Gabe Newell Has Some Surprising Views About Piracy

You know, it shouldn’t be surprising when a person as savvy as Gabe Newell talks sense about piracy, but given the fact that we’re used to a streaming pile of self righteous bile on the topic, it does raise a few eyebrows when someone thinks outside the box.

Discussing markets where piracy is most rampant, like Russia, Gabe Newell claimed that consumers there just want to play the product and, in most cases, simply don’t want to wait for it.

“Russia now outside of Germany is our largest continental European market, the people who are telling you that Russians pirate everything are the people who wait six months to localise their product into Russian,” claimed Gabe, speaking at the North to Innovation conference in Seattle.

“The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It’s by giving those people a service that’s better than what they’re receiving from the pirates.”

In their rush to aggressively protect their IP, publishers tend to forget they are punishing the consumers that keep them in business. It’s refreshing that where most see an enemy to be brutally vanquished, Gabe Newell sees opportunity.

Valve: Piracy Is More About Convenience Than Price [Gamasutra]


      • Yeah trust me mate I’ve done research, Valve/Steam can’t do a single thing about regional pricing for a HUGE amount of reasons.

          • You think its sooo easy dont you?

            There is a hand full of publishers in this world… If Steam says FU to one of them, it has the potential to wipe 100’s of games from Steams lists… Steam stood its ground in the early days, but to get the content they wanted to get to where they are there was little choice in the matter.

            Compare Steam to any other gaming service you want for price… Fact of the matter is Steam is #1 and is miles infront of the next contender (Which i think would be D2D if anyone, who only sell in US for most of their games anyway…)

            The publishers that hold Steam to the throat is (From memory)
            EA Games

            Can you think of how many games STeam will have if they said FU to these guys?

          • You make some good points there (and your other posts here), but I choose to still be cranky about this. 🙂

          • Dont think I’m not cranky about it…

            I just hope you chose to be cranky at the right company 😛

            I HIGHLY recommend anyone who enjoys some Steam here and there attempt to get your accounts unlocked…

            Steam don’t really care as they get money anyway 😛

            Gabe just wants the gaming world to be at 1 😀

          • This is barely on topic, but can you buy Battlefield 3 from, say, OZgameshop, and activate it on Origin?

          • Im pretty sure you can… But im not able to say for sure… I know that alot of Steam games can be activated on Origin… (thats where i got my Origin collection from 🙂 )

            I would say its a safe bet… But if you have a recent boxxed EA game thats the best way to test it 🙂

          • EA and Activision I get – but Bethesda??? What’s that like 10 games? (that’s probably including those really bad Star Trek games too) Why do they have any sort of market power!?

          • Yeah GMG has that ability.

            But guess what last i checked most of the publisher’s that region price aren’t selling through GMG

            EA- have a few titles with BF3 being limited to the UK only

            Bethesda(zenimax) who region price have no games on there.

            Neither do THQ.

            2K have a few.

            And Activision has none.

            greenmangaming does have regional issues, there are some games which they only sell to the US or the UK depending on publisher rules.

            Steam can’t tell them to fuck off because they risk loosing those games completely from the service and i’m sure that long term the sales they get from australia are not worth the risk of losing the ability to sell the game at all.

            Or they run the risk of giving a competitor market advantage over them because they no longer are the place CoD goes to get activated. Or because another company decides they want to take EA’s route and make their own DD

      • Not even GoG was able to stand its ground against the Witcher when it got released. They had to sell it at a loss to keep their One Price World Wide policy…

        The only way they found around it was remove Regional IP tracking.

        Steam may be a HUGE player… BUT, without the content its not able to be huge…

        This has been shown with Origin… ALOT of users have gone else where to buy BF3 and Steam has been left in the dust… (They can say its a dispute between the two as long as they wont but Valve is starting to crack under the pressure of the publishers…)

        The fact is EVERY Valve branded game is 1 price…. Meaning Valve is not at fault for the regional pricing…

      • If Valve were to sell things on Steam at far lower prices that Australian outlets like EB, Game & JB HIFI, they’d get hit by all of them whining about being undercut, fair trading blah blah blah, it’d be more trouble than it’s worth. It’s not that they couldn’t afford it sales-wise, it’s that they probably don’t want to put the time and money into fighting another legal battle.

    • Nothing to do with him it’s the content providers (ie the studios) doing that.

      Stop people paying $100 per game in the retail shops then we will see a difference.

      • Though ironically that is the reason that the publisher’s price that way.

        The Retailer’s complain it’s unfair that Steam can have such awesome price differences and undercut them by usually 50% because they don’t have to worry about anything internal to Australia.

        Problem really comes though, when they do all this bitching and then don’t stock the game anyways.

  • yup – the one reason i dont pirate anymore is because steam is just too damn convenient!

    + sales are the win.

  • Wow… someone in the industry that makes absolute sense.

    I agree with what he said, the thing is that the only thing DRM does is shaft legitimate PC users.

      • He likely meant “A God” not “The Christian God”

        More along the lines of Zeus hurling lightning bolts of justice at the evils in gaming.

        • i don’t even see christians piping up to defend this kind of talk anymore, i think they have been beaten into the ground a bit too hard haha

  • If it were simply a matter of releasing the Western version in Russia, wouldn’t everyone be doing that? Then they can follow with a localised version months later.

    I would have to say, however, that it’s very easy to take this stance when you have a digital distribution channel that is itself a form of DRM.

    If EA, for example, had that system, I’m sure they’d release games quicker than the boxed version. Of course, that’s what they’re trying to develop now, as are a lot of other major distribution companies.

    I think these discussions get very confused due to the fact that Valve are both a publisher and have distribution software.

  • This makes so much sense. It’s like this Anime I downloaded once, and bought the DVDs. The official DVDs had COMPLETELY non-sense English sub-titles. The FanSubs had EXCELLENT translations with optional extra subtitles that explained cultural and historical references. In this case the pirates provided the superior product.

  • i remember reading this exact thing a few years ago, the quote is almost exact.

    What he says is still 100% true though. seriously, besides myself who else sail’s the high seas for games that havent been released over here yet have been released in either the US or EU

    • i thought this article sounded familiar. Plus the Russians also get games at a fraction of the cost we do, and a lot of the online distributors such as steam and EA, try and make it so we cant buy their keys because of that. i.e. i saw BF3 pc selling for $23 AUD for a russian key, but EA are removing all language packs except russian to stop us buying that version

  • Does this mean that Russians are generally OK with non-localised games? How long does that process take? I imagine that in games with a lot of voice acting this’d be particularly problematic.

    In this case, why not just release the non-localised version in line with other regions, and then provide a localisation patch when the job is finally done?

    • That’s the reason they pirate though.

      Why would you want to buy a game that might have a localization patch sometime in the near future. When the Warez scene will probably do it faster, and most likely better.

      They pirate because they feel they are getting the raw end of the stick because they didn’t bother localising the game for them at release.

      It’s the same logic in those who want to pirate games like assassin’s creed and Driver because they have online startup checks or worse a constant connection for a game that has a history of Singleplayer choice like D3 and not everybody live’s somewhere where that is a reasonable option

  • “In their rush to aggressively protect their IP, publishers tend to forget they are punishing the consumers that keep them in business.”

    what i wanna know is, do they just not read consumer feedback? or do they just ignore the THOUSANDS of complaints about bulls*** DRM and the trouble it causes. I don’t see how they can forget

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