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So long, Origin? EA comes back to Steam with new games

EA and Origin find themselves in the eye of the storm, so to speak.
enlarge / EA and Origin find themselves in the eye of the storm, so to speak.

Aurich Lawson / Getty Images

For the first time since 2012, Electronic Arts is once again publishing new games on Valve's Steam platform, the publisher announced today.

A preorder page for next month's Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order is already up on the Steam store, and EA promises that "other major titles," like The Sims 4 and Unraveled Two, will be available on Steam in "the coming months." Multiplayer titles like Apex Legends, FIFA 20, and Battlefield V, meanwhile, will be available on Steam "next year," with EA's existing Origin service.

A long time coming

EA's return to Steam marks for the PC's gaming plans, which have been focused on for years. The company's Steam releases slowed to a trickle in 2012. By 2013, the only new EA content on Valve's service was DLC for various The Sims games.

Back in 2011, when EA announced that Battlefield 3 Valve's "restrictive terms of service" that made it more difficult to distribute patches and DLC through the game client itself. While there was some merit to the argument, the fact that the EA didn't have to share Valve's 30% revenue cut for sales.

But Origin faced pushback from a contingent of steam-invested gamers. EA Executive Vice President Andrew Wilson acknowledged Origin's poor public reception in 2013, saying that those who had a less less than optimal experience with with the service, We We get it. "We're talking about the coming months that really are gamer-focused."

In the ensuing years, EA tried to set Origin apart by introducing the Origin Access subscription program, adding features like game refunds (years before Valve did similar on Steam), and offering regular it was discontinued in 2018). But by 2016, EA was once again on a public "journey to regain trust of the PC gamer" after a series of poorly received game launches on Origin.

EA also tried competing more directly with Steam opening slowly Origin's digital library (and the Origin Access subscription program) up to games from other publishers. And while major studios like Square Enix, Warner Bros., and Ubisoft have been listed on Steam, where they presumably sold to a large audience of PC players.

Not an Epic move

EA's return to Steam takes on added significance today, as Valve faces are the most serious large-scale competition from the Epic Games Store. Much like Origin, Epic is a great deal of steam fans. But Epic is also offering a wide array of exclusives that are both apart from both Origin and Steam.

Publishers like Ubisoft, 2K Games, and many more have taken advantage of Epic's friend terms and revenue. EA's decision to stick with Valve, rather than follow suit, is the most important game in PC games. The company obviously doesn't share Randy Pitchford's concern that Steam may be in a dying store for five to ten years.

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