So there's been some rumblings in the game industry as of late, especially regarding Valve's approach to offering all sorts of deals and goodies to consumers. Well, Valve is on the defense saying that the sales don't hurt the bottom lines of publishers, developers, brands or franchises.
You might remember that not too long ago EA's SVP of global commerce, David DeMartini, made some striking comments against the way Valve operates and has all sorts of crazy pro-consumer sales, and stating that Origin wouldn't have going-out-of-business sales, even though not too long thereafter Origin had a going-out-of-business type sale.
Well, Valve is on the defensive...even though they really don't need to be. Speaking with PC Gamer [via Escapist], director of business management, Jason Holtman, stated the following...
"A promotion is not a policy; a promotion is just a feature to give people more value,”... “It’s not as if a 75% offer or a 50% off sale at some point in time cannibalises a sale that would have happened earlier, it’s just not true. We’re actually seeing both of them growing. We don’t see one cannibalising the other. If we did, we wouldn’t do it.”
And that's about as sensible as it gets folks. The main idea is that Valve is thinking about value. The problem with corporations like EA and Activision is that they're always thinking about profit. There is a big difference between the two, and considering that EA and Activision are publicly traded and Valve is a private company, the way the three companies operate are like ocean-lengths apart.
However, Holtman makes another good point, and it's not about all the sales numbers and the bottom lines, he talks about the organic growth from the sales, stating...
“We put Left 4 Dead 2 and Portal 2 on sale. If we thought that was killing our franchise, or hurting the value of games, or hurting the revenue we could generate as a company, we wouldn’t do it,” ... “We’ve even gone so far as to give away Portal for free a couple of times. Whole days where it’s not free for a day, it’s just free.”... “We looked at this amazing data afterwards. The day after the sales were exactly the same, if not more,”
He goes on to explain that different people buy games for different reasons and at different times. Holtman is obviously a gamer because he gets it. See, I'm not going to go out and buy a game like Call of Duty X: Something Intense XX for $60...not ever. Would I buy it at 75% off? Out of curiosity, maybe. Would I pick it out of a bargain bin for $9.99? Probably. But gamers like myself will never be first adopters for something not suited to our tastes. So if a distributor like Impulse or Origin (even though it's the rival to the CoD franchise) never bothered having a 75% off sale for Something Intense XX, it basically means gamers like myself would just never buy it.
Holtman also understands that these sales don't cannibalize fanboyism. There are gamers who will buy games day-one, there are gamers who salivate over the idea of getting a game as soon as humanly possible. See, I'm a Borderlands fanboy, I don't care if the second game ever goes on sale because I'm getting it regardless. It's the same as those people who will buy Call of Duty regardless of whether it's on sale or not. But not every gamer and not even every shooter fan will be stoked about a game like Black Ops 2 or Borderlands 2 and they may not want to buy this stuff at $60.
Hence, Valve has sales on a lot of games for people who aren't fanboys and who may want to try this stuff out only because it's cheap. Sales don't lessen the value of a property it extends its market reach outside of its key demographic. That doesn't seem to be something the chaps at EA understand.
You can pick up some great games right now during Steam's Summer Sale by browsing their official website. You can check out the rest of the interview with Holtman by paying a visit to PC Gamer.