Valve: Steam discounts don’t devaluate IP
Countering Origin senior vice president David DeMartini’s earlier claim that discounts via digital distribution decrease the value of a game and hurt intellectual property (as well as sales) in the long run, Valve’s business development chief Jason Holtman told Eurogamer it’s actually the opposite: discounts help companies build their franchises, gain additional interest and build a bigger customer base on longer term.
“Ask the large to the small and see what they think about that. Putting it all in the bucket of, it’s all about the discounts, I don’t think that’s everything about it.
“Discounts serve a lot of functions. Highlighting serves a lot of functions. The qualities of the games serve a lot of functions. Everything we’ve seen, PC games and IP and all those franchises are more valuable today than they were four or five years ago.
He goes on, saying that you can’t really compare digital distribution discounts with second hand car sales where you can negotiate and where sticker price isn’t the real price. And he’s got the data that prooves it. According to Holtman, if it were true that gamers would constantly wait for games to go down in price, nobody would ever pre-purchase games via Steam:
“For instance, if all that were true, nobody would ever pre-purchase a game ever on Steam, ever again. You just wouldn’t,” he said. “In the back of your mind be like, okay, in six months to a year, maybe it’ll be 50% off on a day or a weekend or during one of our seasonal promotions. Probably true. But our pre-orders are bigger than they used to be. Tons of people, right? And our day one sales are bigger than they used to be. Our first week, second week, third week, all those are bigger.
“That points out that what’s happened with those sales is, you’ve probably caught somebody and introduced them to a game when they haven’t had it, and they’ve played it, and the next time the franchise comes out or the next move from that publisher, the next move from the partner, they’ve just become more avid gamers.
“The trade-off they’re making is a time trade-off.”