valve’s advice that bringing EA games to Steam would please Valve customers, after all, “Tim Sweeney [Epic Games founder] doesn't look at Steam and say 'we shouldn't support that because that will hurt long term sales of the Unreal Engine'. He's like, 'that's pretty cool, that's pretty useful'. So hopefully EA get their head to the same place.”
EA and Origin have been facing a lot of criticism from fans, mostly due to bad customer support. However, it seems that EA’s been taking steps to turn Origin’s image around, recently introducing an update to Origin’s account policies that allow banned players to continue to access their games. Although it’s highly unlikely, maybe EA will continue to listen to their fans’ pleas to bring EA games back to Steam.