Valve: Steam Sales Data Will Remain Private

April 21, 2011 -

Valve says that it will not be cooperating with various sales tracking firms who want access to internal data from its digital distribution service. Speaking to MCV, Steam’s Jason Holtman said that sharing the data would be counterintuitive if released publicly and that retaining it for developers and publishers only is the best option.

"The idea of a chart is old," said Holtman. "It came from people trying to aggregate disaggregated information. What we provide to partners is much more rapid and perfected information."

Valve provides publishers and developers with hourly updates of download figures. This allows those partners to measure the effectiveness of things like in marketing pushes and special offers. Releasing that data on a monthly basis would be a mistake, according to Holtman.

"If you look back at the way retail charts have been made, they have been proven to be telling an inaccurate story. They apparently had shown how the PC format was dying when it was actually thriving."

While research firms such as NPD Group and Chart-Track might not like the fact that it will not have access to data for the biggest digital distribution platform in the world, Valve is only interested in helping companies it does business with via Steam.

"The point is, it's not super important for a publisher or developer to know how well everyone is doing. What's important to know is exactly how your game is doing - why it's climbing and why it's falling. Your daily sales, your daily swing, your rewards for online campaign number three. That's what we provide."

Source: GI.biz


Comments

Re: Valve: Steam Sales Data Will Remain Private

That is highly disappointing. Valve is assuming that anyone who isn't a Developer or Publisher isn't qualified to assess sales information. I think the information that Steam has on games sales is important for the game industry to thrive. My guess is that Steam is withholding information for selfish reasons.

Re: Valve: Steam Sales Data Will Remain Private

Isn't it the developers choice to share their sales or not?  Valve gives them all the information.  Unless there is some sort of contract that doesn't allow them to share it, which I doubt.  

Pwnage of Empires Xbox 360 Indie RTS

Re: Valve: Steam Sales Data Will Remain Private

The problem is, without any comparison numbers, a developer's sales exist in a vacuum.  If I released a game on Steam, I'd want to know how I was stacking up compared to other titles in my genre, for instance.  That's an important way to gauge popularity and helps determine what features the market is looking for.

It's also kind of backhanded to say that sales aren't important only 24 hours after you've put out a press statement about the four million copies of Portal you sold.  But I guess they couldn't have added that mysterious "and maybe more!" on their figures if Steam sales were public, so perhaps the message here is that only console and retail sales are important?  Come to think of it, is there any way to verify advertised sales figures?  Could I say my game sold ten million copies and get away with it, since according to their policies they wouldn't be able to contradict me?

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Fangamer

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Fangamer

Re: Valve: Steam Sales Data Will Remain Private

It would be useful for people trying to gauge how much a certain game has sold total when it's released as a physical disc as well as online, however it would be "bad" from Valve's perspective because they would love for Steam to be the only distribution method and this would go against that ideal.  I don't see why you can't provide both.

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