Damn it all. I knew this news was coming, though that doesn’t make me any less angry about it. PC players looking to play Mass Effect 3, the thrilling conclusion to Commander Shepard’s battle against the Reapers, will still be able to do so…but only on EA‘s Origin service.
This is the latest entry in a long list of EA‘s tactics in their never-ending quest to fuck over Valve and their vastly more functional Steam service. Previous tricks included pulling EA published games such as Dragon Age II and Crysis 2 from the Steam library, making Battlefield 3 exclusive to Origin, and forcing PC users to activate Star Wars: The Old Republic through the service. Bioware‘s Community Coordinator, Chris Priestly, was given the unfortunate task of breaking this awful, horrible news to PC gamers everywhere.
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. 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.
What I don’t like is that EA is twisting the arms of the consumers that keep them in business, and saying, “either you buy exclusively from Origin, or you don’t play the game on PC at all.” Honestly, some PC gamers are surely so fed up that they won’t be playing Mass Effect 3, simply out of protest.
Oh, and it’s important to note that we’re not just talking about digital copies of the game. ALL copies, physical and digital, will require a one-time Origin activation for the single-player mode, while multi-player will require a constant connection in order to function. I was going to buy the physical N7 Collector’s Edition, as that probably had the best chance of avoiding Origin altogether. At least now I have a reason to spend $20 less on the standard digital edition of ME3.
Remember, Mass Effect 3 is set to launch (Get it? Because it’s a space game?) worldwide on March 6th, 2012 for Xbox 360, Playstation 3, and PC. A demo is expected on February 14th, 2012.