Valve: Steam Sales Don’t Cheapen IP

Valve: Steam Sales Don’t Cheapen IP

You may remember a while back that David DeMartini, the man in charge of EA’s Origin service, took a light pot shot at Valve and its Steam sales? According to Demartini, Steam sales cheapened video game IP. Now Jason Holtman, business development chief at Valve, has countered.

“We don’t see any of that. We see people buying a lot and enjoying it and playing a lot,” he said, talking to Eurogamer.

“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.

“We do it with our own games. If we thought having a 75 per cent sale on Portal 2 would cheapen Portal 2, we wouldn’t do it. We know there are all kinds of ways customers consume things, get value, come back, build franchises. We think lots of those things strengthen it.”

Really, DeMartini’s pot shot was just that — a pot shot. I don’t necessarily think sales cheapen an IP — there is, of course, a minority of people that simply wait for sales to buy anything, but that’s not the market you should be selling to when you launch a new IP anyway.


Valve counters EA’s Steam sales “cheapen intellectual property” accusation [Eurogamer]


  • Oh no! My game is cheaper and more accessible which means people who haven’t already invested in it are more likely to buy it and play it! We can’t have that!

    • You do know Gabe is probably the biggest, richest troll on the internet don’t you? When you build that bridge and try and get over the lack of a summer sale Gabe will be under that bridge, waiting impatiently.

  • You know what really cheapens an IP? Making it so you can only play it via Origin and then going about how well Origin is doing. Oh plus setting said games price higher for Australians.

    • Yeah, Steam doesn’t do that last one at all >.>
      Yes, I know it’s the publisher’s fault not steam’s, but couldn’t they just put their foot down and say “No”? They’re already quite huge, I don’t think it would hurt them that much.

      • Publisher: “We want to charge Australia more for our games than what we do in the US.”
        Steam: “No.”
        Publisher: “Okay then.”

        Kotaku: In breaking news today, Publisher is the newest publisher to pull Steam support after Steam wouldn’t let them sell their own products are their own prices. Now here’s a reddit article about a guy who kinda looks like Mario.

  • First of all I a university student and my income is petty and that’s being generous. Sales open up games for me I couldn’t afford otherwise. Things like Steam sales and OGS are great for people like me, it means I can buy games I wouldn’t be able to buy otherwise. I see both sides of this, but after a certain amount of time most games sales will slow (ARMA 2 being the exception) and a sale can pick these up again. Sales is one way to keep these games moving and a way for more people like me to be able to experience them. In this regard it’s not so much reducing the value of the IP but extending the product to a new market. Once I’m finished at uni I’m sure sales won’t be of much concern for me but at the moment they can be the deciding decision on whether I purchase a game or not. Even some games I really want I have to pass on purely because I can’t justify the price on my income. On a completely different note if we’re talking IP in relation to Australian prices I happy for something to damage that ‘IP’. I find it appalling the insane prices we pay not only for retail purchase but also the vast majority of digital purchases. The price of digital games through XBLA, PSN, eShop, Steam are generally priced quite atrociously for Australians. So sales are sometimes the only time these products are set at reasonable prices. I think this is one advantage that iOS and Android devices are thriving because of, they generally offer fun experiences at a much lesser cost with some exceptions to that rule.

    TL:DR? Basically sales are important to keep titles moving when their sales have slumped, I think it does somewhat damage IP but not to a great extent and definitely not to a level that justifies an assault on the practice.

    PS I’ve literally just got out of bed and I have a really bad man flu (Ok, maybe it is just a slight cold) so please forgive me if I was repetitive, made little sense and had bad grammar.

  • I can go into EB today and buy Battlefield Bad Company 2 or Bulletstorm – both of them EA games – for something like $25. That’s about a 75% discount off the original price. So how is that not cheapening EA’s IP just as much as 75% off on Steam or Origin would?

  • Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t Origin an alternative to Steam? And aren’t there EA games on Steam?

    I don’t understand… my head…

        • Yes, but they’re old games. Are any new games being released from EA on Steam? Looks like Crysis 2 is only available on Origin, and I haven’t heard any news saying the new SimCity game will be on Steam; happy to be proved wrong though.

          • Crysis 2 is on Steam again. It was pulled for a while.
            Both Valve and EA said it WASN’T part of a digital-distro Origin vs Steam bitchfight, and rather an issue with ‘how the game handles the delivery of DLC’.

            ME3 and BF3… still not on steam though. Unlikely to ever be.

  • Again, I feel that the Journalists covering this story are approaching it incorrectly.

    Demartini has a valid point that Valve’s massive sales do indeed harm some types of games. A gamers get more and more use to these massive bi-annual sale events that Valve runs the less that they will be willing to pay full price for the newly released titles. It’ll come to a point that people will just simply be like “It looks good, but I’ll get it when its on the steam summer sale”.

    This does cheapen the IP of the game because rather than grabbing a game because it looks inventive, creative or down right awesome, consumers will simply be buying it because it was 75% of on the next big steam sale.

    • The same can be said of pretty much any product that is subject to sales.

      There will always be people who believe that the product isn’t worth the price. During a sale, the price might fall into what they consider acceptable and then they buy it.

      Knowing that there will be a massive sale where the product has a good chance of being remarkably cheap does lessen the chances of someone paying full price, if they were already hesitant about paying full price. It also means that a great number of people will consider buying the product, even if they didn’t originally plan to, because the cost had been lowered to the point where they thought it was worthwhile.

      Trying to price something is a very tricky business.

      • The issue with say, a normal random sale and the Steam Sales is that the Steam Sales generally happen around the same time every year. Resulting in gamers getting use to when they are happening and preparing for them.

        • Because the terms ‘end of financial year sale’ and ‘boxing day sales’ and the like are terms I just made up then…. It happens everywhere. Your job when trying to sell a product is to create something that people are willing to pay the price you set for, if people are indeed saying ‘it looks okay, but I’ll wait for the summer sale,’ then it’s hardly the consumers fault the product didn’t appeal to them enough to pay RRP, or perhaps they just felt RRP is too high for said product. I just.. it’s so basic, it’s the job of the business to price things so that the customer is happy to pay RRP (even knowing the price will drop), if they’re not then that is not the fault of the customer.

          Get me here, I realise your point is some (a small number I think) would have payed more if they didn’t expect the game to go on sale at a certain time, I grant that, but that’s not something you can level at the customer or Valve as some kind of meta problem for those parties to change, other than quite literally cheapening franchises for a week, it does nothing of the sort. It’s business, EA need to convince customers to buy their product at as high a price as they can, not complain when people can get the product cheaper.

      • I’d be interesting to see if Kingdoms of Amulamamabamabingbong goes on sale during a Steam sale, and if so, how many copies it sells.

        If there’s great enough numbers, you could potentially make an argument that the culture of waiting for massive sales can sink new IP.

  • Sales help to fill out multilayer servers which are not full which can be an issue if your title isn’t AAA or have licensed Katy Perry bewbs for the front of the box.. EA man be trollin

  • I’d like to meet one gamer who thinks any game is actually better because it was more expensive. I can’t find any, even rabid Blizzard fans look for the cheapest price they can and we all know Blizzard like to keep prices high.

    • Oh man, I’d love to watch that debate.

      “I paid $69 for Deux Ex Human Revolution but you bought it in a steam sale for $8. Mathematically that means I had 8.6x as much fun as you did. LOSER.”

Show more comments

Log in to comment on this story!