Perhaps unsurprisingly I’m approaching the news that EA is to distribute Valve games including Half-Life 2 with some trepidation.
As far as I know it’s not a publishing deal as some are reporting, presumably putting 2+2 together to make 5, but simply a distribution deal. Still, I don’t like EA having their foot in the door at one of the few remaining independent developers with enough clout to remain independent and have some creative freedom. EA started with publishing/distribution deals at both DICE and Criterion, but both are now owned by EA and are churning out nothing but Battlefield and Burnout games. We’re approaching the fourth Burnout game (plus the “best of” on the PSP) in four years and we all know about how rushed both Battlefields have been.
I’m really hoping that Valve really have made this agreement on their terms and have the financial security to stay independent because the day that EA takes them over will be a truly dark day for gaming. One of the most respected series’ and a proven and fully developed online distribution system which has shown itself to be capable of distributing millions of copies of one of the biggest selling titles ever is an attractive acquisition for anybody, after all.