Seattle (WA) - Valve's Steam content distribution service has scored an important win with the addition of Electronic Arts to the list of participating publishers. The announcement is somewhat surprising given the fact that the world's largest game publisher runs its own online store that also sells select games as digital downloads. Electronic Arts currently offers five triple-A titles on Steam, including Spore, and is expected to grow the list of games by the end of the year with several new additions, including Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3.
Valve landed what could be described as the most important distribution deal for its digital gaming store yet. The company said Electronic Arts (EA) has begun selling games through its Steam digital distribution network. EA, the world biggest game publisher quietly entered Spore into Steam last week and has added a few more titles over past days. A quick look at Steam listing reveals that Electronic Arts currently offers PC titles such as Need for Speed Undercover, FIFA Manager 09, Warhammer Online: Age of Reckoning, Mass Effect, Spore, Spore Creepy and Spore Cute Parts Pack. The company is expected to be offering Command and Conquer: Red Alert 3 and Mirror's Edge within two weeks.
It is interesting to note that Electronic Arts joined Steam despite the fact that Valve's store competes with the EA Store, which also sells select games as digital downloads.
Although Steam has been around for a while, the digital distribution system did not really take off until recently. With a broad publisher backing and a recently introduced cloud-based Steam extension, Valve is aiming to position Steam not only as a digital download store, but also as a platform that developers can use to enhance their games with a free online profile and storage that maintains game settings and controller configurations online.