A spokesperson for Electronic Arts has clarified that any studios that have enrolled in the EA Partners scheme have not signed away their right to publish their titles on Valve’s Steam. This clarification has come after people realized that the puzzle game Warp was available on both Origin and Valve’s rival platform.
VG247 recently spoke with Electronic Arts, with EA stating:
“Making Warp available on Steam was a choice made by the developer, Trapdoor. Our partners in EA Partners own their own IP and have the authority to determine where the game will be distributed.”
Although partners that have signed under the EA Partners banner can determine where their titles are distributed, this does not indicate a coming change in EA’s own titles possibly making a return to the Steam service, adding that it “does not reflect a change in EA’s position on Steam’s terms of service.”
Analysis: By this stage, I’m genuinely surprised that EA would do the right thing here and allow developers to maintain control over their IPs and distribute them on as any many services as they would like. As far as I can recall, this may be one of the first unselfish acts the company has done in a fair while.
In fact, I find myself really approving this move by EA, as it motivates smaller companies to sign under their banner whilst not locking the studios out from other entire market places. With the possibility of more distribution services like Origin rising up, it’s nice to see that at least some studios titles will be available universally and aren’t locked into a service you may otherwise refuse to use.
However, I’m not surprised that EA has refused to leave their titles available on Steam since, as of right now, that’s the biggest draw the company has for the Origin service. I don’t believe for a minute that EA removed their titles from Steam because of “restrictive” terms of service like they claimed last year, and it seems much more likely that at least to begin with, they needed every possible draw for consumers to invest into Origin.
Personally, I don’t have much hope that games taken down from Steam (e.g. Crysis 2, Dragon Age II) will ever reappear there even if the terms of service were somehow agreed upon, let alone new releases from here on out.