In a completely unsurprising press release, EA confirmed today that the only way to acquire the N7 Digital Deluxe edition of Mass Effect 3 will be through EA’s own burgeoning digital distribution platform, Origin. Priced at $74.99, the N7 Digital Deluxe Edition will include the N7 arsenal pack, alternative outfits for squad mates and, best of all, a robotic dog. EA already made clear their intention to keep the best for itself when they announced that the upcoming Star Wars: The Old Republic MMO will be a digital exclusive on Origin. While EA would have had some explaining to do if the standard version of Mass Effect 3 didn’t show up on other digital distribution platforms, such as Steam, the plan to keep the deluxe edition exclusive to Origin may indicate a shift in strategy for EA.
For all the influence EA wields as one of the top tier game publishers, they were seemingly unprepared for the push back received from the PC gaming community after their recent debacle with the Steam store regarding Alice: Madness Returns and Crysis 2. Both games were pulled from Steam at the same time EA was releasing Origin, and it was assumed by many that EA would be pulling back from all other digital distribution platforms in order to basically force customers to utilize their Origin service. While we’ve since learned that the issue with Steam was far less sinister than initially thought, the announcement that SW:TOR would only be downloadable from Origin continued to lend credence to the fear that EA would only be selling through Origin in the future.
The announcement that only the deluxe edition of Mass Effect 3 would be sold only through Origin seems to be a smart move on EA’s part. Instead of forcing every single PC customer to use their content-delivery program, EA may be attempting to make Origin the location for the more exclusive versions of their titles. It wouldn’t be surprising if a future announcement from EA made any ME3 DLC an Origin exclusive, which gives the player great incentive to begin utilizing EA’s distribution option. While the idea of another AAA digital distribution platform challenging the great and powerful Steam may irk gamers who’ve pledged their loyalty to the service, the end result is definitely going to include more games available online and greater competition among top-tier distributors.