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Pitchford: "It's dangerous for the industry to allow Valve to win"

Steam service is a money grab that's exploiting the small guy, says Gearbox CEO

Too much conflict of interest surrounds Valve's Steam service, and the company is taking a larger share than it should be for the utility it is providing, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford has said.

"It would be much better if Steam was its own business," Pitchford told MaximumPC. "There's so much conflict of interest there that it's horrid. It's actually really, really dangerous for the rest of the industry to allow Valve to win."

Steam isn't the answer, according to Pitchford, who acknowledges the service helps developers as customers but adds that it's also a "money grab".

"Valve is exploiting people in a way that's not totally fair. [It's] taking a larger share that it should be for the service it's providing. It's exploiting a lot of small guys."

What needs to happen to improve the digital distribution model and prevent piracy, he continues, is the emergence of choice.

"The best example is that I can go to this place using Vista to buy software from Microsoft. But I can also fire up my browser, whether it's Internet Explorer or Mozilla, and I can go to any retailer in the world and purchase something.

"We need to improve the convenience thing, and we need to figure out who controls the digital distribution stuff. I think it depends on the model. If they're slicing a piece of all of us off, that sucks. It depends how much the piece is. There’s a fair piece and an unfair piece.

"How much service are they offering? Are they creating opportunity for us to manage some of those resources themselves? We’ll bear the burden of the cost of the service, but we want more of the reward.

"Are they creating that opportunity for us or is the only way their way?"

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