Valve doesn't care about Steamworks boycotts

Written by Joe Martin

November 26, 2009 // 4:50 p.m.

Tags: #boycott #modern-warfare-2 #steam #steam-sales #steamworks #valve #valve-doesnt-care-about-steamworks-boycotts

Valve has shrugged off the recently announced boycotts that other digital distributors have placed on games using Valve's Steamworks combined community and DRM solution, claiming that it's the boycotters who are missing out.

The Steamworks boycott itself was announced a few weeks ago by digital distribution networks Direct2Drive, Impulse and GamersGate. The complaints stem from the fact that Steamworks games such as Left 4 Dead 2 and Modern Warfare 2 require a Steam installation and log-in even if they are not purchased from Steam.

While Direct2Drive and Co. have labelled Steamworks a trojan horse though, Valve has said that it's the boycotters that missing out and pointed out that Steamworks was designed based on consumer and developer feedback and has been incredibly popular.

"To our minds, we think that if you're making a good game and it's got the services a customer wants it should get out in as many channels as possible. If you have a good portal and you're good at collecting money from folks, and attracting them, there's no reason why you shouldn't be," Valve's Jason Holtman told GI.biz.

"We try to make those services that developers and our customers want. Whether another distributor wants to carry them or not, we don't have any say in the matter, that's between Activision and other online distributors," he continued.

"The interesting thing is those games that have Steamworks features in them are really made to be the things customers want. Developers are choosing the features that make the game better. There's no service where there are features you have to have, developers are choosing between those."

Holtman said that while there were plenty of Steamworks games that came out last year there's set to be even more in 2010. It probably helps that Steamworks is free for developers to take advantage of and lets them tie into the largest digital distribution network online.

Of course, the fact that other distributors are choosing not to sell titles like Modern Warfare 2 is undoubtedly working in Valve's favour too and while Valve rarely release Steam sales data, Holtman said Modern Warfare 2 had sold well on Steam. Very well.

"I'm trying to think of a way to put this so you can grasp onto something about the size of it... Steam sales actually scale with the game. So if a game sells better on all channels and it's a blockbuster, it's going to move an awful lot of units on Steam," he revealed.

"As third-party triple-A titles go, it's by and large one of our greatest sellers right now. It's doing very, very well. If you look at the player numbers, you can see there's a lot of people enjoying it - not just playing it - that are constantly enjoying it now. Hats off to Infinity Ward, because they made something that people really want to play," he concluded.

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