Steam Boss Says Piracy is “Almost Always a Service Problem and Not a Pricing Problem”

Valve  co-founder and CEO, Gabe Newell has contradictory views on the popular claim that lower prices for games will combat the rampant piracy issues. In a interview with Cambridge Student Online, as reported by IGN, Newell has come out and claimed that piracy is “almost always a service problem” and not a pricing problem.

Offering an example, Steam boss explains:

“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 three months after the U.S. release and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable.

“Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customer’s use or by creating uncertainty.”

Newell says that with Valve’s Steam service the goal is to “create greater service value than pirates,” and that this has been successful enough for the Valve that piracy is basically a “non-issue” for the company.

“Our success comes from making sure that both customers and partners feel like they get a lot of value from those services. They can trust us not to take advantage of the relationship that we have with them.”

“We usually think of ourselves as customer centric rather than production centric. Most of our decisions are based on the rapidly evolving opportunities to better serve our customers, and not on optimizing to be a better game company or digital distributor. The latter focus would be more of a straitjacket than conceptual aid.”