Valve on Piracy and Always-Online DRM

September 1, 2011 -

While some publishers think that obtrusive DRM is the right way to go in protecting their PC game titles, Valve Software founder Gabe Newell sees the whole practice as wrong-headed and misguided. Speaking to Kotaku for its "Well Played" column, Newell said that Valve is a broken record on the topic:

"We're a broken record on this," Newell told Kotaku. "This belief that you increase your monetization by making your game worth less through aggressive digital rights management is totally backwards. It's a service issue, not a technology issue. Piracy is just not an issue for us."

He should know; Valve managed to enter into one of the worst markets for selling legitimate games: Russia. What he found was that black market pirates were simply doing a better job of localizing games than the companies doing business there. To deal with this, they simply did a good job of localizing products on Steam.

"When we entered Russia everyone said, ‘You can't make money in there. Everyone pirates,'" Newell said. "When people decide where to buy their games they look and they say, ‘Jesus, the pirates provide a better service for us.'"

At the end of the day, Newell sees strict DRM schemes as more harmful than good to publishers that use them:

"The best way to fight piracy is to create a service that people need," he said. "I think (publishers with strict DRM) will sell less of their products and create more problems. Customers want to know everything is going to be there for them no matter what: Their saved games and configurations will be there. They don't want any uncertainty."

Source: Kotaku


Comments

Re: Valve on Piracy and Always-Online DRM

I tolerate Steams DRM mecanism because they are the ONLY company out there giving you more features/functionality in the STEAM product for the entry fee of coping with the always on DRM.

Other developers need to mimic this, you need to offer value ABOVE the price of coping with the DRM. Doing anything short of this will cause consumer DRM backlash.

Re: Valve on Piracy and Always-Online DRM

...what always-on DRM?

While some of the third-party games on Steam use always-on DRM, Valve's games are one-time activation.

Re: Valve on Piracy and Always-Online DRM

Exactly. Most DRM only benefits the developers/publishers by protecting the IP. It has zero benefit to the consumer. However, Steam offers so much more while acting as a DRM as well. You never have to worry about damaging or misplacing your discs because there are none. You simply re-download your material whenever you choose. Then there are all the benefits -Jes- mentioned.

Re: Valve on Piracy and Always-Online DRM

It barely even benefits the developers or publishers since it's cracked within 24 hours of release if not sooner.

Re: Valve on Piracy and Always-Online DRM

If they want evidence, just look at Spore. An awesome game with the worst DRM in history. It flopped in stores, and everybody just pirated it. The DRM completely backfired; it did nothing to stop pirating, and only encouraged it.

Re: Valve on Piracy and Always-Online DRM

...wait, selling a million copies means you "flopped in stores" now?

Shit, I would LOVE to make a flop like that.

Re: Valve on Piracy and Always-Online DRM

Meh, any DRM is bad DRM.

Whilst the use of Steam as a form of DRM (because ultimately, that's what it is) is better than Ubisoft's idea of an "always-on" DRM function, that doesn't make it better overall.

Newell can scream at the top of his lungs how much he hates more aggressive types of DRM but ultimately, all types of DRM will eventually hurt the industry like they're already hurting the customers.

Steam games can be pirated, too.

Re: Valve on Piracy and Always-Online DRM

Maybe you should change your name to Mr. A.

I'm opposed to DRM in general too, but not all DRM is equivalent.  There IS such a thing as a middle ground.

Re: Valve on Piracy and Always-Online DRM

"(because ultimately, that's what it is)"

Yes, because it is not at all a game browser, digital store, IM protocol, image storage site (screenshots), blog site, game rating and demo site, automatic game update service, unlimited reinstall service, cloud storage and file defragmentation program all in one, right?[/sarcasm]

 

As much as Steam is ALSO a form of drm, to call it 'just' that is arrogant as all hell.

I don't like Newell anymore than the next guy, I think HL1 and 2 are inferior games hyped by skillless cretins, I still got a chip on my shoulder re: € -> $ pricing and I LOATHE any limitations put onto me regarding my games, but I know a well-made all-in-one service when I see it.

And it's not anything out of Ubi (constant net? FUDAT) or EA (lol sequels and masterserver killing), both of whom would happily gouge me for cash and leave me rotting in the ditch like a good little bent-over consumer, just like Sony (at SOE we DON'T listen to our playerbase).

 

It's Steam.

 
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Andrew EisenWhen I write about these massacres, I don't use the shooter's name or picture. I'm not saying everyone has to play it that way but that's how I prefer to do it.10/25/2014 - 12:44am
Andrew EisenYep, it's why the news media stopped spotlighting numbnuts who run out on the field during sporting events.10/25/2014 - 12:01am
Matthew Wilsonin media research its called the copycat effect. it simply says that if the news covers one mass shooting shooter, it increases the likelihood of another person going on a mass shooting.10/25/2014 - 12:00am
Andrew EisenAgreed. It bugs me that I know the names, faces and personal histories of a bunch of mass shooters but I couldn't tell you the name of or recognize a photo of a single one of their victims.10/24/2014 - 11:51pm
AvalongodAgree with Quiknkold. @Mecha...if that worked we would have figured out how to prevent these long ago.10/24/2014 - 11:32pm
MechaCrashUnfortunately, you have to focus on the perpetrator to figure out the whys so you can try to prevent it from happening again.10/24/2014 - 10:55pm
quiknkoldpoor girl. poor victims. rather focus on them then the shooter. giving too much thought to the monster takes away from the victims.10/24/2014 - 10:15pm
Andrew EisenFor what it's worth, early reports are painting the motive as "he was pissed that a particular girl wouldn't date him."10/24/2014 - 10:12pm
quiknkoldwell then I suck as a man cause I ask for help when necessary :P10/24/2014 - 10:07pm
Technogeek(That said, mostly I was making the smartass evopsych comment because your post seemed like the kind of just-so story that has come to dominate 99% of its usage.)10/24/2014 - 10:04pm
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MechaCrashThe "toxic masculinity" thing refers to how you have to SUCK IT UP AND BE A MAN because seeking help is seen as weakness, which means you suck at manliness, so it builds and builds and builds until something finally snaps.10/24/2014 - 10:01pm
quiknkoldthere, I'm done. And thats what Christmas is all about, Charlie Brown10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldand I am not spouting Evopsych, technogeek. tbh I never heard the phrase till you said it. I'm going off my observations.10/24/2014 - 9:54pm
quiknkoldmoreover, the guy who did this isnt even white. He was native american according to the news report I read. Also that he went for a specific target. That's a much different picture than a certain Sandy Hook guy who will not be named10/24/2014 - 9:53pm
quiknkoldbut I am also certain nobody in their right mind is committing these shootings singing the Machoman song. these are sick individuals who have given up on life10/24/2014 - 9:51pm
Technogeekevopsych lol10/24/2014 - 9:49pm
quiknkoldWhen you suffer from mental illness, youre more likely to go by instinct. yes. I came off as sexist.10/24/2014 - 9:46pm
quiknkoldmore on somthing they are fixated on. Post Partum Depression is an example. This is why a woman is less likely to go off on a rampage.10/24/2014 - 9:44pm
 

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