Electronic Arts appears to have set its sights on Steam, confirming that more of its titles will be digitally released exclusively via Origin in the future - but denying that it had anything to do with the removal of Crysis 2 from Steam.
You may have noticed that Crysis 2 is no longer available on Steam, the digital distribution platform that dominates the PC gaming market. It is, however, still available from EA's Crysis 2 website, where it now sports a label proclaiming that the game is available "only on Origin." EA says that's just the first step.
EA plans to have more than 150 games ready to purchase when Origin goes live, the most high-profile of which at this point has to be Star Wars: The Old Republic. "In the case of Star Wars we're trying to build an audience for Origin. And it's also an opportunity for us to better manage the downloads and how we bring people over from the beta and that sort of thing. For a lot of reasons it made sense for an MMO, which is a highly complex deployment," EA Games President Frank Gibeau told GamesIndustry.
"I think long-term you'll see we believe in reach so we will have other digital retailers for our products because we want to reach as many audiences as possible," he continued. "But at the same time if we can use exclusive content or other ideas to help grow our audience then we're going to do that because we're growing a platform."
"We are going to continue to be great partners for our retail channel partners as they evolve their business models to account for digital," he said. "But at the same time you talk about platform exclusives like Halo or Uncharted, EA's going to have some of our own platform exclusives."
UPDATE: There's been no small amount of confusion about why Crysis 2 is missing from Steam. The initial assumption was that EA pulled the game to make the point that it was going after the big dog, a notion reinforced by the fact that it's still available on Direct2Drive and Impulse. But EA has now told IGN that it didn't make the decision to take down the game - Valve did.
"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," the company explained. "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."