Valve on Piracy Rates and How Steam Keeps Them Low

September 16, 2010 -

Piracy is the subject of note in the third part of a massive interview with Valve Software's Gabe Newell and Erik Johnson over at PC Gamer.

When asked about piracy rates on Steam Newell said that that they are so low that Valve does spend any time thinking about it:

"They’re low enough that we don’t really spend any time [on it]. When you look at the things we sit around and talk about, as big picture cross game issues, we’re way more concerned about the stability of DirectX drivers or, you know, the erroneous banning of people. That’s way more of an issue for us than piracy.

Once you create service value for customers, ongoing service value, piracy seems to disappear, right? It’s like “Oh, you’re still doing something for me? I don’t mind the fact that I paid for this.” Once you actually localise your product in Russia and ship it on the same day that you ship your English language versions, this theoretical hotbed of piracy becomes your second largest- third largest after Germany in continental Europe? Or third after UK?

Newell goes on to say that creating anything to combat piracy that has the potential to affect even one customer is not something the company is willing to do. He also adds that Steam's ability to let users play the games they own from any computer has also helped to keep customers happy.

Read the whole interview at PC Gamer.

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Re: Valve on Piracy Rates and How Steam Keeps Them Low

Pay attention game companies who are NOT Valve: if you provide a DRM "front end" that provides more services than just the digital distribution of the game you might be successful as a company.

Whats that? I know! SHOCKER huh?!?!

 

 

Re: Valve on Piracy Rates and How Steam Keeps Them Low

I don't like steam that much they need to polish offline mode so its completely seamless it goes off line only the primarily online content cares about it.

The only thing they do to lesson piracy is due to the online company support, offline games are as easily cracked as anything else.

I still try before I buy because prices are still out of whack and I prefer to buy physical goods.


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Re: Valve on Piracy Rates and How Steam Keeps Them Low

You mean you can drastically reduce piracy by *gasp* giving customers what they want?!  I am shocked and appalled.  Where's your constant Internet connection requirement and intrusive rootkit software, Gabe?  Don't you know you're killing the industry?!  You and the dirty commies!  :)

Re: Valve on Piracy Rates and How Steam Keeps Them Low

I was playing TF2 today, and one guy kept getting kicked for multiple computers logged on with the same ID, and later for "No Steam Password".

So there still seems to be Steam piracy, but it seems to be a lot rarer and more inconvenient. Unfortunately they seem to lean more in the dirrection of griefing, yelling repeatedly in the mic, and botting.

Re: Valve on Piracy Rates and How Steam Keeps Them Low

and this guy obviously wasn't very bright then, cause he should've changed his password the first time it happened.

and thats not piracy thats password theft in the league of identity theft.

someone probably phished it out and had him targeted.

then wised up and got his account info changed before he did.

i have multiple systems on steam at a time, and i can play across'em (as i two box with a couple of MMO's since i can't oft stand the smug attitude of the elitest crowds that have long since taken over any MMO out there)

just gotta remember only one can be in online mode at a time.

Re: Valve on Piracy Rates and How Steam Keeps Them Low

This is part of the reason why I no longer 'try before I buy'...

I still spent thousands on software back when I was pirating like crazy.  I could afford it but it was just easier to cue up the download on certain titles than it was to go to the store.  All the antipiracy attempts (controls etc) didn't do anything to faze me.  The one thing that has virtually eliminated my piracy habits is Steam being convenient enough to give me no reason to pirate...

Steam, particularly it's aggressive special sales, has really given me no reason to pirate anymore.  My ISP doesn't meter steam content (they still meter in Aus ; ), the DRM is typically unobtrusive, I don't cheat so I'm not going to get my account banned and I've got my library where lack of discs or damaged media isn't going to be a problem.

Steam has reduced the difficulty involved with obtaining and using the software so much that it's far more convenient to spend a bit of cash and get what I want immediately.  The value adds (auto patching, matchmaking and social network integration, cloud settings etc) are just icing on the cake.

I won't try to justify my previous piracy because I'm pretty unrepentant about it.  But there's a lot of money out there to be made from people who would spend it on your product if only it was convenient to do so and well supported.  It won't end piracy but it'll certainly help.

Re: Valve on Piracy Rates and How Steam Keeps Them Low

*nods* this is why research into 'why people pirate' is imporant to look at when trying to make a buisness case.  While the 'people pirate because they do not want to pay' makes good press, it tends to fall flat as a universal when looking at actual customers that are willing to pay when a convient service is offerred.

This is also why companies that have bothered to break away from the meme and do actual research are laughing all the way to the bank.  Crow, if StarDock was not so niche or higher profile, they would probably be doing pretty well too (and it could be aruged that the succes/survivial they do have could be partly attributed to thier download service and lack of DRM... I know that has made me a returning customer)

 

Re: Valve on Piracy Rates and How Steam Keeps Them Low

Noting that it's highly unlikely someone will revisit this topic, it's still worth mentioning that the big problem is that few people really want to admit their piracy and ergo it's hard to get feedback on how a company might adjust it's approach to lure people away from piracy.

Digital IP is somewhat unique in that it can be propagated ad infinitum so standard loss prevention isn't really possible.  Valve seem to have taken the unique approach of considering what pirates want and trying to deliver it to them, rather than chasing them pointlessly.

Re: Valve on Piracy Rates and How Steam Keeps Them Low

Shows what he knows.  If you don't have intrusive DRM, your company can't possibly make enough money to survive!  Ubisoft said so!

Seriously, though, good for him.  Steam's not perfect but it's one of the best systems out there, and I'd like to see more guys take Newell's approach.

 
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MechaCrashOh, no, I totally agree with you that Iron is being a prick and needs to stop, but isn't the usual GG suggesstion for harassment "just ignore it, grow a thicker skin, don't report it"?05/30/2015 - 9:22am
Conster...and even the more stubborn and annoying ones are downright pleasant when compared to IronPatriot's behavior. His behavior is harassment regardless of whether it's aimed at pro-GG or anti-GG people, and it has to stop.05/30/2015 - 8:55am
ConsterMechaCrash: is this about Goth_Skunk's complaint against IronPatriot? Because while I'm anti-GG and strongly disagree with a lot of the stuff the pro-GG people on here say, most of them disapprove of harassment, even if it's 'in the name of GamerGate'...05/30/2015 - 8:55am
MechaCrashMan, some people are just...so immune to noticing irony, you know? The mind boggles.05/30/2015 - 8:35am
InfophileBut hey, I'm not a mod here. It's up to them05/30/2015 - 7:36am
InfophileThat's really not conducive to a good discussion. It just puts people on the defensive. So yeah, I really think IP should try to hold back on that. I'm not sure a ban is in order unless they show they can't or won't change, though05/30/2015 - 7:36am
InfophileLooking through IP's recent posts, there are some that do add to the discussion. There are also a handful which add nothing and are just jabs or point-scoring. It feels like IP is treating the comments more like a battleground than a discussion, honestly05/30/2015 - 7:34am
MattsworknameAhh, that explains why I wasn't aware. I don't follow, like ,nor care for soccer05/30/2015 - 6:50am
Goth_SkunkThe top dog at FIFA.05/30/2015 - 6:49am
MattsworknameWhose Blatter conster?05/30/2015 - 6:42am
ConsterSpeaking of non-video games for a second, I'm seriously disappointed in people for re-electing Blatter, and disgusted by his speech afterwards.05/30/2015 - 6:32am
ConsterHe's at least 5 times as bad as GS.05/30/2015 - 6:31am
Goth_SkunkEIC of Gameranx apologizes for his recent conduct: http://ow.ly/NDBxn Frankly, I'm surprised this wasn't posted sooner.05/30/2015 - 6:31am
ConsterGS does have a point: IP, on his own, causes at least as much harassment, insulting, and holier-than-thou'ness, as all the pro-GG people on this site combined.05/30/2015 - 6:30am
WonderkarpI am not sure I agree that its Harassment, But I do agree that he doesnt bring anything to the conversation. Its too the point where whenever I see his name, I just Thumbs down and move on. Its all buzz words and accusations and rarely civil05/30/2015 - 6:22am
MattsworknameWell, best of luck on that, but im not holding my breath.05/30/2015 - 5:04am
Goth_SkunkI believe the time to pull the plug was long ago, but kept quiet knowing full well Iron Patriot cannot help themself. There is a mountain of evidence to support my claim. In my opinion, it is harassment, and it needs to stop.05/30/2015 - 4:35am
Goth_SkunkIt's not getting me down. Far from it. Nevertheless, the conduct is unacceptable and has gone far beyond what any patient human being ought to be expected to tolerate.05/30/2015 - 4:34am
MattsworknameDont let him get you down Goth, I just go look at kitten videos for a bit to get my posistive mood back05/30/2015 - 4:27am
Goth_SkunkIt is not conducive to a welcoming, open-minded environment that this site is supposed to be.05/30/2015 - 2:33am
 

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