I never got into the earlier Battlefield games but Bad Company 2 was enjoyable when I got it and lately I’ve really warmed to it. However I won’t be buying Battlefield 3 as part of my own mini protest over the EA-Origin / Valve-Steam issues.
Over the past few years I have become a big advocate of Steam and use it for most my game purchases. The deals alone can be pretty phenomenal as I currently have about 30 titles in my library that I never would have bought if it wasn’t for the deals. It ties into my clan’s game, Left4Dead, seamlessly and provides one friends list. Previously I used to use a combination of Xfire and MSN to communicate with people but having everyone on Steam is very handy indeed. I personally love the automatic updating as it was always such a pain having to locate and sequentially apply several updates in a row just because you fancied a quick game of an old favourite FPS. On top of that you have resources for servers and tools. There’s groups, stats, achievements, voice comms, screenshots and cloud. Whilst it isn’t the perfect solution, it is very useful.
Perhaps the most important point though is, my friends and games are on it. It has become the focal point of my PC gaming and does a good job, however now Battlefield 3, a title I was very interested in, is not going to be available on Steam and instead I’ll have to get into Origin. However I don’t want to change, I won’t change over.
This is more than a fan boy thing. Origin is still pretty new and has a long way to go to match Steam. It needs to build up the catalogue, feature set and player base to be truly competitive. I personally think it also lacks some of the tremendous specials that Steam has on. As I mentioned earlier, Steam has great deals whereas I look at the Origin store and everything seems a similar price to buying a copy from Play.com or similar. The “Specials” are just really old titles, some of which sell for a quid in your local Game store.
Its more than just an online store, it is a portal into the games. You want all your friends to talk to and see when they are in game but that means convincing others to get this application as well. One distinct advantage that Origin has over Steam is the PSN and Xbox Live integration. Of course you can’t just quickly join a PS3 game from your PC so this is a little limited and the likes of Raptr have the area more than covered. Without a doubt Origin is getting better, but not at a rate that will surpass Steam any time soon.
You may be asking, why not have both. Well the main reason why I don’t want to have to buy Battlefield 3 on Origin is that I don’t want to be installing another piece of software. APB: Reloaded never made it back onto my PC after a format because of the gumpf that came with it. I already have enough background tasks running for security, gaming and the usual crap that Apple and alike are so keen to install. Add on top of that the need to have another new login and password and more significantly a new friends lists. When a clan mate launches a game I want to see one notification window using one theme. I want to be able to keep the information flow in one application. When I fancy a game but not sure what, do I want to open three or four different applications to have a flick through and decide or just the one? Just the one thanks. Having to install Origin, plus other companies equivalent software, is just more things to be running on the go.
In an ideal world we’d have one big open platform with one friends list but failing that I’ll stick with the best there is, Steam.