Valve won’t put ads on Steam because they have no value to their customers

2 min read


If you had told 1999 Darryn that the future of PC gaming and sales would have been almost entirely online, he’d have stood there with his stupid fat mouth open, clutching his precious 56K modem and wondering how he could possibly afford to download gigantic 200MB games.

But here we are! Steam is pretty much the defacto leader of digital sales platforms. Steam Sales, Steam Libraries, Big Picture and everything else from the Valve service have made it undeniably the most popular service around. As well as a great cash-cow for Valve.

But they could be making even more cash off of Steam, if they choose to throw some adverts into it. But let’s be honest here: Selling ad-space wouldn’t benefit users in the long-run.

And Valve is well aware of that, hence the lack of ostentatious digital commercials for homeopathic chalk water or powdery crisps on their platform.

“We don’t see a case for that ever getting user value,” Valve’s Erik Johnson said to GameSpot when they asked him of a hypothetical scenario where Steam would have Doritos adverts.

So we wouldn’t do it. I don’t think that those ever work, either. To take it a step further, I don’t think anybody buys Doritos as a result of that. We tend to focus on long-term relationships.

According to Johnson, such advertisements aren’t just costly, but they might end up taking cash away as consumers don’t exactly warm up to having a pop-up campaign for sugary piss-water thrown into their faces while perusal sales. “It would be a bad business decision, let alone just dumb,” Johnson said.

Ads don’t serve any value to customers.

Look, adverts have their place, as well as time. Something that I’m acutely aware of as an Assassin’s Creed Syndicate wallpaper surrounds this post while you read it.

But I’m happy to not see any ads pop up on Steam, which is already distracting enough with the front-page of that platform doing an admirable job already of promoting certain games. And it’s that purity towards having a dedicated marketplace, that helps sell games.

Last Updated: October 16, 2015

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