Valve managing director Gabe Newell said in a recent interview that piracy is a "non-issue" for the company's Steam digital distribution platform. In an interview with the Cambridge Student, Newell said that there is a fundamental misconception that piracy is motivated by high prices. Newell repeated what he has been saying a lot this year: Valve sees the piracy problem as a service problem.
"For example, 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 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate's service is more valuable," he said.
Newell went on to say that some DRM solutions implemented by other companies (EA, Ubisoft, and Capcom – as examples) tend to restrict their consumers and "create uncertainty." This can harm the consumer's overall experience, according to Newell. In other words, some people may turn to piracy out of frustration.
"Our goal is to create greater service value than pirates, and this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company. For example, prior to entering the Russian market, we were told that Russia was a waste of time because everyone would pirate our products. Russia is now about to become our largest market in Europe."