BioWare's Community Coordinator, Chris Priestly, is letting Mass Effect fans know that if they plan on helping Commander Shepard save the planet from Reapers, they'll have to go about it without using their Steam accounts. Mass Effect 3 will require interacting with EA's Origin platform and will be available for purchase through Origin and select digital download services not owned by Valve.
"During initial release Mass Effect 3 will be available on Origin and a number of other 3rd party digital retailers, but not on Steam at this time. Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to deliver patches and other downloadable content," Priestly explained as part of a Mass Effect 3 Q&A session on Bioware's forum. "We are intent on providing Mass Effect to players with the best possible experience no matter where they purchase or play their game, and are happy to partner with any download service that does not restrict our ability to connect directly with our consumers."
As mentioned, Origin will be required for the PC version of Mass Effect 3, both physical and digital, according to Priestly. Acknowledging this could be cause for concern by those who might view Origin as spyware, Priestly set out to clear the air.
"Origin is not spyware, and does not use or install spyware on user’s machines," Priestly said. "In order to allow Origin to install games and their patches for everyone to use, Origin implements a permission change that results in Windows, not Origin, reviewing the filenames in the ProgramData/Origin folder. This is an ordinary Windows function, not an information-gathering process."
Keeping Mass Effect 3 away from Steam is the latest in an ongoing dispute between EA and Valve over DLC. It began when Valve yanked Crysis 2 out of Steam after it learned that Crytek has an agreement with another download service that violates new rules from Steam. EA insists the dispute has never been about Origin versus Steam, but it's all semantics when the end result inconveniences gamers either way.
Image Credit: EA