Games disappearing from Steam is a complex issue but can be fixed, says Valve boss

Newell: We have to convince EA to come back

Valve has a responsibility to show Electronic Arts why it’s smarter business to add its games on Steam instead of remove them, studio president Gabe Newell has said.

Recently, a number of EA-published games have suddenly disappeared from Valve’s leading online game portal. Speaking to Develop, Newell said the reason why is down to "a whole complicated set of issues".

Last month industry sources speculated that the issue hinged on EA’s desire to sell DLC directly to Steam customers, as opposed to hosting content through Valve’s own portal.

Valve takes a revenue cut from all content sold through Steam, meaning that EA’s alleged strategy – if true – could allow it to circumvent those payments.

Certain EA-published games have been removed from Steam on days that coincide with the release of new DLC. Electronic Arts has also launched the Origin service for PC; something that is categorically a competitor to Steam.

Newell suggested the struggle with EA is complicated, but nevertheless reconcilable.

"I don’t think Valve can pick just one thing and think the issue would go away if we fixed that," he said.

"We have to show EA it’s a smart decision to have EA games on Steam, and we’re going to try to show them that," he said.

Speaking in an interview to be published soon, Newell spoke in depth about the potential for Dota 2 on a global scale, and what success outside the FPS genre will mean for Valve.

But returning to the issue of EA, the Valve co-founder took a philosophical stance when asked if customers should expect more games to be removed from Steam.

"Companies have to earn the right to install content on their customers’ PCs on a regular basis," he began.

"The same thing is true of Steam. We have to prove we are creating value on an ongoing basis, whether it’s to EA or Ubisoft or whoever.

"We really want to show there’s a lot of value having EA titles on Steam. We want EA’s games on Steam and we have to show them that’s a smart thing to do," he said.

"I think at the end of the day we’re going to prove to Electronic Arts they have happier customers, a higher quality service, and will make more money if they have their titles on Steam. It’s our duty to demonstrate that to them. We don’t have a natural right to publish their games."

Develop’s interview with Newell and its exciting new project Dota 2 will be available online soon.

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