EA: our games won't be Origin exclusive

Gabe Newell comments on Steam ban.

EA has promised gamers it won't make digital versions of its games exclusive to Origin.

This is not part of what the mega publisher is trying to do with its recently launched digital platform, EA said.

"When we were talking about it's best for the consumer that competition is a good thing, for the consumer also choice is a good thing," EA's European boss Jens Uwe Intat told Eurogamer.

"Competition and choice go hand in hand. So the fact we will only distribute our own games on our own platform, I don't see that."

This despite aggressive promotions for Origin-exclusive content for upcoming games Battlefield 3, Star Wars: The Old Republic and Mass Effect 3.

Indeed, EA plans to make rival publishers' games available to buy on Origin. "We are discussing with other publishers to distribute their games," Uwe Intat said. "[Other publishers' games] May very well be [sold on Origin]. "But the key is really to develop and impressive consumer experience where people are happy to play and buy games."

Some may baulk at Uwe Intat's comments, given EA's games have been removed from rival digital service Steam.

EA has said in public that Steam's terms of service limit how developers interact with customers and deliver patches and other downloadable content.

"I'm not really sure what they're trying to get across," Valve boss Gabe Newell said when Eurogamer put this to him at Gamescom.

"We want EA's games on Steam. We think we have to earn that along with any other developer. There's not some presumptive right we have to be tools for other developers. Just like Take-Two, or Ubisoft, or anybody else, we have to work hard to convince EA that it's valuable. Obviously we haven't done that recently, and we'll work hard to convince them that there are good reasons to have their products on Steam."

Many believe EA's decision to pull its games from Steam was an attempt to drive users to Origin.

"Any developer has the option of building their own or using a third party," Newell continued. "That's true when you're looking at a sound system, an animation system, a distribution system. If you want people to use your stuff, well, you have to be a better option than developing it internally. If Origin is a better solution for EA than using Steam then that means we have to work harder to be valuable to them. If we don't, they won't use us. They won't see us as a better solution.

"We'll work harder. It just means we have more work to do, which is good. It gives you clarity on what you need to do."

For its part, EA has insisted its games may return to Steam in the future.

"Yes," Uwe Intat said. "You should never say never."

Eurogamer's investigation into Origin and Steam, published this morning, asks whether competition in the download space is good for gamers.

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