If you’ve been cold to Origin, EA’s store and library platform, you might not need to have cold feet anymore on their games. It turns out EA is officially moving back to Steam, Valve’s game distribution platform, and bringing EA Access with it.
EA released games on Steam since the early days of the store. However, when Origin was introduced in 2011, EA chose to slowly transition from Steam to their own turf. The library was small but strong, but more importantly, it became the primary online distributor for EA’s releases since. (EA games sold on Steam were still available during this time.) We can’t comment on what the return to Steam actually means for Origin, but it’s clear that Steam is maintaining its dominance on the digital games market.
The individual first game to mark EA’s comeback on Steam will be Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, a first-person adventure game. Its store page is up, and pre-order is available with exclusive content.
Possibly the most curious choice in this transition is the full availability of EA Access, the publisher’s games subscription service, on Steam. There was no PC option before; PC players could use Origin Access, which was nearly the same but with more third-party titles. In short, the Valve edition seems to be a way to let players access the core EA library. We aren’t sure exactly how that’ll work, but we’ll likely hear more in the coming days.
Before EA leaned into Origin, most of the publisher’s games did end up on Steam. The last full game published by EA on Steam was Warp, “a strategic stealth-action puzzler where gamers play as Zero, a loveable yet lethal, little orange alien with a big score to settle” They also continued to support DLC packs for a few already-available games, until The Sims 3’s Into The Future pack in June 2013.
The return to Steam could be good news for EA’s bottom line. Some Steam users will hoard wallet credit for seasonal sales; others earn credit through marketplace trading, spending it on games and content. EA’s essentially opened themselves up to a new means of profit. And maybe we’ll see some of their content on the market?
Beyond the new game and EA Access, according to PC Gamer, it looks like there’s some more in store. EA allegedly plans on bringing in titles such as Sims 4 and Unraveled 2 to the platform. In addition, some multiplayer titles such as Apex Legends and Anthem will be brought on board, with seamless gameplay between Steam and Origin. We’ve reached out for more details and will update if we hear!
It looks like EA has been excited for the change. Last week, EA teased the return with a tweet featuring an EA mug and… steam. Only a little bit subtle, but mind us if we thought we’d just get a really neat EA mug.
Ben Walke from EA development studio Dice was also amped about the return, sharing — in traditional Valve news fashion — a Lord of the Rings parody about it.
— Ben Walke (@BenWalke) October 29, 2019