Steam is definitely the most popular platform for gaming distribution in the world with over 30 million active users. Steam originally launched in September 2003. Valve wanted to come up with a platform to make it easier for users to download and manage updates for their games. The first game which required Steam was Counter Strike 1.6 and the popularity of the latter Valve games lead to Steam becoming more and more popular. Third party game developers began distributing their games on Steam and Steam went on to become what it is today.
However, not all games can be found on Steam since not every video game distributor thought launching their products through Steam was the most profitable idea. Steam makes money through the sales each user makes and they keep a percentage of at least 30%. Considering the fact that it’s the most popular distribution platform for video games, a lot of small and independent video game manufacturers decide to launch their product through Steam since its audience is simply vast.
EA, on the other hand, decided to implement a different approach. A lot of gamers always wondered why there are almost no newer EA titles on steam and why certain games, such as Dragon Age II, have been removed by Steam from their service completely. The answer to this question can only be guessed since neither Steam nor EA has decided to talk about the issue in public.
The answer to Mass Effect 3 missing from Steam is simply because almost no new EA titles are coming to Steam due to EA’s new platform called Origin. Origin implements a system similar to Steam. It’s a program or a client which lets its users purchase games, download them, and update them all in one place. The difference is that Origin only distributed EA games. It seems that Steam’s cuts and certain policies have deterred EA from distributing their new games on Steam at all. It’s understandable in a way because they are obviously looking to draw new users to their Origin platform and making their games available exclusively on Origin should make sense.
EA and Steam are quite silent when it comes to this issue but EA has spoken about the withdrawal of Dragon Age II. It seems like Steam does not allow any downloadable content to be purchased from within the game and they only allow it to be done using their client. Dragon Age II offered the players to purchase DLC from within the game and that was a direct violation of Valve’s terms and services. The second reason for EA’s absence from Steam would be the fact that the in-game microtransactions are also controlled by Steam and use Steam wallet.
Every major company in the world chooses the path and the option which feels the most profitable. Electronic Arts is a great company with a lot of popular titles and series and it may seem natural that they somehow want to get rid of the middle man and promote their own platform. Games like Mass Effect 3 and any other new title might never be available on Steam again and people who want to play them will have to use Origin. Players who end up having to use both Steam and Origin might be angry since they won’t have the same community and same friends to invite which might deter them from using one of the services. Steam is definitely bigger and more popular but players who are determined to play a game will do anything to get their hands on it.