Valve: "Pirates are under-served customers"

Written by Joe Martin

January 20, 2009 | 10:14

Tags: #half-life #laidlaw #lombardi #newell #orange-box #piracy #pirate #portal

Companies: #valve

Valve has taken to discussing the piracy problem lately, commenting that computer game pirates are really just "under-served customers" who turn to pirating games because they are tired of waiting for regional releases of titles.

Valve's business developer Jason Holtman cited the Russian market as the main example and said that launching a game in all territories at the same time could easily convert undiscovered customers.

"The reason people pirated things in Russia is because Russians are reading magazines and watching television [and] they say, 'Man, I want to play that game so bad,' but the publishers respond, 'You can play that game in six months... maybe,'" Holtman told GameDaily.

In fact, Valve reckons that the main reason that it has lower piracy rates than other publishers isn't because it uses Steam as an authentication platform, but because it uses to service to launch all regional versions of their titles at once.

Going further, Holtman said that he didn't believe that the PC market was dying off as many people though, pointing to the fact that Valve has sold over 30 million units on PC alone and explaining that the PC audience far exceeds the size of all console markets combined.

Holtman finally pointed to downloadable content as a great way to improve PC sales, so long as the content wasn't charged for in anyway. Valve has taken a firm stand on the topic of DLC over the years, providing continuous updates and free content to loyal gamers, such as with Half-Life: The Lost Coast and on-going expansions to Team Fortress 2. While Valve typically keeps sales figures on Steam a secret, it does claim that content such as this brings good sales spikes.

Do you ever pirate games? If so, why? Let us know your thoughts on piracy and Steam in the forums.
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