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Digital charts won’t pick up Steam

Ben Parfitt
Digital charts won’t pick up Steam

PC kingpin Valve has insisted it is not interested in handing over data for a digital games chart.

The Bellevue-based studio is thought to control in excess of half the PC download market. The man in charge of its Steam platform told MCV charting such content is “less useful in the digital space”.

Steam distributes over 1,700 games, from blockbusters like Call of Duty: Black Ops to indie titles such as Super Meat Boy and Braid.

Owners of these games are given comprehensive sales data measured to the hour – the immediate impact of a promotional ad campaign can be studied from the moment it launches.

Jason Holtman, who heads up Steam, said in an interview: “The idea of a chart is old. It came from people trying to aggregate disaggregated information. What we provide to partners is much more rapid and perfected information.”

Holtman said that kettling this data into a static ‘scorecard’ would be a backwards step. That’s despite UKIE efforts to deliver the first PC games download chart using UK data pooled by publishers and developers.

“If you look back at the way retail charts have been made, they have been proven to be telling an inaccurate story,” said Holtman. “They apparently had shown how the PC format was dying when it was actually thriving.”

The irony is that if the industry had a detailed digital sales chart, such inaccuracies would disappear.

But Holtman suggested it wouldn’t be wise: “The point is, it’s not super important for a publisher or developer to know how well everyone is doing. What’s important to know is exactly how your game is doing – why it’s climbing and why it’s falling. Your daily sales, your daily swing, your rewards for online campaign number three. That’s what we provide.”

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Tags: steam , Digital , data , valve , Charts

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