If you’re looking to continue Shepard’s battle against the Reapers on the PC platform, you best get used to the idea of launching and interacting with your experience from EA‘s Origin platform. Origin will be required to play Mass Effect 3. Even further, just like what became of Battlefield 3, Mass Effect 3 will not be available on Steam.
Confirmation of this news comes from BioWare’s Chris Priestly as he posted a series of release related questions concerning the company’s next major RPG. He confirmed that Origin will be required to play both digital and retail versions of Mass Effect 3. Then he went on to indicate why EA was excluding Steam from their release platforms:
During initial release Mass Effect 3 will be available on Origin and a number of other 3rd party digital retailers, but not on Steam at this time. Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to deliver patches and other downloadable content. We are intent on providing Mass Effect to players with the best possible experience no matter where they purchase or play their game, and are happy to partner with any download service that does not restrict our ability to connect directly with our consumers.
Valve and EA have been going back and forth about the way Steam handles patches and extra content for months now. From an outsiders perspective, no single clear-cut reason for the split between companies has been given.
However, I think it comes down to the way EA wants to shop DLC to their customers. EA sells game extras inside their games. Mass Effect 2 had the Cerebrus Network, a virtual DLC store, present from the main menu of the game. By doing so, they create a very specific and direct way to sell their own content by their own means. Steam, so far as I can tell, doesn’t allow for those types of setups. Steam sells DLC through the Steam window, not from within games.
But, again, I’m just guessing here.