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gabe newell -

The restrictions imposed by DRM systems may be encouraging people to play pirate games, according to Gabe Newell, co-founder of Valve.

Newell believes that gamers play pirate software because they offer a better experience than legitimate products.

"In general, we think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy," said Newell, speaking to The Cambridge Student Online. "Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem.

"For example, if a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 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.

"Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customers use or by creating uncertainty."

Piracy is effectively "a non-issue" for Valve, added Newell, because the company has focused on providing a better service for its users.

"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."

In the same interview, Newell was asked whether he felt it was a mistake to release Half-Life sequels in episodic form. "Not yet," he replied.

The Valve chief added that he had didn't know when Half-Life 3 would be released.

VideoGamer.com Analysis

Newell's logic seems bang on the money, and the success of Steam speaks for itself.

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Woffls's Avatar

Woffls@ draytone

I don't normally like doing anything through more applications than I need to, but Steam is more like a library than a client in my eyes. And somehow they managed to plonk a store-front right next to it!

I bought Mass Effect for £2.50 the other day on Steam. I have already played it about 8 times on Xbox 360, and have the Collector's Edition, and obviously won't have my character to transfer over, but I still bought it.

Why? Because it was easy, and I like Mass Effect enough to think that one day I might play it on some super bad ass PC without texture pop-in.
Posted 11:33 on 28 November 2011
draytone's Avatar


I was pretty critical of Steam when it first came out, I couldn't believe I had to go through some client to load up TFC or DOD... how wrong I was.
Posted 11:26 on 28 November 2011
Woffls's Avatar


I would be happy if Gabe Newel ruled the world of video games and everyone had to use Steam. Looking back to 2004, the extent to which they were ahead of the curve is unbelievable. Everyone is still playing catchup.
Posted 11:12 on 28 November 2011

Game Stats

Release Date: 01/01/2007
Developer: Valve
Publisher: Electronic Arts
Genre: First Person Shooter
Rating: TBC
Site Rank: 12,845 11
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