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Valve: Piracy a "non-issue" for Steam

Gabe Newell says quality of service allowed Valve to break into difficult Russian market

Valve managing director Gabe Newell claims that piracy is a "non-issue" for the company's Steam retail platform.

In an interview with the Cambridge Student, Newell explained that the "fundamental misconception" about piracy is that it is motivated by high prices. However, Valve sees it as a service problem.

"For example, if a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24/7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate's service is more valuable," he said.

The DRM solutions implemented by other companies tend to restrict their consumers and "create uncertainty." This can harm the consumer's overall experience, and offer an incentive to turn towards piracy.

"Our goal is to create greater service value than pirates, and this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company. For example, prior to entering the Russian market, we were told that Russia was a waste of time because everyone would pirate our products. Russia is now about to become our largest market in Europe."

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Matthew Handrahan avatar

Matthew Handrahan


Matthew Handrahan joined GamesIndustry in 2011, bringing long-form feature-writing experience to the team as well as a deep understanding of the video game development business. He previously spent more than five years at award-winning magazine gamesTM.