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Valve defends Steam sales techniques as helpful to IP expansion

Steam sales do not 'cheapen' IPs argues Valve business chief Jason Holtman

Steam remains the dominant platform for digital distribution on the net, despite the efforts and criticisms of various competing platforms. Among those critics is EA, who claims that the various fire sale offers that occur with alarming regularity on Steam are in fact hindering IP growth.

Of course, Valve takes issue with the notion, saying that sales are helping expand these games to new clients, and the data proves it. "Ask our partners," says Valve business development head Jason Holtman. "Ask the large to the small and see what they think about that. Putting it all in the bucket of, it's all about the discounts; I don't think that's everything about it."

"Discounts serve a lot of functions. Highlighting serves a lot of functions. The qualities of the games serve a lot of functions. Everything we've seen, PC games and IP and all those franchises are more valuable today than they were four or five years ago."

"If this were all about a cheapening and somehow lessening the money out there or somehow customers don't want to pay any more, they think everything should be like a used car lot - sticker price is not the real price - you'd feel that and you'd get real reinforcement of that. We don't see any of that. We see people buying a lot and enjoying it and playing a lot."

"A lot" specifically entails well over 40 million users that have been active and purchasing on the Steam platform. 40 million users gives Valve a lot of data to crunch through as they figure out how to best sell and market the ever-expanding library of games, and things seem to be working even without major sales. "For instance, if all that were true, nobody would ever pre-purchase a game ever on Steam, ever again. You just wouldn't," he offered. "In the back of your mind be like, okay, in six months to a year, maybe it'll be 50% off on a day or a weekend or during one of our seasonal promotions. Probably true. But our pre-orders are bigger than they used to be. Tons of people, right? And our day one sales are bigger than they used to be. Our first week, second week, third week, all those are bigger."

"That points out that what's happened with those sales is, you've probably caught somebody and introduced them to a game when they haven't had it, and they've played it, and the next time the franchise comes out or the next move from that publisher, the next move from the partner, they've just become more avid gamers."

"The trade-off they're making is a time trade-off."

[via Eurogamer]

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Ben Strauss: Ben Strauss is a recent graduate of Xavier University. You can see him ramble on about gaming, gamification, military-related gaming and manly things on his Twitter @Sinner101GR.
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