PC News

Publishers eye online game delivery

EA and Sega take on Steam

In a move clearly influenced by the success of Valve's excellent Steam online content delivery system, publisher EA have announced tentative steps towards the online distribution of their games. Using their new EA Downloader software, the world's largest games publisher will make Battlefield 2: Special Forces available for purchase and download over the net. Gamers will be able to preload the title in anticipation of the release date, which is set for November 22nd. The add-on became available for downloading yesterday, according to the firm.

November 17th will also see The Sims 2 Holiday Party Pack made available for acquiring online, and if these early steps go well we could see more games distributed in this manner in the future. "Digital distribution will keep content flowing to players, keeping their current EA games fresh and delivering new EA games quickly and conveniently," beamed EA online marketing boss Chip Lange. "We are always looking for ways to better connect with our customers, and EA is innovating to give our game-playing community access to exciting and immersive content."

Sega meanwhile are also moving in the same direction, once again taking their queues from Steam. They have announced a deal with Digital River this week for the firm to handle the online sale of select titles from the publisher's PC portfolio, making the games purchasable via the official Sega website. The deal covers the marketing of Sega games on Digital River partner sites, too.

Games like Virtua Fighter, Eastside Hockey Manager 2005 and The House of the Dead will be sold online in this manner. "Online distribution presents growth opportunities for Sega and we are poised to bring leading-edge games into that channel," enthused 'director of Web' Chris Olson. "Digital River's oneNetwork will allow us to quickly and easily expose our games to a very large audience of consumers that shop on popular, high-traffic online retail sites."

More on this as we get it.

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