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Valve says piracy is more about convenience than price

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Valve’s Gabe Newell speaking to Geekwire has said that contrary to what publishers and developers believe, that Piracy stems not from people’s unwillingness to pay money – but rather because it’s convenient. Because of that, great service is key to curbing piracy – not draconian DRM systems.

"One thing that we have learned is that piracy is not a pricing issue. It’s a service issue," he 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."

He cited Valve’s success in notoriously piracy-plagued 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,” he confirmed.“… The people who are telling you that Russians pirate everything are the people who wait six months to localise 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."

He’s possibly right – although I’m not convinced. Pirates, its seems, will pirate things purely because they can. Last year’s Humble Indie Bundle – a collection of games from Indie devs – was available for whatever you were willing to pay for it, but still got pirated to heck.

Last Updated: October 25, 2011

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