Valve's Doug Lombardi has said that Steam may not be as big a threat to conventional retail outlets as gamers might expect, claiming that a lot of the Steam vs. Stores arguments are sensationalised. In fact, Lombardi says sales data shows that Steam sales promotions boost sales at retail stores as well as online.
"When we do our free weekends on Steam for our products we see an increase in player numbers, obviously, and then we'll see a spike in sales at the end of the weekend on Steam and at retail,
" Lombardi told GI.biz
. "Recently we've seen data that shows Left 4 Dead free weekends increase the sales of Left 4 Dead on Steam, at retail and on the Xbox 360, which we would never have guessed could have happened, but it's just that word of mouth.
"A lot of the 'Steam is there to compete with retail' stuff is sort of sensationalised,
" Lombardi said in response to the rumour that US retail chain GameStop is now reluctant to stock Valve games because of Steam. "We spent more money at GameStop in the US promoting Left For Dead than we did at any other chain. We sold more copies of Left 4 Dead at Gamestop than we did at any other chain.
"Steam is about making the games better. It's currently a great marketing and promotions channel, and yeah we sell games over it and that's great, but whether people buy games at GameStop, or GAME UK, or on Steam, we get paid. So for us, whichever cash register you want to pay at, that's fine.
Lombardi also dismissed the effect of the much-publicised Left 4 Dead 2 boycott
which has been organised by fans, pointing out that the numbers of pre-orders for the co-operative zombie killing sequel have already doubled those of the original game.
Check out our own chat with Valve's Chet Faliszek about Left 4 Dead 2
and then let us know your thoughts about the upcoming game and Steam in general, in the forums