Valve has fought back, after EA made a misguided attempt at accusing Steam sales of ‘cheapening intellectual property’, by stating that the exact opposite.
EA’s David DeMartini, Senior Vice President and Supreme Overlord of Origin, EA tried to compare themselves to Nordstrom, an up-market department store in the US, whilst liking Valve to Target, the polar opposite of Nordstrom. In a nutshell, Steam occasionally offering high quality games at low prices, for limited amounts of time, devalues the product.
Whilst we all laughed and some of us cried, Eurogamer put this point to Jason Holtman, Valve’s business development chief, who argued the exact opposite:
“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.
“Discounting is one small function of what we do. It’s one small function of our market and our store. It certainly doesn’t seem to be anything that cheapens IP.
“We do it with our own games. If we thought having a 75 per cent sale on Portal 2 would cheapen Portal 2, we wouldn’t do it. We know there are all kinds of ways customers consume things, get value, come back, build franchises. We think lots of those things strengthen it.”
Your move, DeMartini.