Are you going to play Mass Effect 3 on the PC? Were you hoping to do it through Steam or old school via a game disc? Sorry, Charlie, but you're going to have to use EA's Origin platform to play, no matter if you buy a physical retail copy or a legal digital copy. So yes, there is no hope of playing Mass Effect 3on Steam.
If you don't believe me, then take the word from BioWare's Chris Priestly, as he clearly confirmed it on the BioWare forums. He explained that Mass Effect 3 would require just one activation of the license through Origin for the campaign, and that authorization had an unlimited number of installs. However, if you want to play through the multiplayer, then you will have to have a constant connection through Origin (insert a giant "well duh!" here).
Priestly offered this explanation for why ME3 won't be on Steam:
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.
EA and BioWare can say all they want to as for why it won't be on Steam, but I can't help but think that the real reason behind it is to promote their own online service. There's been talk about EA not liking the way Steam handles DLC purchases, and that may have something to do with it, but I'm convinced it all boils down to EA wanting players to use their service. It's their right, so if it works out, good for them.
I'm playing Mass Effect 3 on my Xbox, so none of this affects me in the slightest. If you're a PC Gamer with a hankering for Commander Shepard, is this off-putting for you?