The Game Business Law summit this week saw Valve's Jason Holtman -- director of business development and legal affairs -- speaking openly about many topics, including the amount of PC gamers out there (255 million new PCs bought in 2007 isn't something to ignore), retail versus online sales (retail still beats out online, at least sometimes), but the always fun issue to talk about is piracy.
On this Holtman revealed he looks as pirates as his friends more than his enemies when it comes to their worldwide PC game service Steam:
"There's a big business feeling that there's piracy," he says. But the truth is: "Pirates are undeserved customers. When you think about it that way, you think, 'Oh my gosh, I can do some interesting things and make some interesting money off of it.'
We take all of our games day-and-date to Russia. The reason people pirated things in Russia is because Russians are reading magazines and watching television -- they say 'Man, I want to play that game so bad,' but the publishers respond 'you can play that game in six months...maybe.' "
They found piracy rates dropped off significantly following this approach, which shows many people want to pay, but feel they aren't getting what they should (i.e. timely releases).
Steam currently boasts 15 million gamers, lending it a sizeable chunk of the PC gaming sector's sales.