Valve's Gabe Newell Says Piracy Is a Service Problem

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Qitz:

"We think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem," he said. "If a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate's service is more valuable."

A-Fucking-Men.

Second. Someone should probably tell Ubisoft this.

What's that Ubisoft? You release a shitty, poorly optimized PC port MONTHS after the original game, saddle it with insane DRM, insult your PC customers, and wonder why your PC games don't sell well and get pirated?

Gee, I fucking wonder why.

Well done Gabe. You just earned my respect as one of the few people to speak the truth in an industry filled with gluttons and buffoons. There's a reason why I won't play games with always-on drm or online passes (new or used).

EvilPicnic:

Fascinating.

A shame he's lying. It's fascinating, the way guys like Newell and Notch can be fellated for borderline anything they say, but it doesn't make his XBox restrictions line any more true.

Now if only they'd take a firm stance against DRM... Oh wait, GOG is now going to sell new releases too, nevermind.

Zachary Amaranth:

EvilPicnic:

Fascinating.

A shame he's lying. It's fascinating, the way guys like Newell and Notch can be fellated for borderline anything they say, but it doesn't make his XBox restrictions line any more true.

Care to elsborate?

Anyway, I love Steam.
I've never before bought as many games as I do now, and I can thank Steam for that.

... Don't toy with me Gabe...The Half Life 2 series are...well near perfection...No, they really are perfect. Portal Perfect :3

I recognize myself in this. If I am going to pirate a game I am at risk of getting a virus when using the crack, spyware when entering the site to download and I risk losing internet privileges for a month on my first warning for it.

I can purchase my games from Amazon.co.uk and I get awesome prices, free shipping and the games will be here in a week.

I can get my games from Steam and I will pay almost twice what I pay on Amazon, but most games will be downloaded within 3 hours since I get 10mb/s on a good day. I also don't need to bother with discs or registering product codes. It's convenient, but not my cheapest option, yet I pick that option all the time.

The G-man troll face was well-chosen for this article.

Finally a man with common sense. The truth is scary for everyone else, it would be this sort of honesty that would damage Origin, Ubisoft and a lot of others accusing piracy of being the problem when in reality it appears to be a symptom of a failing system.

Dear Steam. Fix your gosh-darned Australian Pricing. Please.

Yopaz:
I recognize myself in this. If I am going to pirate a game I am at risk of getting a virus when using the crack, spyware when entering the site to download and I risk losing internet privileges for a month on my first warning for it.

I can purchase my games from Amazon.co.uk and I get awesome prices, free shipping and the games will be here in a week.

I can get my games from Steam and I will pay almost twice what I pay on Amazon, but most games will be downloaded within 3 hours since I get 10mb/s on a good day. I also don't need to bother with discs or registering product codes. It's convenient, but not my cheapest option, yet I pick that option all the time.

dunno about twice sure iv seen certain new titles 5 or 10 quid more than they are on amazon, but accross the board its fairly even, and with sales to take into account (which any1 sensible waits for) it does end up cost effective.

(which when added to the massive savings i get by not being a console user makes me very happy.)

bahumat42:

Yopaz:
I recognize myself in this. If I am going to pirate a game I am at risk of getting a virus when using the crack, spyware when entering the site to download and I risk losing internet privileges for a month on my first warning for it.

I can purchase my games from Amazon.co.uk and I get awesome prices, free shipping and the games will be here in a week.

I can get my games from Steam and I will pay almost twice what I pay on Amazon, but most games will be downloaded within 3 hours since I get 10mb/s on a good day. I also don't need to bother with discs or registering product codes. It's convenient, but not my cheapest option, yet I pick that option all the time.

dunno about twice sure iv seen certain new titles 5 or 10 quid more than they are on amazon, but accross the board its fairly even, and with sales to take into account (which any1 sensible waits for) it does end up cost effective.

(which when added to the massive savings i get by not being a console user makes me very happy.)

I think you need to read my post again. I said Steam cost more, but would let me get the game within a few hours, while Amazon offered cheaper games. Also because I import from England I don't have to pay VAT so that reduces the price with 20%.
Cheaper, but I prefer not dealing with discs, I know Amazon offers digital copies, but I like my games gathered in a Steam library.

Did I just read a news article from 2007, because none of this is new?

Yopaz:

bahumat42:

Yopaz:
I recognize myself in this. If I am going to pirate a game I am at risk of getting a virus when using the crack, spyware when entering the site to download and I risk losing internet privileges for a month on my first warning for it.

I can purchase my games from Amazon.co.uk and I get awesome prices, free shipping and the games will be here in a week.

I can get my games from Steam and I will pay almost twice what I pay on Amazon, but most games will be downloaded within 3 hours since I get 10mb/s on a good day. I also don't need to bother with discs or registering product codes. It's convenient, but not my cheapest option, yet I pick that option all the time.

dunno about twice sure iv seen certain new titles 5 or 10 quid more than they are on amazon, but accross the board its fairly even, and with sales to take into account (which any1 sensible waits for) it does end up cost effective.

(which when added to the massive savings i get by not being a console user makes me very happy.)

I think you need to read my post again. I said Steam cost more, but would let me get the game within a few hours, while Amazon offered cheaper games. Also because I import from England I don't have to pay VAT so that reduces the price with 20%.
Cheaper, but I prefer not dealing with discs, I know Amazon offers digital copies, but I like my games gathered in a Steam library.

Sorry for assuming you were from the uk
my heads not screwed on right today i swear.

bahumat42:

Yopaz:

bahumat42:

dunno about twice sure iv seen certain new titles 5 or 10 quid more than they are on amazon, but accross the board its fairly even, and with sales to take into account (which any1 sensible waits for) it does end up cost effective.

(which when added to the massive savings i get by not being a console user makes me very happy.)

I think you need to read my post again. I said Steam cost more, but would let me get the game within a few hours, while Amazon offered cheaper games. Also because I import from England I don't have to pay VAT so that reduces the price with 20%.
Cheaper, but I prefer not dealing with discs, I know Amazon offers digital copies, but I like my games gathered in a Steam library.

Sorry for assuming you were from the uk
my heads not screwed on right today i swear.

Even with VAT games are often really cheap on Amazon compared to Steam, though I must admit I don't know how the prices on Steam are if you're from the UK. However take Batman Arkham City, on Steam it costs 50 euro or 42 quid, on Amazon it costs 25 quid, though with the sweet pre-order deal I only had to pay 40 (34) for it.

I agree that it's mostly a service issue that drives people to piracy- but I disagree that it's not really a price issue.

Games are expensive, people don't want to pay for them. Thankfully, Steam also addresses that issue with its many generous sales.

I love the way that everyone is anticipating Half Life 3/Episode 3 SO much now that even NO news of it is actually news.

What baffles me is the number of developers and publishers who can't seem to figure this out already. It's been a while since people first started drawing this conclusion, and yet still.

It's like an amusement park where the paying customers are forced to undergo body scans and wear GPS trackers because some people thought it'd be fun to just crawl over the fence, when instead they could just encourage people to pay for entry and make the fence-crawlers feel like they're missing out on something. Actually, the more I think of that analogy, the weirder it gets.

There's no need t convince me anymore Gabe, you're already my hero.

Now to play games. TO STEAM!

goddammit gabe. if i die before half life 3 is out, i will haunt your ass.

I came here for the Half Life 3 news! I... I think I just got trolled.
As long as I'm here, I think that Gabe has the right approach to Piracy. People are never, ever going to stop pirating games, no matter what measures a company takes. There are tens of thousands of people working to crack the DRM as soon as a new game comes out, and the more Draconian DRM tactics lead to players resenting the company (see Ubisoft for a perfect example).
Providing incentive to purchase the game legally is a great solution, and it shows why Valve is one of the best game companies out there.

Yeah. Sure. Nice speech...but where is action, dear Gabe? IT's not like hell lot of games on Steam have arbitrary region-locks, release dates tied to single time-zone and messed up cross-currency pricing.
Oh but of course. You will say "But it's the publishers forcing all those bad things on us", but what stops You from negotiating with them? Why not at least try to convince them, rather than just talking about stuff in interviews?
Guys from GOG somehow managed to convince some copyright holders and publishers to let them release games DRM free, for sake of improving the "service" part of game industry. Waiting for Valve step now.

As long as I have to pay 30% more for game on Steam than I would pay at a brick and mortar shop near me, with some of games showing up as "Unavailable in my region" despite being sold in said b&m shop, and have to wait several hours to install a game I have a hard copy of because Steam release date is late evening my time I remain unimpressed.

Greg Tito:
Valve's Gabe Newell Says Piracy Is a Service Problem

image

In a wide-ranging interview, Gabe Newell dishes about Steam, piracy and Half-Life 3.

The CEO and cofounder of Valve is never short on opinions. As the creator of some of the most beloved games titles (Team Fortress 2, Portal, Half-Life) and owner of the most pervasive online gaming portal for the PC platform, Gabe Newell has earned the right to express them. In an interview for the University of Cambridge's school newspaper, Newell said that the way to end piracy is to provide a service that's more complete than cracked software, and that restrictive DRM only encourages more piracy.

"We think there is a fundamental misconception about piracy. Piracy is almost always a service problem and not a pricing problem," he said. "If a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24 x 7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country 3 months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate's service is more valuable."

The proof is in the proverbial pudding. "Prior to entering the Russian market, we were told that Russia was a waste of time because everyone would pirate our products. Russia is now about to become [Steam's] largest market in Europe," Newell said.

The purpose of Steam is to provide as much value not only to the customer but also to other game publishers. "Our success comes from making sure that both customers and partners (e.g. Activision, Take 2, Ubisoft...) feel like they get a lot of value from those services, and that they can trust us not to take advantage of the relationship that we have with them."

While Newell offered candid observations on the risks of releasing Portal and the support Valve has provided with 150 updates to TF2 since 2007, he was not so loquacious when it came to questions about long-delayed Episode 3 of Half-Life 2. When asked whether it was a mistake to release episodic content for HL2, he merely said, "Not yet."

Oh, and Gabe? When is Half-Life 3 coming out?

"I don't know," he said.

Source: The Cambridge Student

Permalink

Front page of this site reads "New details on Half Life 3" this is not April 1st and that was not funny!

Jerks.

I came here expecting news on HL2 EP3, and all I got was this piracy thread.

I am disappoint.

Thanks for talking about Half Life 3! I'm so excited to read...

You son of a bitch

He's got a valid point.

But he still isn't telling us when HL3 is coming out, so it's time to BURN HIM AT THE STAKE!

I agree, a service that allowed you to buy new games without leaving your house would be incredibly convenient.

Its a shame Steam cant be that instead of a service that lets you install games, but then comes up with a generic error when you try to play them, lets you uninstall them but then not re-install, and all but locks you out of the games you purchased for 2-3 weeks before whatever issue it had was resolved.

Isn't it common knowledge now Gabe ate HL:3 and it's Dev team?

A bit sad to hear Gabe make this kind of claim when Steam has one of the worst customer service systems out of all the digital retailers.
Seriously Steam is how big, has how many users, and rakes in how much money? And yet it only has an e-mail support system that at its best takes a full 24-48 hours per response to a problem.

How is this an acceptable service that is good for the customers?

And even then what about other companies actually price matching while steam doesn't?
And tack on steam's increasing monopolistic actions of offering Steam Exclusive rewards to games to basically make people buy directly from them and no one else.

I agree with his point that making the retail version more appealing rather than being focused making the pirated version less is a better strategy, but I believe the main problem is still that people are greedy self-centered jerks that want everything for free.

If it was mostly about just inferior service than piracy on the consoles would be non-existant.

Granted that higher convenience might be one of the major reasons why piracy is much of a bigger deal on the PC.

"...and owner of the most pervasive online gaming PORTAL for the PC platform..."
Newell: Thinking with portals.

Anyways, nice to here a well-reasoned opinion on piracy from the industry, and GOD DAMN YOU NEWELL, WHERE IS OUR HALF LIFE 3?!

EvilPicnic:

Xanthious:
Who knew that people when presented with the option of waiting and paying for an inferior product or getting a superior product for free will choose to get the superior product for free. When these developers release games with things like region locks, draconian DRM, and god knows what else that ends up making the paid version inferior to the pirated version they are are only encouraging people to choose the pirated copy as it's both a better overall version and it's free to boot.

True say.

Consumers want value for money, but developers (at the publishers insistence) are shackling and crippling their creations with these ludicrous restrictive measures.

They devalue their own product and then moan when people don't want to purchase it...

F***ing oath. That's why I tend to get games well after they've dropped in price, especially if they're known for pulling stunts like that.

OT: I agree wholeheartedly, but once again, publishers aren't going to listen since most of them have a crippling fear of money and success. And before anyone quotes me talking about Activision (or Valve, or your other favourite publisher/developer), I said "most".

CrystalShadow:
He definitely has the right idea overall, though some of the sounds a little hypocritical.

Steam, after all, is essentially a region-locked service.

Something which has been discovered more than a few times by people that have purchased things while in a different region, and then found they don't work when they try and play them at home.

I personally am quite uncertain about my steam games collection;

I've moved from country to country quite often. Now, as it happens my entire steam library comes from one country...

But that raises the obvious question; What will happen if I move again? Is the EU one region? Or if I move say, back to the Netherlands (or Germany, which might happen if some of my stranger plans become a reality), or even back to Australia...

Will my games still work?

I mean, it's all well and good to say these kinds of things, but the service steam provides is not without issues, and some of them directly contradict what Gabe Newell is saying.

You can actually call (or write, i forget which I did) to their customer service explaining your situation, and you'll be able to play the games. I lived in Zambia, Macedonia, and Guatemala, and have purchased games in all 3 countries through steam. I think something go messed up when I went to Macedonia, but I hit them up and it was all sorted out in a day. I'm now back in the U.S. and have had no problems playing any games that I load up.

Misleading title if there ever was one.

Don't insult Gabe, he will delay half life again.

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