Industry goes to war with Steam

Excitement for Battlefield 3 could see Steam dethroned from its leading place in digital distribution.MCV can reveal that the FPS will be available to download from pretty much every PC platform going – except Valve’s kingpin service.

US retailer GameStop has already confirmed Battlefield 3 will be sold on its digital platform. And other third party distributors have told MCV that EA is backing them in a big way as the publisher attempts to make a dent in Call of Duty’s armour this Christmas.

Previous Call of Duty PC games have had Steam heavily integrated into them. But the download strategy for Modern Warfare 3 is not known at this stage.

EA’s row with Steam stems from the publisher’s desire to sell Battlefield 3 DLC directly to consumers from its own service – Origin. Such a move is against Valve’s policies, sources close to the situation have told MCV.

This is very good for the marketplace,” said a CEO at one European digital distributor. Valve and EA have always been uneasy bedfellows and this will help level the playing field for other distributors. It is a golden opportunity.”

Ultimately, digital sales of Battlefield 3 will be dwarfed by those on the High Street. But this fight could have a lasting impact on the future of the PC download sector.

Electronic Arts hopes to establish itself as a major player in digital distribution with Origin.Origin is a re-branded version of the EA Store, but EA is on a recruitment drive to find technology and regional experts to turn the platform into a real competitor to Steam.

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