Valve's Co-Founder Gabe Newell spoke with both PC Gamer and Develop Magazine during gamescom in Cologne, Germany about EA's decision to pull its games from Steam and EA's digital marketplace, Origin.
As Newell told PC Gamer, he actually downloaded and registered for Origin in order to give it a try before gamescom. And, in Newell's usual polite form, the developer didn't slam the service for its faults. Instead, he described Origin in as a peaceful and friendly way he could:
"It does some things well, I think there's still some areas where as a customer I'd like to see it improve, it's not that different from any other system like this. There are positive things and negative things…"
Just like every other marketplace out there, Steam included, Newell indicated that Origin is great at some things while bad at others. Given the climate surrounding EA and Valve's small controversy, one could have expected Newell to tear Origin a new one… well, he didn't. And that probably serves to make fans love him more than they already do.
When it comes to EA's decision to pull games from Steam, and their decision to skip Steam for Battlefield 3, Newell wasn't very specific. The situation seems hairy, but Newell appears to be confident in earning EA's games on Steam again.
"I don't think Valve can pick just one thing and think the issue would go away if we fixed that…We have to show EA it's a smart decision to have EA games on Steam, and we're going to try to show them that…
…We have to prove we are creating value on an ongoing basis, whether it's to EA or Ubisoft or whoever.
…We want EA's games on Steam and we have to show them that's a smart thing to do…
I think at the end of the day we're going to prove to Electronic Arts they have happier customers, a higher quality service, and will make more money if they have their titles on Steam. It's our duty to demonstrate that to them. We don't have a natural right to publish their games."
Newell's right, despite the displeasure it may be causing PC gamers, EA can do whatever it wants with its own games. It makes sense to me that the company would want their products available through as many outlets as possible, but Electroinic Arts likely has their own reasoning for stepping away from Steam.
Whether or not one company here is the "bad guy" is something that's becoming pretty muddled. Gamers will likely side with Valve, given the immense love and respect the company has earned, but both sides are likely contributing to the issue.
As an aside, I'd rather buy Battlefield 3 from Steam than Origin. But that's because I don't want to have my games scattered across all sorts of libraries and marketplaces. How about you?