So Apparently No One Cares About Valve’s Conflict-of-Interest

So Apparently No One Cares About Valve’s Conflict-of-Interest

We’ve heard one developer say they didn’t feel exploited by Valve, despite Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford’s assertion that that’s exactly what Steam does. Today, Ars Technica lets us hear from a few more.

Indie devs 2D Boy, Dylan Fitterer, Amanita Design and small but not indie dev Telltale Games all lent their voices to the “Valve’s not so bad/Steam is awesome” tune when Ars asked if anybody was feeling exploited.

For some developers, Steam is actually quite the opposite of exploitation:

Ron Carmel, 2D Boy
“…Valve offers the most developer-friendly terms for digital distribution in the industry. Do you know the saying ‘there’s nothing better than a good king and nothing worse than a bad one’? I think it applies here, and Steam has clearly been a good king so far.”

So, really, Pitchford — what’s got you on edge? Is your Borderlands promotional slot not high enough on Steam’s marquee queue?

Game devs speak out on Valve, Steam and conflict of interest [Ars Technica]


  • Pitchford, never mentioned that steam wasn’t a friendly environment for indie developers, in fact he acknowledged that Steam is useful for such.

    What he meant was that ultimately Valve is in control of Steam, and Steam will reflect Valve. Having Steam or something like it as an independent entity will serve indies a better purpose on top of what they already have.

    • Agreed entirely. I think people blew the entire thing out of proportion. Randy is right, Valve DOES have a conflict of interest. The fact of the matter is that Valve games will always dominate the Steam marketplace, for instance a developer looking to release on the same day as a Team Fortress 2 or, God help them, a new game launch (but what are the odds of that? One in three hundred and sixty-five or some multiple thereof?) will be horribly overshadowed in terms of advertising and exposure. What appears in the Steam updates pop-up before anything else? Valve games. This isn’t any different to launching through the PSN or XBLA, though – pity any poor soul who would dare try and launch in the same week as ODST.

      That being said, with flash banners to my left, right, above and below, I don’t think Borderlands has to worry about any lack of exposure

  • Indie developers DO have something like steam, the entire internet….
    I think Valve are very even handed with their promotion of other developers games, Imagine a “games for steam” style license that had to be purchased/maintained.

  • currently value is one of the few companies that sees where game dev especially on the pc needs to go. They always say you been to provide service not just a product and they is key to keeping people to come back and buy your product.

    I am personally happy for steam to be king.

  • Isn’t that the irony of the situation?

    Steam has become what it is due partially to Valve as a developer having so many issues with its own distribution company, sierra.

    If Steam was just another online distribution network, it probably would have evolved towards a for profit, safe bets only model. The kind of model where AAA games have all the promotion and small indie games never make the front page, if they get allowed in at all.

    Its only the experience of being a developer that has allowed Valve to make steam distribution a better proposition for the smaller developer.

  • Thats funny, L4D2 is coming out soon and it’s not the only game I’ve seen on the Steam front page!

    Get over it!

    I think Randy just needs a muzzle to stop himself from spouting shit out, without giving it a little thought first. 😛

  • Randy your stupid comments and views are really getting annoying.

    You just don’t stop with your random crap. Over the last month gamers have been subjected to you bad mouthing and complaining about a lot of great and respectable companies, such as ID & Valve.

    Borderlands has gone so far to your head. I can’t wait till ID’s Rage comes out and bends your precious borderlands over for what its worth. You will eat your words calling ID dumb.

    ID create you copy

    • ID’s Rage?

      Is this the same Rage that is being dumbed-down on the PC to accomodate consoles?
      Well I guess they are bending someone over, don’t know if it’s Gearbox though…

  • I’d be more concerned about Microsoft and Sony than Valve. Microsoft Points anyone? 🙁

    Steam has exposed me to a larger variety of both indie and big publisher titles over the past year than the previous 10 years combined, and my purchases reflect that. I’ve found their promotions to be very balanced – take their pending release of L4D2, it’s no more prominent than Borderlands.

    As others have said, Steam wouldn’t be what it is today without having started with Valve games. I started out skeptical of digital distribution, however Valve has won my support and trust.

    This is just a beat up, as this is more a case of a potential conflict of interest. It would really only be of any consequence if Steam totally dominated the digital distribution market leaving indies and publishers with no alternatives if Valve suddenly started shafting them.

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