After yesterday's report that Dragon Age II no longer appeared to be available for purchase on Steam, we followed up with EA and Valve to see what was going on. Valve hasn't got back to us yet, but EA's senior vice president of global e-commerce David DeMartini had this statement to make on the matter:
"At EA, we offer our games and content to all major download services including GameStop, Amazon, Direct2Drive and Steam. Unfortunately, Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to sell downloadable content. No other download service has adopted this practice. Consequently some of our games have been removed by Steam. We hope to work out an agreement to keep our games on Steam."
This disagreement sounds quite similar to what happened when Crysis 2 disappeared from the service last month. At that time, EA again blamed the change in availability on "business terms" that "are not imposed by other online game services."
The issue appears to be with Valve's new set of terms and conditions, which would prevent Dragon Age II from selling its new Legacy DLC from within the game, without going through Steam.
We're still waiting to hear from Valve on this issue. In the meantime, if you purchased Dragon Age II from Steam, you should still be able to download it (and purchase the DLC, for that matter) -- you just won't receive any future updates. In many cases, you can also use the product key from your Steam version to register a copy on EA's Origin service too, just in case you want to make doubly sure you aren't going to lose the software you paid for.
Let's hope this behind-the-scenes scuffle between EA and Valve is resolved soon, because all it's doing at the moment is irritating consumers. If EA wants its Origin platform to succeed, it needs to be seen as a competitive alternative to Steam and not, as it is perceived at the moment, as a service that is causing products to be removed from Valve's store.