GamersGate CEO Theo Bergquist wants the world to know that his company is not afraid of digital distribution giant Steam. In an interview with Industry Gamers, Bergquist said that Steam has hit "peak numbers" and that – at this point – it can only "lose market share." The European-centric digital distribution channel saw sales rise by 72 percent during the holiday shopping season.
"To be honest, we’re not afraid of Steam," said Bergquist. "We think they are peaking now while the market is still very hardcore. In fact, we know from the feedback we receive from customers, one of the reasons we have such great growth is because many gamers out there don’t like Steam and see GamersGate as a better alternative."
Of course, it does not hurt that – occasionally – PC gamers can get by release date region locking by buying the European version of some games. A prime example of that was Gothic 4, which was released in Europe first, then North America.
"Once digital sales are superior to physical sales, we believe Steam will have a harder time remaining #1," Bergquist continued. "We don’t have any market breakdown of the overall numbers. Some people say Steam has 50 percent of the market, some say 80 percent, but we don’t know. What we do know is that Steam’s marketshare will shrink in the future and that GamersGate is well positioned as one of the digital distribution platforms that has strong momentum to gain marketshare."
Of course we have no data to ascertain how other digital distribution platforms such as Direct2Drive and Impulse take away from the market share GamersGate hopes to gain.
While Bergquist cautions that "you should never underestimate" the power of traditional retail, he also believes that 2011 will be the tipping point for digital distribution to overtake retail. When you throw proprietary distribution services such as PlayStation Network, Wii Shop Channel, Apple’s App Stores, Android Marketplace, and Xbox Live into the mix, that way of thinking makes sense.
"I think 2011 will be a tipping point for digital downloads in which they should really take off. Digital distribution is no longer a business development project for publishers; it’s an integral part of the sales organization. They look at the greater revenue split they can get from digital as compared to physical, and it’s easy math to decide that they should focus on digital."
Source: Industry Gamers