Considering that a large portion of our hobby revolves around angry men waving guns (or, in rare cases, MIT-educated scientists waving crowbars), it's not surprising that gamers have a tendency to view everything as some kind of war. The console war, Battlefield 3 vs Modern Warfare 3, Plants vs Zombies - everybody appears to be kung-fu fighting, and gamers jump to conclusions fast as lightning.
On the digital distribution front, though, EA insists that all is not as it seems. Valve and EA aren't at each others' throats, performing incredible feats of corporate espionage and strategically placing cat hairs in each others' food. It's a brave new world, insist EA's Peter Moore and Jens Uwe Intat - and a big one, at that.
"I don't even know if Steam Vs. Origin is a proper battle. I would rephrase that a little," EA Europe leader Jens Uwe Intat told GamesIndustry.biz . "I would say that we're introducing Origin as our consumer relationship platform. We want to build a platform that allows consumers to have the best experience you could ever had with EA games. It's going to be one of the offerings that consumers can use. There's a space for Steam, there's a space for Origin, there's a space for third party etailers. Both pure etailers and traditional retailers that are entering the digital distribution space."
"Don't get me wrong, I'm not saying it's not a competitor to Steam, I'm just saying that there's more people out there than just Steam and Origin. While with Battlefield and Call of Duty, it's really just about those two, that's the difference."
EA COO Peter Moore, meanwhile, described the two companies' relationship as complimentary, noting that EA's main goal is to interact directly with its customers. Origin, then, exists to fill in the gaps where Steam and like services don't allow it to do that.
"We have a long history of distributing Valve products and I think for every title they will look for who will do the best job," Moore continued. "There's no strain on that relationship because we're competing in one space. We're basically competing and working with a lot of people. Every first party manufacturer is a partner of ours when we're distributing their product, and a competitor of ours with their own software. I think, as an industry, we're pretty good at competing and co-operating at the same time."
Meanwhile, Valve's Gabe Newell - when asked about Origin - kept his thumb so perfectly horizontal as to make people wonder if he's actually a robot. Those people were never heard from again.
At any rate, what's your take? After all, Valve and EA can say that their services skip hand-in-hand across the Internet, but if it's still a pain in consumers' asses, then they've got a problem on their hands. So, Origin vs Steam: Fatality or friendship?