Electronic Arts announced yesterday that it's going back to Steam (opens in new tab), beginning with Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order, which is already available for pre-purchase on the platform. It's been a good chunk of a decade since EA decided to go all-in on Origin, and some observers, such as in this Reddit thread (opens in new tab) (or our own comments on the announcement), took the change as an admission that its Origin strategy had failed.
But senior vice president and Origin general manager Mike Blank told GamesIndustry (opens in new tab) that's not the case: Origin has done well and has millions of users, he said, but EA is changing its approach "to become more open" with how it delivers its games.
"We've been inching toward that over the past couple years and months," Blank said. "Some folks don't recognize it, but we have more than 85 content partners, publishing partners, game developer partners on Origin today that are delivering their games through Access. Our subscription service is on more platforms than any other publisher. This is part of what is a clear strategy and opportunity to help more players play games."
And it's not just at EA: Blank said he sees "a wave toward openness and creating healthy gaming communities" across the entire industry, driven in part by the advent of crossplay, that's helping to break down barriers between platforms.
"I think this trend is becoming less of a trend and more of a reality. It's critical for publishers and developers and platforms like ours and Xbox and PlayStation and Steam and others to be more and more open, to create healthy opportunities for people to play together. And I trust this reality is continuing. As a player myself, I think this is fantastic, and it's a long time coming," he said. "I think we're going to see more of this in the weeks and months and years to come."
As for whether that means EA Access could be made available through the Epic Games Store someday, Blank wouldn't commit but left open the possibility. "What I'll say today is we are open to new partnerships," he said. "While I don't have anything to announce today, we are always open to new partnerships that make sense for our players. So we'll see what the future holds."