Gabe Newell on Valve-EA ordeal

_PixelNinja

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This seems to be the first public statement from Valve regarding the ongoing ordeal between Valve and Electronic Arts. There isn't much said, but it is all we have for the moment.

Recently, a number of EA-published games have suddenly dissapeared from Valve's leading online game portal. Speaking to Develop, Newell said the reason why is down to "a whole complicated set of issues".



Full Interview here.
 

PrincessFrosty

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it seems obvious to me what is happening.

EA are leveraging the immensly popular BF3 in order to launch their own digital distribution platform, the way that Valve leveraged their own bohemoth counter strike back in the day, they forced all the players off the WON network by shutting it down and making people require steam to play.

It's the only way you can kick start a global games catalogue, people are going to resist new online services because why would you want to spread your games across more than 1 platform, i'll be buggered if im having steam and origin both open on my PC and then in 6 months some 3rd piece of software and eventually 10 different competing platforms because everyone is doing it, bugger that.

I hope BF3 does appear on steam because it's my preferred choice I have 200 games there now, but I don't see it happening, from EA's point of view they'll probably never have a more popular game to launch their new platform with.
 

fps4ever

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Glad to hear Valve is taking the high road on this one...EA certainly hasn't.
 

Hornet

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Yep, EA is pretty much making use of BF3's popularity to promote its Origin, and I can't help but to feel that this is done at the expense of BF3's fan. There is absolutely no reason to make Origin mandatory for the retail version of BF3, yet EA went ahead and made it so.
 

drako

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Good luck with that Valve. I think at best they've get delayed appearances. Something like BF3 and ME3 showing up 6-12 months later on Steam after Origin.
 

TheToE!

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Not really concerned anymore. I did not want to play Bad Company 3 anyways.
 

krameriffic

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it seems obvious to me what is happening.

EA are leveraging the immensly popular BF3 in order to launch their own digital distribution platform, the way that Valve leveraged their own bohemoth counter strike back in the day, they forced all the players off the WON network by shutting it down and making people require steam to play.

It's the only way you can kick start a global games catalogue, people are going to resist new online services because why would you want to spread your games across more than 1 platform, i'll be buggered if im having steam and origin both open on my PC and then in 6 months some 3rd piece of software and eventually 10 different competing platforms because everyone is doing it, bugger that.

I hope BF3 does appear on steam because it's my preferred choice I have 200 games there now, but I don't see it happening, from EA's point of view they'll probably never have a more popular game to launch their new platform with.

But see, the question you have to ask yourself is "is it going to work?" For me, the answer is an utterly resounding no. I have no interest whatsoever in BF3, another samey war shooter clone that I've played a hundred thousand times before. Steam is a little like Facebook. It's become too ingrained to be uprooted by anything, even the most underhanded tactics by its opponents.

BF3 simply isn't THAT big. SC2 is THAT big. LoL is THAT big. DotA 2 will be THAT big.
 

Katalysis

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Yep, Valve is pretty much making use of Half Life 2's popularity to promote its Steam, and I can't help but to feel that this is done at the expense of Half-Life 2's fan. There is absolutely no reason to make Steam mandatory for the retail version of Half-Life 2, yet Valve went ahead and made it so.

Fixed that for you just to say "how soon we forget."

I've used both Origin and Steam, and they both have their pros and cons. I own BC2 through Origin, and Origin doesn't have to launch when I want to play it, online or offline. The only time I even turn Origin on is when I bought something.

Frankly, I think Steam has more wonky bullshit in it than Origin does (Steam has more depth to it, but there are lots of problems with it) and Steam was a massive pile of fail when it launched. All these BF3/Origin threads are literally mirror images of the HF2/Steam arguments.

I haven't pre-ordered BF3, but the fact that I have to install Origin once is no big deal to me.
 

Sycraft

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I haven't pre-ordered BF3, but the fact that I have to install Origin once is no big deal to me.

Ya I'm ok with having to have a client installed, since that is what Steamworks needs. It is a form of DRM I'll tolerate. I prefer the Impulse model where you just use it to install the game, it doesn't have to stay running, but I'm ok with the Steam model.

Valve really needs a big helping of STFU about this because in my opinion, they are the ones that are dicks about online distribution. As I noted, other services like Impulse don't require themselves to be installed and active like Steam does. Even for games protected with Reactor, Impulse's protection, they can function if bought from other services without needing Impulse. Steam is pretty unique in the "You always have to have me running things."

Also the other services are ok with Steam doing that. They sell Steamworks games. So you buy a game from Impulse or D2D that uses Steamworks, you have to install Steam. They know that and are ok with it.

However Valve won't do that. They say "No, you can't do that. Games on Steam have to be Steam only." So while Impulse and D2D are happy to sell BF3, despite it needing Origin, Valve bitches a fit.

Finally Valve won't allow any of their games to be sold on other services. All Valve games are Steam and retail ONLY and I imagine they'd drop retail if it were economically feasible. They don't just require Steam to play it, they won't even let it be sold on a competing service.

I don't see Valve as having any high road here. They have someone else who wants to do just a part of what they do (require their own service for their own games) and they are pitching a fit. Sorry Valve, but I don't think you should be allowed to be the One True Way(tm) when it comes to video game distribution. I want some competition. I like Steam, but I'd be worried if it were the only source for games.

Is EA using BF3 to push their service? You bet. But as pointed out, Valve has used every game they've ever released since HL2 to push Steam. I fail to see how they have some high ground here.
 

fps4ever

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Ya I'm ok with having to have a client installed, since that is what Steamworks needs. It is a form of DRM I'll tolerate. I prefer the Impulse model where you just use it to install the game, it doesn't have to stay running, but I'm ok with the Steam model.

Valve really needs a big helping of STFU about this because in my opinion, they are the ones that are dicks about online distribution. As I noted, other services like Impulse don't require themselves to be installed and active like Steam does. Even for games protected with Reactor, Impulse's protection, they can function if bought from other services without needing Impulse. Steam is pretty unique in the "You always have to have me running things."

Also the other services are ok with Steam doing that. They sell Steamworks games. So you buy a game from Impulse or D2D that uses Steamworks, you have to install Steam. They know that and are ok with it.

However Valve won't do that. They say "No, you can't do that. Games on Steam have to be Steam only." So while Impulse and D2D are happy to sell BF3, despite it needing Origin, Valve bitches a fit.

Finally Valve won't allow any of their games to be sold on other services. All Valve games are Steam and retail ONLY and I imagine they'd drop retail if it were economically feasible. They don't just require Steam to play it, they won't even let it be sold on a competing service.

I don't see Valve as having any high road here. They have someone else who wants to do just a part of what they do (require their own service for their own games) and they are pitching a fit. Sorry Valve, but I don't think you should be allowed to be the One True Way(tm) when it comes to video game distribution. I want some competition. I like Steam, but I'd be worried if it were the only source for games.

Is EA using BF3 to push their service? You bet. But as pointed out, Valve has used every game they've ever released since HL2 to push Steam. I fail to see how they have some high ground here.

LOL....wut? Your comments fail on so many different levels with Valve I can't even think of where to start! :p
 

TheOneKnownAsMe

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LOL....wut? Your comments fail on so many different levels with Valve I can't even think of where to start! :p

It's easy to just come out and say someone's comments "fail", but you could at least offer a statement explaining why you feel that way about their comments.

I personally agree with him.

Valve used Half-Life 2, their "Battlefield 3" if you will, to promote Steam.

EA is using Battlefield 3 to promote their own competing platform.

When you break things down to their most basic state, things become much clearer.

Both companies have leveraged their own heavyweight titles in promoting their own Digital platform.

And yet, people seem to completely ignore the fact. But that's perfectly understandable. Steam has simply become another fact of life.

Steam/Valve just happened to do it first, and it happened to so long ago (what, 7, 8 years ago?) that some people aren't even aware of what happened, and most people no longer care. Because of that, it's given a "Get out of jail free" card of sorts.

Whatever. I don't really care either way. It just bothers me when people say "Lol, your comments fail" and don't offer up any explanation.
 

Dion

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Yep, EA is pretty much making use of BF3's popularity to promote its Origin, and I can't help but to feel that this is done at the expense of BF3's fan. There is absolutely no reason to make Origin mandatory for the retail version of BF3, yet EA went ahead and made it so.

Valve does the same with every game after HL2. Don't be a hypocrite.
 

svgamer

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But see, the question you have to ask yourself is "is it going to work?" For me, the answer is an utterly resounding no. I have no interest whatsoever in BF3, another samey war shooter clone that I've played a hundred thousand times before.....

This mirrors my opinion.

I enjoyed Battlefield games purchased through Steam, but they are not unique in the market place. I won't go out of my way to get BF3. I have chosen Steam as my platform of choice and it works well enough to keep my attention and my business.
 
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Ya I'm ok with having to have a client installed, since that is what Steamworks needs. It is a form of DRM I'll tolerate. I prefer the Impulse model where you just use it to install the game, it doesn't have to stay running, but I'm ok with the Steam model.

Valve really needs a big helping of STFU about this because in my opinion, they are the ones that are dicks about online distribution. As I noted, other services like Impulse don't require themselves to be installed and active like Steam does. Even for games protected with Reactor, Impulse's protection, they can function if bought from other services without needing Impulse. Steam is pretty unique in the "You always have to have me running things."

Also the other services are ok with Steam doing that. They sell Steamworks games. So you buy a game from Impulse or D2D that uses Steamworks, you have to install Steam. They know that and are ok with it.

However Valve won't do that. They say "No, you can't do that. Games on Steam have to be Steam only." So while Impulse and D2D are happy to sell BF3, despite it needing Origin, Valve bitches a fit.

Finally Valve won't allow any of their games to be sold on other services. All Valve games are Steam and retail ONLY and I imagine they'd drop retail if it were economically feasible. They don't just require Steam to play it, they won't even let it be sold on a competing service.

I don't see Valve as having any high road here. They have someone else who wants to do just a part of what they do (require their own service for their own games) and they are pitching a fit. Sorry Valve, but I don't think you should be allowed to be the One True Way(tm) when it comes to video game distribution. I want some competition. I like Steam, but I'd be worried if it were the only source for games.

Is EA using BF3 to push their service? You bet. But as pointed out, Valve has used every game they've ever released since HL2 to push Steam. I fail to see how they have some high ground here.

+1 to that

all origin needs to do to get my BF3 and ME3 money is to make that the Caribbean is not recognized like its in Europe so i don't have to pay euros to buy games.
 

LeninGHOLA

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I don't see anywhere that Valve threw a fit at all. Gabe seems to be honest and reasonable in his response. Valve wants full control over their Steam platform, which means they would get a % in DLC sales. It's a reasonable expectation, what with it also being an efficient advertising platform. EA not wanting to share with Valve is reasonable, too. However, if it loses them sales overall, which it probably will, is it a good business decision?
 

WorldExclusive

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I still think BF3 will be on Steam. This is just one of the few small cracks in Valve's Dam before they compromise with EA. Mid-Late September is the date.
 

limitedaccess

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it seems obvious to me what is happening.

EA are leveraging the immensly popular BF3 in order to launch their own digital distribution platform, the way that Valve leveraged their own bohemoth counter strike back in the day, they forced all the players off the WON network by shutting it down and making people require steam to play.

It's the only way you can kick start a global games catalogue, people are going to resist new online services because why would you want to spread your games across more than 1 platform, i'll be buggered if im having steam and origin both open on my PC and then in 6 months some 3rd piece of software and eventually 10 different competing platforms because everyone is doing it, bugger that.

I hope BF3 does appear on steam because it's my preferred choice I have 200 games there now, but I don't see it happening, from EA's point of view they'll probably never have a more popular game to launch their new platform with.

While people focus on the negatives of having to run multiple clients/services, there positives to the consumer as well. For one by integrating Origin in BF3, BF3 basically becomes vendor neutral. By this I mean you get the same BF3 experience regardless of where you purchase it from, this allows you to freely purchase it from the place with the best deal for you without having to worry about missing out on things like social features with your friends, post release support, and other issues. Personally I'd rather the developer/publisher take on these responsibilities then have to be indirectly forced to buy from Steam for these features.

People assume that Steam/Valve will always act in the best interest of the consumer, but is this really the case? If you look at other services for instance and their offers for preordering new games in comparison to Steam, it is clear that Steam is not the most competitive in this area. Skyrim right now seems to be digitally exclusive on Steam, and there is no preorder discount or bonus at all.
 

martinje

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I used to love steam until they did a fiber upgrade at my house. I went 3 days without internet, and I was no worries I log in in offline mode to play my games. Steam gave me a Big FU*K YOU and it will close up. It did not let me play my games in off-line mode. I kid you not my wife was laughing at me when she saw me playing plants VS zombies for 3 days. Since then I have made more room and allowed Origin into my life. So I will see if Origin will let me play my games in offline mode on the next internet outage.
 

limitedaccess

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Well we don't know how BF3 DRM works yet, but you can with current Origin games for sure. If you have games activated on Origin and installed, they will run without the client or any background services even. The individual games may or may not have their own DRM though.

This is one area I think people should pressure Steam in changing compared to its competitors. Even a direct way to run the client in "offline" mode would be a good first step in this direction.
 

TheGreySpectre

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I think this is a logical buisness decision by EA to promote their platform; Valve did the same thing. That being said I still don't like for 2 reasons:
1. I don't want to have to deal with multiple distribution platforms.
2. I had a terrible experiance with the EA download manager to the point of not being able to install a game I purchased so I am extremely distrustful of EAs distribution platform.
 

WorldExclusive

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Even a direct way to run the client in "offline" mode would be a good first step in this direction.

Agreed. Required to login just sign back out into offline mode.
What if you're in a situation as the poster with an internet outage or traveling? No way to login to go offline.
There should be a direct offline mode, but focring people to login first boosts their daily member activity. Smart. ;)
 

piscian18

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Whats weird is that I think EA honestly believes they can make just as much money if not more on origin as apposed to steam which insane.

I'm not boycotting BF3 I own several games on EA/origin, but I worry. EA seems really intent on making Battlefield the next COD. I'm not in a hurry to get BF3 Im gonna see where it goes.
 

fochkoph

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EA seems really intent on making Battlefield the next COD.

Whoa, that sentence made me shudder. Sure if BF somehow 'topples' COD and EA decides to replace one evil with another by releasing annual, watered down and uninspiring BF titles then I'm pretty scared for the franchise. I definitely don't like what can potentially happen here.
 

Sycraft

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LOL....wut? Your comments fail on so many different levels with Valve I can't even think of where to start! :p

So in other words you are saying "I'm a Steam fanboy and cannot come up with an argument, so I'll just dismiss what you said as 'fail' rather than try to have a discussion."
 

cageymaru

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Ya I'm ok with having to have a client installed, since that is what Steamworks needs. It is a form of DRM I'll tolerate. I prefer the Impulse model where you just use it to install the game, it doesn't have to stay running, but I'm ok with the Steam model.

Valve really needs a big helping of STFU about this because in my opinion, they are the ones that are dicks about online distribution. As I noted, other services like Impulse don't require themselves to be installed and active like Steam does. Even for games protected with Reactor, Impulse's protection, they can function if bought from other services without needing Impulse. Steam is pretty unique in the "You always have to have me running things."

Also the other services are ok with Steam doing that. They sell Steamworks games. So you buy a game from Impulse or D2D that uses Steamworks, you have to install Steam. They know that and are ok with it.

However Valve won't do that. They say "No, you can't do that. Games on Steam have to be Steam only." So while Impulse and D2D are happy to sell BF3, despite it needing Origin, Valve bitches a fit.

Finally Valve won't allow any of their games to be sold on other services. All Valve games are Steam and retail ONLY and I imagine they'd drop retail if it were economically feasible. They don't just require Steam to play it, they won't even let it be sold on a competing service.

I don't see Valve as having any high road here. They have someone else who wants to do just a part of what they do (require their own service for their own games) and they are pitching a fit. Sorry Valve, but I don't think you should be allowed to be the One True Way(tm) when it comes to video game distribution. I want some competition. I like Steam, but I'd be worried if it were the only source for games.

Is EA using BF3 to push their service? You bet. But as pointed out, Valve has used every game they've ever released since HL2 to push Steam. I fail to see how they have some high ground here.

I'm going to take a guess into the wild blue and say that more than likely since Valve is allowing F2P games on it's service, the agreement changed at that point to allow Valve to generate money based on microtransactions in those games. Thus collecting a cut of DLC sales became much more important to them as they wouldn't get anything from the F2P games otherwise.

That is probably why it is imperative that Valve has a rock solid agreement that generates income from all DLC microtransactions into the future. Especially if they are trying to forward think and stay ahead of the other online retailers. I would surmise that Gabe thinks that most MMO's have a shelf life before they are retired or go F2P. Generating sales from DLC is imperative if they are going to allow those type services on their network. People buying character skins can total to much more than the cost of the original game.

If my guess is completely off base shoot as many holes in it as you wish. But looking at the games market it seems that DLC sales will become a cash cow very soon if they already aren't.
 

Sycraft

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If my guess is completely off base shoot as many holes in it as you wish. But looking at the games market it seems that DLC sales will become a cash cow very soon if they already aren't.

That may be part of it, but then I don't see that being a reason for all this. For one, if a game does DLC exclusively through other means while you don't get a cut of the sales, you also don't have to incur any costs for hosting since people get it elsewhere. It is a neutral situation.

Then there's the fact that Steam sells plenty of games where the DLC is all off-Steam. Mass Effect 2 is an example, and an EA one at that. You get ME2 on Steam, but they don't sell any of the DLC that I can see. To get that you have to go and get Bioware points through EA, and download it from Bioware's site. So clearly some games with DLC elsewhere are ok with them. ME2 hasn't been pulled, and it has always been this way.

Also there's things like MMOs. Valve doesn't get a cut of the monthly fees for those, and when you get them you can go and run them without Steam if you like since the company that sells you the MMO will allow you to DL the client from them once you have an account. They don't get a sale from any of the in game items/services for those games either, yet Rift and others are available on there.

I could totally understand a "If you want us to host your shit for free we have to get a cut of any sales," thing, but Valve appears perfectly happy to sell things on Steam when they don't get a further cut. It just seems to be they are mad about a competing service. They are ok with the ME2 DLC because that is just a website you go to and all you can do there is get Bioware DLC (and chat on their forums and so on). However they are mad about Origin because that competes with them directly, it is a place to buy games instead, and EA is a massive player (they publish a lot of shit).

I mean look at BF3: For whatever cash cow the DLC ends up being, the game itself is $60. It is a full price AAA title. You get your regular sales cut from that (usually in the range of 30% for digital distributors). That's why Impulse, D2D, and others are perfectly happy to sell it, like they are perfectly happy to sell Steamworks games. Sure they don't get money on the DLC, but they get to have a sale that they wouldn't if they didn't have the game at all.
 

Dion

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Agreed. Required to login just sign back out into offline mode.
What if you're in a situation as the poster with an internet outage or traveling? No way to login to go offline.
There should be a direct offline mode, but focring people to login first boosts their daily member activity. Smart. ;)

Ya I agree. People always use the argument. Oh but it has Offline mode. They fail to realize you still need a internet account to get into Offline mode. So its pointless. If you dont get into offline before your internet dies you are screwed.
 

limitedaccess

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That may be part of it, but then I don't see that being a reason for all this. For one, if a game does DLC exclusively through other means while you don't get a cut of the sales, you also don't have to incur any costs for hosting since people get it elsewhere. It is a neutral situation.
Apparently the new agreement is that DLC must also be available on Steam, and so Valve can get a cut of every sale. On the surface this seems like an innocent demand, but it is actually quite ingenious, since a significant amount of people will have the game on Steam and won't bother to look elsewhere for purchases. With possibility of a DD getting anywhere up to 30%-40% (speculatively) of a sale, this represents a huge cash cow for Valve and huge loss for the publisher/developer.

Then there's the fact that Steam sells plenty of games where the DLC is all off-Steam. Mass Effect 2 is an example, and an EA one at that. You get ME2 on Steam, but they don't sell any of the DLC that I can see. To get that you have to go and get Bioware points through EA, and download it from Bioware's site. So clearly some games with DLC elsewhere are ok with them. ME2 hasn't been pulled, and it has always been this way.
The reason supposedly for this is because old games were grandfathered in and do not have this restriction. Which is why only newer like Crysis 2 and DA2 were pulled.

I could totally understand a "If you want us to host your shit for free we have to get a cut of any sales," thing, but Valve appears perfectly happy to sell things on Steam when they don't get a further cut. It just seems to be they are mad about a competing service. They are ok with the ME2 DLC because that is just a website you go to and all you can do there is get Bioware DLC (and chat on their forums and so on). However they are mad about Origin because that competes with them directly, it is a place to buy games instead, and EA is a massive player (they publish a lot of shit).
The problem with this is that the publisher/developer doesn't necessarily require Steam to host the DLC for them. They can reasonably host it themselves likely at less then 30% the cost per sale. It also is somewhat hypocritical if that is Valve's reasoning if you use the example of BC2, since it is just an unlock code, but they won't sell DLC stand alone.

Ultimately though like Newell said it is likely there is a lot of reasons for this split, beyond the DLC issue originally reported or the competing client issue speculated.
 

fps4ever

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So in other words you are saying "I'm a Steam fanboy and cannot come up with an argument, so I'll just dismiss what you said as 'fail' rather than try to have a discussion."

LOL...fanboy ha! I don't care where I get my games from like a real grown up shouldn't. The original comment was a reply to that stupid rant suggesting the it was Valve's fault EA pulled their games. Anybody have proof of that? It's a business decision, they are both in it to make money. EA pulled those games to start their own digital store, which I don't have an issue with, but pointing fingers at Steam and complaining is just retarded.
 

limitedaccess

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If you've objectively looked at the information pointed out so far it has always been that Valve's new policy forces certain EA games off their store, and not that EA pulled them.

The EA pulling them theory has always been people wanting to give the benefit of the doubt to Valve due to preconceptions (whether right or wrong) leading to bias.
 

Sycraft

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LOL...fanboy ha! I don't care where I get my games from like a real grown up shouldn't. The original comment was a reply to that stupid rant suggesting the it was Valve's fault EA pulled their games. Anybody have proof of that? It's a business decision, they are both in it to make money. EA pulled those games to start their own digital store, which I don't have an issue with, but pointing fingers at Steam and complaining is just retarded.

EA did not pull those games, Valve did. Go to Impulse or Direct2Drive or Gamer's Gate and notice you can get BF3 there. EA has not pulled their new titles from other digital distributors. The other DDs appear to be fine with the idea of EA doing DLC sales and with Origin. Hell they are fine with selling Steamworks games too. It is only Valve that has decided that is not ok, and thus pulled EA's new games.

That is where my argument comes from, and also the fact that Valve sells its games only on Steam and retail. You cannot buy them on Impulse or D2D or GG. Those are the facts of the matter and where I get my conclusion from.
 

PrincessFrosty

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But see, the question you have to ask yourself is "is it going to work?" For me, the answer is an utterly resounding no. I have no interest whatsoever in BF3, another samey war shooter clone that I've played a hundred thousand times before. Steam is a little like Facebook. It's become too ingrained to be uprooted by anything, even the most underhanded tactics by its opponents.

BF3 simply isn't THAT big. SC2 is THAT big. LoL is THAT big. DotA 2 will be THAT big.

I'd say that out of all the more hardcore PC gamers you're probably in a minority here where you're not going to get BF3. There is massive interest from many PC gamers about reviving the genre on the PC since it's been so lack lustre for the last 5-6 years.

I think you underestimate the potential popularity of BF3.
 

Shalafi

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I'd say that out of all the more hardcore PC gamers you're probably in a minority here where you're not going to get BF3. There is massive interest from many PC gamers about reviving the genre on the PC since it's been so lack lustre for the last 5-6 years.

I think you underestimate the potential popularity of BF3.

I'm not buying Battlefield 3.
 
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