Last month, Electronic Arts' David DeMartini criticized Valve's digital distribution platform for offering games at hugely discounted prices. EA's senior vice president for global commerce claimed this practice "cheapens intellectual property" that "game makers work very hard to make." Eurogamer reports Valve's Jason Holtman insisted at the Develop conference in Brighton this week that "discounts serve a lot of functions…when you look at the data, things come out and they make you scratch your head for a little bit, and then you're like, that kind of makes sense."
DeMartini runs EA's digital platform Origin, with its 11 million users making it the second largest after Steam's 40 million. Digital sales continue to gain popularity, up 76 percent on last year.
Valve's Holtman countered that the company wouldn't repeat [the strategy] with [its] own games if the sales structure did not serve its purpose, and that partners wouldn't want to repeat it. He said the sales are key to introducing players to new intellectual properties.
"You've probably caught somebody and introduced them to a game when they haven't had it, and they've played it, and the next time the franchise comes out…they've just become more avid gamers," he said.
"If you're a fan of a game or a property…you want it," Holtman said in response to concerns about deflating release-day sales. "It's very valuable to you because you're a fan. You want to play it then."
Steam's summer sale began yesterday, offering individual games and bundles at up to 89 percent off, and will last until July 22.