Valve has responded to the comments made by David DeMartini, EA's Senior Vice President of Global Ecommerce, concerning the effect large scale sales have on developers and publishers. DeMartini said that Steam sales "cheapen intellectual property."
The Origin head vowed not to emulate Steam's gargantuan sales and said "The game makers work incredibly hard to make this intellectual property, and we're not trying to be Target. We're trying to be Nordstrom."
In an interview with Eurogamer, Valve's business development chief Jason Holtman rebutted the accusation. "Ask our partners," he said. "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."
"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."
In the infamous interview with GamesIndustry Interational, DeMartini ruminated that since gamers know Steam has huge discounts waiting in the wings that they refrain from buying titles on the first day. With zero real data, DeMartini stated that this has a negative impact on publishers and game creators.
Based on Valve's data, which includes user information for over 40 million people, DeMartini's theory is incorrect.
"If we were somehow on a cycle where you could see it, you wouldn't see us repeating it," Holtman explained. "We wouldn't repeat it with our own games. We wouldn't repeat it with partner games. Partners wouldn't want to repeat it."
He went on to discuss how pre-order numbers are larger than ever before, along with day one, first week, second week, and third week sales.
"If you're a fan of a game or a property, and you want it when it comes out, you want it," he said. "It's very valuable to you because you're a fan. You want to play it then, just like you want to see your favourite rock back when they come around. If you want to wait and get a discount later or find a sale or promotion, that's also super valuable for you. But all of those pieces, what they're adding up to is, more people are playing games, more people are engaged and they're making choices all along that spectrum of, yeah, I want that game when it comes out and, oh, I used to buy that game and now I'll buy it a year later. That's fine too."
With the Steam Summer Sale in full swing, now is the time to revisit those titles you haven't had the time – or money – to purchase.