Gabe Newell says piracy is about service. Not price.

Posted on November 26, 2011 - 11:20am by Ryan Conway

We all know that Gabe Newell feels that the root of the gaming industry's problem with piracy is not the price of the products but rather the quality of service that the products and the developers of those products provide.

During a recent interview with The Cambridge Student Online, Newell discussed what he means by that in a little further detail.  

He said the most common misconception about the piracy issue is that it is all about the pricing of products but Valve believes the issue is more commonly rooted in the services which said products provide.

"For example, 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 U.S. 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."

He said that because Valve provides a much greater variety of service that the software pirates can not possibly match, the company has become such a large success in online distribution, that online piracy is basically a non-issue for the company.

"Our success comes from making sure that both customers and partners feel like they get a lot of value from those services. They can trust us not to take advantage of the relationship that we have with them."

Newell concluded by saying Valve doesn't necessarily strive on being a better game developer or ever a better online distributor but rather becoming the best provider of customer service it can possibly be.

This is definitely a refreshing and dare I say innovative way to combat piracy. Valve's initiative to provide top notch customer service, work around BS restrictions like region-locking and make each gaming experience as rewarding and unique as possible, is a greater way to combat piracy than to merely lower prices, or promise to create eventual DLC add ons that will cost the consumer more money. 

Gaming is an expensive hobby and gamers want to have a gameplay experience that is well worth the investment that is put into each purchase. This is what will guarantee repeat business, no matter how tempting the thought of downloading from a torrent site might be. Free might be the best possible bargain (even if it happens to be from an illegal source) but if the product is truly great, people will spend the extra cash to own the genuine article. Plain and simple. 

But that's just my opinion g1s. What's yours?

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