A new blog post from the head of Origin David DeMartini sheds some light on the reasons behind the mysterious disappearance of Crysis 2 from Steam last month. He reiterates that the decision wasn't made by EA and tells Gamasutra that "Crysis was taken down because the DLC was not available through Steam; it was available through [Direct2Drive]."
"Any retailer can sell our games, but we take direct responsibility for providing patches, updates, additional content and other services to our players. You are connecting to our servers, and we want to establish on ongoing relationship with you, to continue to give you the best possible gaming experience," wrote DeMartini on the Origin blog .
"If we're not allowed to manage this experience directly and establish a relationship with you, it disrupts our ability to provide the support you expect and deserve. At present, there is only one download service that will not allow this relationship. This is not our choice, and unfortunately it is their customer base that is most impacted by this decision. We are working diligently to find a mutually agreeable solution."
In the same post, DeMartini clarified EA's position on distributing to other download services and retail outlets. "We want our products available to as many players as possible, which means we make them available in all the places that gamers go to download games and services. To be very clear, except under extremely special circumstances we offer our games to every major download service including Amazon, Gamestop, and Steam."
Star Wars: The Old Republic is one of those "extremely special circumstances." EA have already announced that Bioware's upcoming MMO will only be available digitally through Origin, though it won't require the Origin client to run. President of EA games Frank Gibeau told GamesIndustry.biz that “in the case of Star Wars we're trying to build an audience for Origin. And it's also an opportunity for us to better manage the downloads and how we bring people over from the beta and that sort of thing.”
Gibeau also echoed DeMartini's comments on the likelihood of future Origin exclusives, saying "long-term you'll see we believe in reach so we will have other digital retailers for our products because we want to reach as many audiences as possible,” but also said “if we can use exclusive content or other ideas to help grow our audience then we're going to do that because we're growing a platform.”