In an ironic development following months of public squabbling over digital distribution practices, Electronic Arts is now offering Valve games through its Origin service.

EA is running a buy-two-get-one-free special this weekend, and three Valve titles are included: Counter-Strike: Source, Left For Dead: Game of the Year Edition, and Left 4 Dead 2. The Valve games (each priced at $19.99) are boxed retail copies, and the free games available are downloadable copies of select EA titles.

The promotion is raising eyebrows after EA announced last month that its flagship shooter Battlefield 3 would not be available on Valve’s Steam platform, citing “a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to deliver patches and other downloadable content.” EA issued similar statements after removing Crysis 2 from Steam following Origin’s launch.

Without offering any concrete solutions, both sides have expressed a desire to resolve this dispute. Valve president Gabe Newell recently told Develop, “We want EA’s games on Steam and we have to show them that’s a smart thing to do.” EA’s Jens Uwe Intat told Eurogamer last week that the company isn’t planning on making its games Origin-exclusive. “Competition and choice go hand in hand,” he said. “So the fact we will only distribute our own games on our own platform, I don't see that.”

Neither company has issued a statement regarding the promotion. EA does hold the distribution rights to retail copies of some Valve titles, so this may be less of a sign that the two companies are newly cooperating and more of a message from EA saying they’d like to cooperate.

Source: Origin via Joystiq

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  • LauRoman - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    Considering the fact that EA is (was?!?) the brick & mortar publisher for Valve games it kinda makes sense. You probably still need a Steam account to play those games so it's really nothing more fancy than EA mirroring some ISO or something to similar effect.
  • kristmace - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    Looks like this is North America only. Nothing new on Origin here in Europe.
  • lianw - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    As LauRoman pointed out, EA has always been (after Sierra) Valve's publisher for retail/boxed copies. Origin is merely a rebranding of the EA Store. The latter has always sold Valve games, so why are you surprised Origin does? The Origin client is just a souped up, renamed EA Downloader.

    AnandTech used to be one of the last bastions of proper tech-related news, but the quality of articles has taken a dive lately, even more so if you are resorting to sourcing from incredibly shit, nonsensical and/or sensationalistic articles.

    TL;DR: EA has always sold Valve games. This is nothing new. Shame on AA for posting shit like this.
  • Ronakbhai - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    Oh! How nice of EA to sell Valve titles! *yawn*

    It's a retail boxed copy they sell, it will still require Steam to install, and you will have to spend $6.99 + 3-4 days of time before you can play it. In 3-4 days time, Valve themselves will probably have a 50% off sale themselves.

    And I have to agree with you lianw. They might as well as put up an article saying that the store sells Microsoft Office.
  • Hrel - Saturday, September 3, 2011 - link

    I wise women once said "Steam is the devil!!!"

    fucking steam, I hate you SOOO much. forever!
  • Zaiketsu - Sunday, September 4, 2011 - link

    Gee, someone sure is an uncultured loser around here
  • shivoa - Sunday, September 4, 2011 - link

    The article seems like a bit of a non-story. Publisher continues to publish games for which they are the official publisher, including selling boxed copies from renamed online store (to which it doesn't have the digital publisher rights).

    But about EA and "Competition and choice go hand in hand." EA's position is that there should be choice where you purchase the initial game (as has been the traditional case) and spend that first $60 but that beyond that point the chosen retailer should not be part of the picture. You choice of retailer should be a dumb pipe / shipping option and not a relationship. As top tier games now regularly include DLC pushing the total price of (optionally) completing a purchase to double the initial spend, EA demand that the cream on the top (which used to be expansion packs) be all for them. Their position is you should have no competition or choice (however little those words mean) when purchasing your DLC and that it should be a direct relationship with them. It is the contradictory nature of their public statements to their actual position that is starting to grate for me in this saga.

    Competition or choice? With the removal of mod tools for some modern games, there is only a single source of additional products on top of the initial game purchase. As digital goods they have a near zero replication price and so with a single producer there can be no true competition or choice. Of course, the only thing that changes for the initial game sale (traditionally via a box) is the non zero cost of replication and significantly increased cost of distribution, they also are a single source (per title, competition obviously exists for the attraction to each title) but with DLC the purchase pool is people who have already expressed an attraction to the title with the initial purchase.

    So why does EA want a single store for DLC when they still have control of the price as the sole producer of DLC for their games and so can use that monopoly to set prices however they like? Because a direct relationship can be data mined (remember, EA are clear that all data they gather about you can be resold to anyone they think it is profitable to sell the information to) and avoids paying a cut to the retailer while also reducing the strength of that retailer-customer relationship.

    Does it really matter if there is a buy DLC button in Steam for all games with DLC? Not really, but it would be convenient. The sales push from Valve seems to be starting to touch DLC, with either publisher interest or Valve offering to cut their retailer take and push their advertising of the deal when offering sales opportunities including DLC items. That can only be a healthy thing for games, which currently has a weird market for DLC with rare sales and no permanent depreciation (which an economist will call into question as a way of maximising revenue - the price curve and long tail are a fundamental part of maximising profit by trying to get everyone to pay as much as they're prepared to pay for an item). But EA's primary push in this fight is to do the exact opposite of their public position, they are interested in unifying all DLC purchases for their games into a single store that they hold the keys to to cut out the retailer and remove consumer choice from DLC purchases. One store, one price, one direct producer/consumer relationship and distribution method.

    The last major battle EA fought with a retailer / platform controller led to Microsoft handing over what EA wanted to ensure they developed games for Live. I'm sure there will be juicy quotes from the time about what EA called that spat. In reality EA have leveraged the control of their matchmaking servers (all other publishers can create dedicated and rich servers for their online experiences but the basic Live P2P matchmaking/auth is done by MS) to switch off peer to peer multiplayer games by removing the central server that negotiates the initial contact of the peers. That previous abuse of their dominant market position to enforce a situation that is anti-consumer via a unique exception from a platform holder may colour how people look on the current EA-Valve fight.
  • Azsen - Sunday, September 4, 2011 - link

    I for one am glad BF3 won't be on Steam. I've had a few non-Valve games (HAWX 2 & Blazing Angels 2) that I purchased through Steam and they were a nightmare for patching. Basically the developer would release the patch and then it would take months or years to reach Steam. In the Blazing Angels 2 case, there had been a patch out for over a year and the update wasn't even offered on Steam. Meanwhile you can't play with other online users because they're all running the updated version and you're stuck on the old one. Basically you could only play with other users who had also purchased the game through Steam. Ridiculous. Sometimes you wouldn't even get patches at all and basically the two companies point fingers at each other and say "the problem is with them, it's not our fault". Rubbish.

    Would I buy a non-Valve game through Steam again? Hell no! Unless the game was end of life and there weren't any more patches for it. Maybe the Commander Keen classic series or something.

    So BF3 being only available on Origin is definitely a huge plus. You don't want half your Battlefield community on Steam and unable to play with the other half because the patches are untimely or Steam are holding things up at their end.
  • rpsgc - Sunday, September 4, 2011 - link

    "In an ironic development following months of public squabbling over digital distribution practices, Electronic Arts is now offering Valve games through its Origin service."

    Craig, is it? Let me ask you something: Are you new to the game or just plain trolling?

    Because EA has been the publisher of RETAIL Valve games for like... "forever". And this are RETAIL games we're talking about, so... really, you get paid for writing crap like this?
  • JarredWalton - Sunday, September 4, 2011 - link

    Irony: "An outcome of events contrary to what was, or might have been, expected."

    EA is whining about Steam and pulling their games from the service (but will more likely than not get things worked out with Valve). In the meantime, they have now started offering Valve games on their service. Maybe you expected it, but I didn't.

    And personally, as someone who uses both Origin (formerly EA Downloader, EA Link, etc.) and Steam, Steam is the far superior platform right now. Origin feels today about what Steam felt like five years ago.

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