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Forbes: Steam controls 50-70% of PC download market

Gabe Newell claims Valve is "tremendously profitable"

An online profile of Valve co-founder Gabe Newell has claimed that Steam owns between half and seventy per cent of the PC download market, with the man himself calling the company "tremendously profitable."

The profile, at Forbes, doesn't do too much to dispel the notorious levels of fiscal secrecy about the company, but does call upon IHS Screen Digest analyst Ed Barton, who estimates that the company's profits are somewhere in the "high hundreds of millions of dollars."

Elsewhere in the article, Newell also claims that sticking to what it's good at has kept Valve at the top of its game, saying that "If we tried to blaze new trails of our own and ride all the new trends, we'd likely be bankrupt right now."

However, the company has recently started to expand its remit somewhat, add several features which were previously exclusive to Steam to the forthcoming Portal 2 on PS3. This marks a distinct change of tune for the executive, who had previously lambasted the console on many occasions.

"I think [PS3 is] a waste of everybody's time," he said in an Edge interview in 2007. "Investing in the Cell, investing in the SPE gives you no long-term benefits."

"There's nothing there that you're going to apply to anything else. You're not going to gain anything except a hatred of the architecture they've created. I don't think they're going to make money off their box. I don't think it's a good solution."

Newell also criticised the PS3 on its release, calling it "a total disaster on so many levels."

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Dan Pearson