Speaking this week at a forum on game industry law, Valve's Jason Holtman said the company views pirates as "underserved customers" and used a win-win anecdote about Russia showing how they deal with them.
According to GameDaily, Holtman said all Valve games are released simultaneously in Russia, a market rife with game piracy. The reason: "Because Russians are reading magazines and watching television -- they say 'Man, I want to play that game so bad,' but the publishers respond 'you can play that game in six months ... maybe.' "
The narrow, Western-dominated view of markets leaves "tons of undiscovered customers," that are just as willing to buy games legitimately as they are to download pirated copies. They just want to play the title, he reasoned, not necessarily stick it to the man or participate in a criminal enterprise.
"When you think about it that way, you think, 'Oh my gosh, I can do some interesting things and make some interesting money off of it,"Holtman said.
Holtman also poked holes in industry groupthink around retail vs. online sales, and charging for downloadable content. It's some fresh, customer-oriented thinking.