EA has announced that EA Access is coming to Steam, making it the first gaming subscription service to be available on the platform.
Additionally, EA will begin selling its games on Steam again, after it moved its titles off the marketplace and hosted them exclusively on the Origin store in 2011.
The move is a result of a partnership between EA and Valve, and will begin with the launch of Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order on November 15th. In the following months, titles such as The Sims 4 and Unravel Two will also be available on the service. Multiplayer titles such as Apex Legends, FIFA 20 and Battlefield V will be available next year, and will include cross-play – allowing players on both Origin and Steam to play together.
When asked about the reasoning and timing behind the move, which reverses EA’s decision to leave Steam in 2011, a spokesperson replied: “We want to meet players where they are, and see the opportunity to broaden our communities partnering to bring games and a subscription to Steam. We are excited to be bringing EA’s subscription service to the Steam platform next spring – and to give players access to EA Games again.”
A key to the move appears to be the ability for players to crossplay between Origin and Steam, EA added:”Players across Origin and Steam will have the ability to play together, expanding our game communities for our players. Today we see the opportunity to meet players where they are, and to take an open approach to expanding communities across Origin and Steam.”
This point chimes with Microsoft’s recent return to Steam as well, which noted a single playing community was a key consideration when Gears 5 came to Steam earlier this year, as Aaron Greenberg discussed at length with MCV.
Just as important is Steam’s changing attitudes to publishers is likely the cause behind both moves, with the platform softening its revenue cut late last year for major publishers on its platform – a change likely motivated by the entrance of Epic into the digital retail market. Both EA and Microsoft are likely keen to find growth via Steam’s impressive penetration into developing markets, such as China.
Despite the partnership, EA is treating Steam and Origin as separate platforms when it comes to ownership, and any games purchased via Origin cannot be transferred over to Steam.