EA wants full control of updates and downloadable content, and Valve doesn't allow that kind of funny business on Steam.
A few weeks ago, EA re-launched its online store as "Origin" and announced that digital PC versions of Star Wars: The Old Republic and Battlefield 3 would be exclusive titles. Shortly thereafter, Crysis 2 disappeared from Valve's Steam digital distribution platform and then re-appeared on Origin, also slated as an exclusive.
At first it appeared as if EA was planning to move all of its high-profile PC games over to Origin, but it was later discovered that GamersGate and Direct2Drive still carried Crysis 2 in their libraries. Speculation thus followed, questioning whether there was some kind of turmoil going on between EA and Valve. Eventually that was indeed proven to be the case: Valve booted Crysis 2 right off of Steam in one swift kick.
"It's unfortunate that Steam has removed Crysis 2 from their service," an EA representative clarified. "This was not an EA decision or the result of any action by EA. 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. Crysis 2 continues to be available on several other download services including GameStop, Amazon, Origin.com and more."
EA's head of global e-commerce David DeMartini gave a more thorough explanation on Wednesday, saying that EA authorizes all of its games to be served up on digital distribution platforms, but only on certain conditions. "We take direct responsibility for providing patches, updates, additional content and other services to our players," he said. "You are connecting to our servers, and we want to establish an ongoing relationship with you, to continue to give you the best possible gaming experience. This works well for our partnership with Gamestop, Amazon and other online retailers."
"Unfortunately, if we’re not allowed to manage this experience directly and establish a relationship with you, it disrupts our ability to provide the support you expect and deserve," he added. "At present, there is only one download service that will not allow this relationship (aka Steam). This is not our choice, and unfortunately it is their customer base that is most impacted by this decision. We are working diligently to find a mutually agreeable solution."
DeMartini said that, going forward, EA will continue offering its games to all major download sites. So far, Valve has yet to respond to DeMartini's explanation.