While the politicians up on Capitol Hill are debating the merits “Stop Online Piracy Act” and I Am Alive Director Stanislas Mettra is up in arms about not wanting to bring his game to the PC because of thieves, the biggest online video game distribution service has offered a little insight into the perceived piracy issue. According to Gabe Newell, piracy is a “non issue” for Valve.
Gabe went on to explain, “If a pirate offers a product anywhere in the world, 24/7, purchasable from the convenience of your personal computer, and the legal provider says the product is region-locked, will come to your country three months after the US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable. Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customer’s use or by creating uncertainty. Our goal is to create greater service value than pirates, and this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company.”
Gabe’s no-so-subtle shots at ridiculous DRM aside, the most important thing anyone can take from his statement is the convenience rules for consumers. If a game is readily available for a reasonable price, gamers will buy it because it’s still easier than finding a torrent, running a crack, finding a CD key, etc. This is why Steam and it’s regular price slashing is so successful: It makes it more convenient to buy the game than to steal it. Make things easy for the consumer? Such a crazy concept.