There has been a lot of doubt whether EA would release Battlefield 3 on Steam. Today EA revealed a list of digital retailers around the world where gamers will be able to purchase Battlefield 3, and the big omission was Steam. This adds to the uncertainty of whether we’ll ever see Battlefield 3 on Steam, which is by far the biggest and most popular digital games distributor in the world.
It all started a few weeks ago when EA removed Crysis 2 from Steam and instead added it to its own service, EA Origin. From a business perspective, it makes sense for EA to offer Battlefield 3 on its own distribution, since Steam usually takes around 25% of the cut. However, many of Steam’s competing services, like Direct2Drive and Gamersgate, are listed, so this could be something just between EA and Steam.
According to GamaSutra, who interviewed EA Origin’s David DeMatrini, there is some conflict between EA and Steam, although DeMartini didn’t clarify on that. He said it was “interesting that some of the ways they’ve [Steam] built their business are specifically some of the areas of conflict between us on a going forward basis”.
Steam is bigger than Direct2Drive, GamersGate, GameStop’s Impulse combined — without a doubt a huge chunk of Battlefield 3 digital sales would come from Steam. If EA is saying no to the kind of sales Steam can provide, it’s pretty obvious that the conflict and disagreements between EA and Valve run deep.
While it’s not certain that we’ll never see Battlefield 3 on Steam, it doesn’t look good the way things are now. Hopefully this will get sorted out soon, as in the end, both EA, Steam, and gamers stand to lose something.