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Retail

EA's Moore: "There's no feud" with Valve

EA's Moore: "There's no feud" with Valve

Thu 16 Aug 2012 10:36am GMT / 6:36am EDT / 3:36am PDT
RetailPublishing

COO addresses Origin's rivalry with Steam, says it's a terms and conditions issue

COO Peter Moore has denied the existence of any bad feeling between EA and Steam operator Valve.

"There's no feud," Moore told Eurogamer.

"Remember, we're the guys who published Left 4 Dead and Portal 2. It's Valve. Gabe's a great friend of EA's. We're a great friend of his, we like to think.

He also addressed the difficulties faced since EA launched its rival to Steam, Origin. EA games soon disappeared from the Valve platform, with EA citing restrictions on customer interaction.

"They have different terms and conditions that they put on their games that don't meet what we would like to do with our gamers. They insist on being a layer between the game developer and publisher and the consumer. They take a piece of the revenue stream. And they don't allow us to go directly to the consumer to do patches and updates. So we just agree to disagree. It's not a feud. They have their terms and conditions. We do. They don't meet."

In April Valve boss Gabe Newell said they spoke to EA regularly about featuring their games on Steam again.

"We'd love to have their games on Steam. We think their customers would be happy if their games were on Steam. We tell them that on a regular basis," he said.

But Moore was clear that the terms and conditions were non-negotiable.

"We're very clear on what we want to do to be able to put a game on a platform and interact with the gamer," he said. "The current terms and conditions of Steam don't allow that. If they change to meet the contract with the gamer we set out to do, then of course things might change. But until then, nothing's going to change."

And while EA isn't planning to publish any Valve games in the immediate future, the digital distribution rivalry won't stop that happening again.

"We've always enjoyed that publishing relationship. And it is my team that does it," said Moore.

"But there are no conversations going on right now. I don't know what their plans are right now. So, of course, we've had a great relationship from the publishing end, and I'd like to think they've enjoyed us publishing their content. I certainly think we've done a good job."

9 Comments

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,590 1,446 0.9
Meh. Not news.

It's already been confirmed that it's a Terms and Conditions issue. Specifically, it's almost entirely down to DLC and Patches ( http://uk.gamespot.com/news/origin-not-sticky-enough-ea-6382162 )
But as games have fallen out of compliance with Steam's rules, they've chosen to take product off. And there's been many quotes and misquotes with regards to who did to what to who and who took what off what. We've not taken a single title off of Steam. Certain titles have fallen out of compliance.
And by "interact with the gamer" he means the EA-owned BioWare store should be the only place to be able to purchase ME2 and 3/DA2 DLC. At least he's honest about the revenue-stream aspect.

Anyways... Peter Moore thinks EA should be subject to different T&Cs than all the other publishers and developers? Mmm... Good Luck with that. :)

Edited 2 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 16th August 2012 12:04pm

Posted:2 years ago

#1

David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers

359 78 0.2
Considering that EA has their own digital platform now in Origin, I'd say they have some leverage Morville. Some people won't like that and I'm sure they'll lose some sales because of it, but if it hadn't paid off for them already they'd probably already be back on Steam.

Posted:2 years ago

#2

Morville O'Driscoll Blogger & Critic

1,590 1,446 0.9
Oh indeed. Not saying that Origin isn't working out for them at all (it annoys the hell out of me, but it's improving). My point is more that if Valve acquiesce to EA, then they may as well roll-back the entire T&C to its previous version. Right now, they have all of the Fable 3 DLC on Steam, for example, because they're enforcing the same Terms and Conditions on everyone, from Microsoft to Activision. Once one company bargains an exception, then all companies will try for the same exception, which means a lot of DLC will disappear from Steam.

In any event, as shown with Crysis 2, their games will return to Steam, once they're in compliance with the T&C. Mass Effect 3 GoTY, for example. :)

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Morville O'Driscoll on 16th August 2012 5:24pm

Posted:2 years ago

#3

Hugo Trepanier Senior UI Designer, Hibernum

156 144 0.9
One question though, how is steam different from services such as XBLA, where Microsoft also clearly stands in between the developer/publisher and customer?

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Hugo Trepanier on 16th August 2012 6:38pm

Posted:2 years ago

#4

Barrie Tingle Live Producer, Maxis

387 196 0.5
@Morville

"Anyways... Peter Moore thinks EA should be subject to different T&Cs than all the other publishers and developers? Mmm... Good Luck with that. :) "

He doesn't say that now does he? You just assumed that, this is how rumours start.
He said Valve's ToS doesn't meet what EA needs/wants to do with customers. If Valve changed it's ToS then it would be for everyone not just EA.

Posted:2 years ago

#5

James Berg Games User Researcher, EA Canada

177 224 1.3
@Hugo - In regards to the problems cited here, it's not really much different. The XBLA restrictions on patches in particular are a big point of contention for a lot of developers, large and small. The difference is that if you want to be on Xbox, you must play by Microsoft's rules there, and there's no other channel to reach that market.

Posted:2 years ago

#6

David Radd Senior Editor, IndustryGamers

359 78 0.2
You hit the nail on the head there Morville - it is in Valve's interest to keep the Steam ToS the way it is and not to change it or make exceptions for certain publishers. At the same time, it's in EA's best interest to keep DLC on their network so they'll continue using Origin. These are business decisions all around, as Moore basically said.

Posted:2 years ago

#7

Nicholas Pantazis Senior Editor, VGChartz Ltd

1,020 1,467 1.4
@ Hugo It's not. In fact it's quite a bit less strict than XBLA or PSN, in that there aren't recert fees or costs for patching, and Valve takes a smaller cut and affords you much greater control over your game. The difference is that on PC EA has a choice.

I want to clarify exactly what's causing this problem, in case people don't understand through layers of PR FUD:

Steam has a policy that all DLC and patches you plan to release for your game must be available on Steam. This doesn't mean they must ONLY be available on Steam, just that they have to be there, so purchasers can ensure they get a consistent experience across the board through Steam's current policies and features. Steam does this partly to get a cut of sales, but also to make sure users have access to automatic patching and updating and full integration in the Steam environment regardless of what game is purchased on Steam. This is part of what has created such strong consumer confidence in Steam. It's reliable and convenient and they want to make sure that experience is consistent so people will keep buying their games on there.

EA doesn't want people to be able to buy DLC from anyone but them, which is absolutely their right, but it's EA who's restricting the way consumers interact with their product, not Valve. You are welcome to sell DLC through other services (there are a number of Games for Windwos Live games on Steam, for example) as long as you're also providing it on Steam. This is the part that EA refuses to bend on.

Quick summary: Valve = You can sell your content where you want, but if you want to be on Steam it has to be on Steam as well. EA = You buy from us or you don't buy at all.

Edited 1 times. Last edit by Nicholas Pantazis on 16th August 2012 7:23pm

Posted:2 years ago

#8

Dave Knudson Sr. Technology Manager, Electronic Arts

42 7 0.2
I haven't worked on a PC title for a for a few years, but can imagine that trying to support two distribution methods could create logistical issues as well.

For example, if a game uses a matchmaking server those servers might need to be taken down and updated in conjunction with a patch release. So the flow might be Team A at EA has the patch ready to be propped, and tells Team B to take the servers down for an update. Team A props the patch to production so that users can get it, and Team B then brings the updated matchmaking server back up. If Team A jumps the gun, people will patch and might not be able to access the matchmaking server because it hasn't been updated. If team B jumps the gun users might get to the matchmaking server, but can't play because they don't have the latest version of the game.

Now if you add an additional vendor to the mix as far as propping a patch it adds a degree of difficulty in coordinating timing wise. It's not impossible, but there is more surface area for errors and the external vendor may not have the flexibility that someone internally would have.

I can imagine there might be other difficult scenarios around content propping as well.

Posted:2 years ago

#9

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