Valve business development chief Jason Holtman has hit back at the claims made by EA's David DeMartini last month that Steam sales - which can often feature games with 75% off of their RRP - "devalue intellectual property" and hurt day one sales
"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," he went on. "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.
"If this were all about a cheapening and somehow lessening the money out there or somehow customers don't want to pay any more, they think everything should be like a used car lot - sticker price is not the real price - you'd feel that and you'd get real reinforcement of that. We don't see any of that. We see people buying a lot and enjoying it and playing a lot.
"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."
DeMartini is not the only one who's criticised the super sales, though, GOG.com got involved a month or two ago too, suggesting that huge discounts hurt brands and trainer consumers to make bad purchases.
But Holtman points towards the data Steam has retrieved from its huge 40 million + install base, saying that Valve were locked into a cycle, if day one sales were dropping and brand power being reduced by discounts, they wouldn't do it themselves, and neither would their partners.
"If we were somehow on a cycle where you could see it, you wouldn't see us repeating it," he said. "We wouldn't repeat it with our own games. We wouldn't repeat it with partner games. Partners wouldn't want to repeat it.
"Actually everything we see is to the contrary. It's funny, when you look at the data, things come out and they make you scratch your head for a little bit, and then you're like, that kind of makes sense.
"For instance, if all that were true, nobody would ever pre-purchase a game ever on Steam, ever again. You just wouldn't. You would in the back of your mind be like, okay, in six months to a year, maybe it'll be 50 per cent off on a day or a weekend or during one of our seasonal promotions. Probably true. But our pre-orders are bigger than they used to be. Tonnes of people, right? And our day one sales are bigger than they used to be. Our first week, second week, third week, all those are bigger.
"That points out that what's happened with those sales is, you've probably caught somebody and introduced them to a game when they haven't had it, and they've played it, and the next time the franchise comes out or the next move from that publisher, the next move from the partner, they've just become more avid gamers." [EG]