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Valve not concerned about piracy in PC market

Steam platform and service provided to its customers protects Valve from piracy, says Gabe Newell

At Valve's mini-summit on the state of PC gaming in Seattle today, president Gabe Newell revealed that the company is not concerned about the threat of piracy in the PC market.

"When you list the things that we worry about in our business, piracy is not one of them," he told the audience in response to a question.

His sentiments run counter to those of many publishers, who feel piracy is killing their PC games business. But, said Newell, Valve's Steam distribution platform and the service it provides its customers protects it from that.

"We've got great facilities that make it very hard for people to pirate," he said. "And more importantly, the service value of having an ongoing relationship with us is high enough that it causes people to not be very interested in piracy.

"It's a dangerous thing to pirate one of our games because later on, when we catch you, you lose all your games, or you can't play multiplayer."

Earlier, Valve's Jason Holtman explained why the company felt the fear of rampant piracy in emerging markets such as Russia and China was misplaced, and the problem easily solved.

He noted how famous the Russian market was for its piracy, and explained that this was a direct result of games releasing there six months after North America and Western Europe. It wasn't just Steam's encryption technology, but the ease of simultaneous worldwide releases on the platform that solved the problem for Valve.

"We know that that's the major place where this rampant piracy myth comes from," Holtman said. "Rampant piracy is just unserved customers."

"Russians have money, Russians like to play games and Russians have PCs. They love going to stores and not having to use Bittorrent sties."

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