Steam: We cant release digital data

Digital download market leader Steam has told MCV that it will not release its sales data to chart companies – and that an official downloads ranking is not important.

It is rumoured that parent company Valve’s secrecy over sales data is the final obstacle for companies such as GfK-ChartTrack and NPD to set up an official downloads chart for the trade.

Valve business development boss Jason Holtman told MCV this week that the company was not at liberty to publicly release sales data from its publishing partners.

The news comes ahead of forthcoming premier digital distribution event London Games Conference.

Taking place at BAFTA in London from 4:30pm on Tuesday October 27th, LGC is focusing on the challenge of digital distribution with speakers and panelists from leading manufacturers, publishers and developers.

Tickets for the event are 229. Click here or phone 01992 535647 for more information.

The data we aggregate to publishers is not as simple as feeding retail numbers into a database, and it’s not ours to share – the data belongs to publishers,” said Holtman.

A lot of the people calling for that kind of chart already have lots of good data on their games. So I know that while some think this would be great, but we have several partners who say: ‘Well, I have all my data already.’”

The news comes after leading industry figures from companies including Bethesda, Codemasters and ELSPA called for an industry-wide digital chart in MCV (‘Publishers are ready for download chart’, MCV 31/7) – managed by GfK-ChartTrack.

Over 880 games are available on Steam, which holds over 20 million user accounts. Publishers that use the service include EA, THQ, Activision, Ubisoft and 2K Games.

For publishers in this space, having a third party tell them how well their games sold – that isn’t as important [as it is in the retail world]. Because the ones that use us can log on and see their sales figures, up to date, within the last five minutes.”

Click here to read our full interview with Jason Holtman.

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