Steam’s frontman bears no ill will towards EA’s digital distribution platform.
Big game developers have a way of getting into pissing matches over who has the best service in town, but courtesy is not entirely dead. Gabe Newell, leading man at Valve, had a chance to look over Origin, EA’s digital distribution service, and remained pleasantly neutral about it. Newell has been playing the peacemaker ever since EA started pulling its titles off of Steam, so he may have an ulterior motive behind his polite words.
“I think [Origin] does some things well,” said Newell. “I think there are still some areas where, as a customer, I’d like to see it improve.” The Valve boss did not go into specifics about the service, stating only that it had “positive things and negative things,” and that Origin does not appear significantly different from any other digital download service. Newell’s comments seem fair, although they sound like they could refer to basically any service, including Steam.
Origin has over 4 million users. If its base continues to grow at this rate, EA will probably not miss the sales it would have gained on Steam, but Newell will. “We want EA’s games on Steam and we have to show them that’s a smart thing to do,” he remarked back in August. Either way, Newell showed that it’s still possible for competitors to evaluate each other’s products without sounding like enormous bullies, and that speaks volumes.