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Valve: Pirates are "under-served customers"

Day and date releases across multiple regions is key to fighting piracy, says Holtman

Developer Valve believes that consumers who pirate PC games are misunderstood "under-served customers", usually forced to wait months for regional game releases, writes Eurogamer.net.

Using the Russian market as an example, business developer Jason Holtman said launching titles day-and-date across all territories can solve the problem and convert "tons of undiscovered customers".

"The reason people pirated things in Russia is because Russians are reading magazines and watching television [and] they say, 'Man, I want to play that game so bad,' but the publishers respond, 'You can play that game in six months... maybe,'" Holtman told GameDaily.

By launching in Russia at the same time as Western Europe and the US, Holtman said Valve piracy rates had "dropped off significantly".

And, he added: "When you think about it that way, you think, 'Oh my gosh, I can do some interesting things and make some interesting money off of it.'"

Holtman further challenged the view that the PC market was dwindling in comparison to consoles, citing Valve lifetime sales of over 30 million units in a market potentially bigger than all of the consoles combined; apparently 255 million PCs were bought last year.

He also questioned monetising additional game content, an area Valve has historically made a firm stand on. By giving away extra content, Holtman said the developer had seen resulting sales spikes across several products rather than just one.

Valve's digital distribution platform Steam currently counts around 15 million customers and bypasses areas such as DRM software by requiring people to sign-in before buying or playing games.

Sony Online Entertainment recently joined a bulging list of 19 publishers - including the likes of Activision, Ubisoft, SEGA, Epic and Rockstar - offering their wares on the service, putting titles such as EverQuest II up for grabs.

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Robert Purchese

Senior Staff Writer

Bertie is senior staff writer and Eurogamer's Poland-and-dragons correspondent. He's part of the furniture here, a friendly chair, and reports on all kinds of things, the stranger the better.