After months of reports and rumors, EA has finally confirmed that Battlefield 3 won't be coming to Valve's online distribution service, Steam. The publisher claims the reason behind the decision is Valve's 'restrictive' practices regarding downloadable content, which has seen EA butting heads with Valve quite a bit lately.
EA gave the official word on its forums, with a none-too-subtle swipe at Steam's new policy.
EA offers games, including Battlefield 3, to all major digital download sites. In doing so, our goal is to not only reach the widest possible global audience with our games, but also to provide ongoing customer support, patches and great new content. We are intent on providing Battlefield 3 players with the best possible experience no matter where they purchase or play the game, and are happy to partner with any download service that does not restrict our ability to connect directly with consumers.
It follows with a statement on Steam's "restrictive terms of service," and hammers the point home with a separate statement regarding its policy on third-party download sites:
Any retailer can sell our games, but we take direct responsibility for providing patches, updates, additional content and other services for the individuals and communities that play our games. These players are connecting to our servers, so we want to provide them with the very best service. This works well for our partnership with GameStop, Amazon and other online retailers.
- However, when a download service forbids publishers from contacting players with patches, new levels, items and other services – it disrupts our ability to provide the ongoing support players expect from us. At present, this is the case with only one download service. While EA offers its entire portfolio to this site, they have elected to not post many of our games. We hope to find a mutually agreeable solution to this issue soon.
The contention isn't new, or even unexpected. Steam wasn't included among a list of digital retailers in July, and one unnamed games retailer claimed it wouldn't be offered due to the necessity of the Steam client.
This goes hand-in-hand with recent events, as both Dragon Age 2 and Crysis 2 were pulled from Steam with the same cited reason. The Steam policy forbids publishers from selling DLC through its own methods without offering it to download directly from Steam. EA has opted to let its games be pulled, while offering its own marketplace for content.
Battlefield 3 launches October 25 on PC, PlayStation 3, and Xbox 360.