Newell Says, If You Give People Good Service, They Won’t Pirate Your Game

Leave it to Valve founder Gabe Newell to eloquently say something totally obvious and thus legitimize a concept players have been touting for years.

Speaking at WTIA TechNW in Seattle last week, Newell said (rather brilliantly) that Steam has found piracy isn’t an issue if you just provide a better service than the pirates. Rather than slapping players with irritating digital rights management software that treats the user like the criminal, Valve is finding that all you have to do is make your service work well, and people will pay for the privilege of using it.

“One thing that we have learned is that piracy is not a pricing issue. It’s a service issue,” Newell said. “The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work. It’s by giving those people a service that’s better than what they’re receiving from the pirates. For example, Russia. You say, oh, we’re going to enter Russia, people say, you’re doomed, they’ll pirate everything in Russia. Russia now outside of Germany is our largest continental European market.

“…But the point was, the people who are telling you that Russians pirate everything are the people who wait six months to localize their product into Russia. … So that, as far as we’re concerned, is asked and answered. It doesn’t take much in terms of providing a better service to make pirates a non-issue.”

Quick, somebody tell Ubisoft that if they just make their games fun to play on their various online services, we’ll want to play them. I know it’s confusing — that people are willing to pay money in order to have fun with no hassle — but hopefully someone will be able to explain it slowly enough that they’ll get it.

Thanks, GeekWire.

Follow Hornshaw on Twitter: @philhornshaw.

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4 Comments on Newell Says, If You Give People Good Service, They Won’t Pirate Your Game


On October 26, 2011 at 5:55 pm

“The easiest way to stop piracy is not by putting antipiracy technology to work.” Right, so why do you still use anti-piracy technology then? Wake up buddy, Steam -IS- DRM.

Until the start following the method of digital distribution he really doesn’t have a case to make here afaic.

JosephPS3 Herman Cain 4 Pres

On October 26, 2011 at 6:35 pm

I don’t know, I think a lot of ppl pirate because they’re just too cheap and don’t want to spend the money even if they can afford it because pirating is too easy.

Ppl who pirate games are better off in two major ways compared to legit buyers: 1) Save money 2)No anti piracy hassles.

I don’t condone piracy but I can understand it. Sometimes I feel like pirating even after I bought a game just so I don’t have to jump through these stupid annoying anti piracy hoops.


On October 27, 2011 at 5:28 am

Another reason for piracy is lack of demos. How are you supposed to know if a game is worth buying if you can’t test it out first?