Battlefield 3 is the latest high-profile game involved in a disagreement between Valve, operators of Steam, the dominant download store for PCs, and Electronic Arts, which is in the process of strengthening its own online shop, Origin.
EA is "happy to partner with any download service that does not restrict our ability to connect directly with our consumers," wrote Community Coordinator Seeson Mahathavorn on EA's Battlefield forum.
The Battlefield publisher is keen to put the onus on Valve, with Mahathavorn citing Steam's "restrictive terms of service" that prevent the direct delivery of "patches and other downloadable content."
While game-fixing patches and updates are free, paid-for downloadable content is a potentially lucrative source of revenue, with fans shelling out for extra mission packs, multiplayer maps, character designs and so on.
With Valve believed to take 30% in publishing fees on items sold through Steam, it's not surprising to see EA move to retain that cut for itself.
Digital downloads of EA's Star Wars: The Old Republic are already exclusive to Origin, while both Crysis 2 and Dragon Age 2 have disappeared from Valve's Steam Network in recent months.
The two companies partnered for the retail release of Valve's Portal 2 in April.