Last week, we saw hints that EA was working on blending parts of their expansive library of video games back into the dominant market that is Valve’s Steam. It’s been all but confirmed before now, but at least now EA has stepped forward to announce that the tease was in fact exactly what everyone thought it was. The split originally happened in 2011 when Electronic Arts wanted to make a go of competing with Steam. The publisher pulled many of its flagship offerings and moved them to their own service, Origin. Since then, the wider gaming industry has been split between the two services for many popular games on PC. Now, it looks like that split will slowly be repaired.
The previously teased return to the dominant storefront drew a ton of speculation and even some backlash from Origin fans, as there were some gamers who grew used to using Origin and don’t want to switch back to Steam. Most reactions seemed to fall under cautious optimism, mostly surrounding speculation about what titles would be making the jump.
EA will bring even more games to Valve’s service in the coming months. All of their biggest and most profitable entries will be ported over to the storefront. 2019 will see the mega-popular Sims 4 jumping over to Steam from Origin. Apex Legends, FIFA 20, and Battlefield V are all scheduled to drop onto the service sometime in 2020. But just adding games to a new platform isn’t all the publisher has planned, as they also confirmed that crossplay between Origin and Steam is in the works.
There are some downsides though, as DRM will still apparently be governed by Origin, meaning crossplay will require Origin to be installed. Also, any games you have purchased on Origin will not be transferred over to Steam. The two services will remain separate storefronts.
May The Force be With You
Electronic Arts also had some news concerning other plans for the future aside from the return to Steam. In this case, they’re biggest new release coming up in 2019, Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order. The company also teased some info concerning EA Access. Namely, that EA Access will arrive on Steam in Spring 2020.
EA Access is a subscription service that allows gamers full access to a variety of titles on the Origin store. There were two different tiers, with each one offering different levels of access. The more expensive of the two tiers offered access to the latest AAA releases from the EA library, which ostensibly brought in a ton of interest for Origin. With Steam now fusing with EA Access in the next few months, it seems very likely that EA will eventually close Origin entirely.
A big signal of this happening is that Star Wars Jedi: Fallen Order will be the first major release from EA to drop on Steam in quite a while that wasn’t a sports title. And while the gaming giant hasn’t confirmed that Origin will shut down anytime soon, everyone now expects it to happen eventually.