Valve: ‘Steam isn’t killing retail, honest!’

Popular logic dictates that when people are buying games online they’re not doing it in shops. This, however, appears to be a fallacy according to Valve, overlords of popular digital distribution service Steam. Recent data published by the firm suggests that promotions run through the platform can actually boost sales of boxed games.

Speaking to gamesindustry.biz, Doug Lombardi, marketing director of Valve said: “When we do our free weekends on Steam for our products we see an increase in player numbers, obviously, and then we’ll see a spike in sales at the end of the weekend on Steam and at retail,” he said. “And recently we’ve seen data that shows Left 4 Dead free weekends increase the sales of Left 4 Dead on Steam, at retail and on the Xbox 360, which we would never have guessed could have happened, but it’s just that word of mouth.”

Lombardi also reacted to criticism leveraged at the firm for supposedly attempting to undermine retail, “A lot of the ‘Steam is there to compete with retail’ stuff is sort of sensationalised. We spent more money at GameStop in the US promoting Left 4 Dead than we did at any other chain. We sold more copies of Left 4 Dead at Gamestop than we did at any other chain.” He continued, “We’re supporting them with dollars for promotions and they’re supporting us by delivering top performance in terms of sell-through at their outlet with Left 4 Dead. My hope is that we can replicate that success with Left 4 Dead 2.”

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