Jason Holtman, the director of business management at Valve, states that if the sale was harming the IPs then the digital distributor would halt the sale.
Valve is easily the largest digital distributor of video game content through its platform, Steam. In fact, Steam was so successful that other publishers such as Electronic Arts and Ubisoft followed suit and launched their own digital distribution platforms as well.
However, Steam has come under the spotlight from analysts and other sections of the media who claim that the platform’s on-going Summer Sale may have a negative impact on the intellectual properties belonging to certain publishers. With prices being slashed by as much as 75% on some titles one can understand how Valve may be turning a profit but the publishers may not be in the same situation.
However, Valve has come forward and defended their offer claiming that it is not a policy but rather just for the short term. Jason Holtman said, “A promotion is not a policy; a promotion is just a feature to give people more value.”
He continued by explaining that sales figures actually increase during the promotions even when the product’s is on a declining trend, meaning that, in theory, it should work out well for everyone. Holtman also stated that if the promotion was hurting a certain party they would not go ahead with it.
He said, “We’re actually seeing both of them growing. We don’t see one cannibalising the other. If we did, we wouldn’t do it.”
The director of business management also believed that the core gamers who wanted to buy the product had already done so and the lower prices would bring in new gamers as the barrier to entry was lower.
Holtman explained, “People aren’t making a decision thinking ‘I’m always going to wait for perfect pricing.’ There are time elements to it, there are fan elements to it, there are value elements to it. People sometimes like paying the full amount on the first day because they want to play it now and they want to be a fan.”
The digital distribution medium is still fairly new, in the sense that there are many elements to it that are still evolving and plenty of pieces are in motion. One example is the European Union law which states that gamers have the right to resell any digital media they have purchased via a digital distribution platform.
That is just one of many aspects of the business that are coming to the fore front and one can expect the next few years as being crucial in cementing a standardised framework for how the medium is used in the future and what rights both the distributors and the consumers have over a particular IP.