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Valve: Fears of a digital land grab "don't make sense"

Steam helps all developers reach a wider audience and grow digital market; Valve games aren't prioritised over others, says Holtman

Valve's Jason Holtman has said that fears the Steam platform could become a monopoly in the digital market are unfounded, and that the company's own game releases help the platform to grow for the benefit of all.

He was speaking following a report by Stardock's CEO Brad Wardell, which estimated Steam has a 70 per cent share of the digital market in the US. Some developers, such as Gearbox's Randy Pitchford, have also publicly questioned whether it's good for the industry as a whole for a games developer to run the leading online digital distribution service.

"In terms of whether we get too big or maybe our content shouldn't be on the platform, it's just doesn't make much sense. Because the content helps the platform grow," said Holtman, speaking in an exclusive interview published today.

"There's nothing better in the world for anyone making an Xbox 360 game than the fact that Halo exists. It's awesome, there's nobody saying 'boy I wish Bungie hadn't made Halo' because it sold an awful lot of Xboxes that you can sell your games on."

"Having the content and the distribution that go hand-in-hand make it a stronger platform, make it a platform to reach more consumers with your own game. If you look at any given time on our top-sellers and our marketing, it's clear that [Valve games] are not the only push out there," said Holtman, who heads up the Steam business for Valve.

There's plenty of competition on the PC for consumers to take their business elsewhere if they weren't happy with the service, said Holtman, and the nature of the format means that other companies can potential build a rival to Steam as it's an open format.

"The thing about PC in general is that unlike a closed platform you can make your own. We have a force of openness on the PC that's always pushing on us. If we started doing things that were bad decisions for customers or developers, they can just move and go somewhere else."

The full interview with Jason Holtman, where he discusses Modern Warfare 2 sales, and how big publishers have learnt to “turn on a dime” to take advantage of the fast-changing digital market, can be read here.

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Matt Martin avatar
Matt Martin: Matt Martin joined GamesIndustry in 2006 and was made editor of the site in 2008. With over ten years experience in journalism, he has written for multiple trade, consumer, contract and business-to-business publications in the games, retail and technology sectors.
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