Illicit file sharing 'a service problem and not a pricing problem'

Newell: Piracy a ‘non issue’ for Valve

Piracy is a “non issue” for Valve and its Steam platform, studio boss Gabe Newell has claimed.

Speaking to The Cambridge Student, he said illicit file sharing stems from a service problem, not a pricing one.

“In general, we think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem,” said Newell.

“For example, if a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24/7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country three months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable.

“Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customers use or by creating uncertainty.”

He added that Valve’s goal is to create a service of greater value than what pirates can offer, and said “this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company”.

Newell also claimed he had been told it would be a waste of time entering the Russian market due to the high levels of piracy, but that the country is now about to become the company’s largest market in Europe thanks to its Steam service.

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