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Valve says piracy is a 'non issue'

9:00 AM on 11.28.2011

Jim Sterling

Former Reviews Editor

Piracy debates reappear with such regularity that you could set your watch by them, and they typically go the same way. A studio says something about piracy, huge arguments rage for a few days, then Valve weighs in with the final word. We're at the Valve stage yet again, with Gabe Newell stating that piracy is a "non-issue" for his company. 

"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 US release, and can only be purchased at a brick and mortar store, then the pirate’s service is more valuable," explained Newell. "Most DRM solutions diminish the value of the product by either directly restricting a customer’s use or by creating uncertainty. Our goal is to create greater service value than pirates, and this has been successful enough for us that piracy is basically a non-issue for our company."

Of course, DRM and other such things aren't the sole cause of piracy (people stealing cheap indie titles is never excusable) but making games more easy and convenient to purchase helps. There's a reason music piracy lowered once services like iTunes made purchasing content cheap and simple. Most decent consumers will pay for convenience. Things that actively inconvenience them really aren't helping anybody, Ubisoft.  

Interview: Gabe Newell [The Cambridge Student]

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