Update (June 15, 2011, 9:55 a.m. PT): Electronic Arts sent us this statement in regard to the removal of Crysis 2 from Steam: "It's unfortunate that Steam has removed Crysis II from their service. This was not an EA decision or the result of any action by EA. Steam has imposed a set of business terms for developers hoping to sell content on that service--many of which are not imposed by other online game services. Unfortunately, Crytek has an agreement with another download service which violates the new rules from Steam and resulted in its expulsion of Crysis II from Steam."
We've asked EA for clarification regarding Alice: The Madness Returns also disappearing from Steam. We've also reached out to Valve Software for comment, and will update with any further information accordingly.
We expected Electronic Arts would take steps to direct customers toward Origin, its new PC game download service. Thus it's not entirely surprising to find this morning that EA has removed its Crysis 2 and its new Alice: Madness Returns for purchase from Valve Software's competing Steam service.
Despite their disappearance from Steam, you can still buy both games from other digital distribution services like Amazon, GameStop's Impulse, and GameFly's Direct2Drive. Market research on gaming download services is scarce, but an estimate by Deals4Downloads earlier this month indicates that Steam has just over 51 percent of the market, with its closest competitor, Direct2Drive, claiming only a 17 percent share. That breakdown, if it's accurate, paints a rather large target on Steam, which might explain why EA would take action against Valve's service alone.
You can still find other Electronic Arts games on Steam, including recent titles like Darkspore, Dragon Age II: Origins, and Bulletstorm, along with perennial best seller the Sims 3, which suggests EA does not yet have a blanket policy against selling its games through Steam. Of Electronic Arts' remaining Steam titles, only the Sims 3 and Darkspore, the latter a recipient of a 40 percent price cut, are listed among Steam's top 20 best-selling games.