In today's edition of, "News You Saw Coming a Mile Away", BioWare's Community Coordinator, Chris Priestly, has told Mass Effect fans that Commander Shepard's epic quest to save Earth from the Reapers will not take place on Steam due to the set of "restrictive terms of service" which also led to EA pulling titles like Crysis 2 and Dragon Age 2 from Steam last year.
During initial release Mass Effect 3 will be available on Origin and a number of other 3rd party digital retailers, but not on Steam at this time. Steam has adopted a set of restrictive terms of service which limit how developers interact with customers to deliver patches and other downloadable content. We are intent on providing Mass Effect to players with the best possible experience no matter where they purchase or play their game, and are happy to partner with any download service that does not restrict our ability to connect directly with our consumers.
Better yet, he let it be known that Origin is required for any and all copies of Mass Effect 3 on PC in order to be activated:
Origin is required for the PC versions of Mass Effect 3, both physical and digital. Mass Effect 3 will require a one time, single authorization for the single player game. There is no limit to the number of installs. Playing Mass Effect 3 Multiplayer will require a constant connection.
He also assured users that Origin was not Spyware:
Origin is not spyware, and does not use or install spyware on user's machines. In order to allow Origin to install games and their patches for everyone to use, Origin implements a permission change that results in Windows, not Origin, reviewing the filenames in the ProgramData/Origin folder. This is an ordinary Windows function, not an information-gathering process.
So there you have it. Mass Effect 3 will only be available on Origin and a number of 3rd party digital retailers at launch. Furthermore, you need Origin no matter what in order to activate the game. The good news however is that Origin is not watching you sleep...