Steam Boss Blasts Idea of Digital Sales Charts

Logan Westbrook

Transform, Roll Out, Etc
Feb 21, 2008
17,672
0
0
Steam Boss Blasts Idea of Digital Sales Charts

A big, inaccurate picture of the industry isn't really much use to anyone, says Valve's director of business development.

Jason Holtman, who, amongst other things, heads up the digital sales platform Steam, says that he isn't about to start handing over data so that analysts and publishers can compile digital sales lists. In fact, he thinks that doing so would be a backwards step for the industry.

Holtman said that charts were an old idea, and were born of people trying to gather information from a variety of sources and collate it into a useful whole. He felt that it was much more useful for publishers and developers to know how their games were doing, rather than an incomplete look at the overall picture. "If you look back at the way retail charts have been made," he said. "They have been proven to be telling an inaccurate story ... They apparently had shown how the PC format was dying when it was actually thriving."

"It's not super important for a publisher or developer to know how well everyone is doing," he added. "What's important to know is exactly how your game is doing - why it's climbing and why it's falling. Your daily sales, your daily swing, your rewards for online campaign number three. That's what we provide."

Holtman's position seems a little strange; he acknowledges how important accurate, up-to-date data is, but then downplays the importance of the bigger picture. It's certainly true that sales charts paint only the most simple of pictures and don't really take context into account, but - if used properly - that information still has a great deal of value.

Source: MCV [http://www.mcvuk.com/news/44029/Digital-charts-wont-pick-up-Steam]


Permalink
 

Casimir_Effect

New member
Aug 26, 2010
418
0
0
Probably a good idea - might stop this culture of people calling a game a failure if it only has 2 million sales compared to the game at the top of the charts with 10 million.
 

Jared

The British Paladin
Jul 14, 2009
5,630
0
0
As a Data Analyst, I really cant see much sense in what he is saying. I work in an industry, which requires us to look at not just out own big picture, but those around us in the same business too (Which is Insurance)

You need both internal, and external data in order to plan profitability, and to see the greater swings in the market, and how they might be affecting your own cycles, and developmnents.

Who is selling well, with what, and how are they doing it - All are important questions, which, without a whole picture, and not taking any essense from it, cannot be properly achieved.

I believe he is more trying to keep there cards close to protect themselves, so others cannot see whats working well, for, arguably, the largest online digital retailer for gaming
 

harvz

New member
Jun 20, 2010
462
0
0
i agree with him, you know what these charts always lead to? "the same"
the same damn fps, same weapons, same enemies all aimed towards the same audience, all of which do not improve on the previous game.

innovation is so badly needed in the industry, if indie devs followed these trends, we would not have minecraft, eufloria or mount and blade.

take for example bad company 1 vs bad company 2, BC1 was relatively original, still followed many FPS traits but had interesting, non-linear gameplay. compare that to BC2's linearity and you can see the unwanted shift.
 

Bobzer77

New member
May 14, 2008
717
0
0
Jaredin said:
As a Data Analyst, I really cant see much sense in what he is saying. I work in an industry, which requires us to look at not just out own big picture, but those around us in the same business too (Which is Insurance)

You need both internal, and external data in order to plan profitability, and to see the greater swings in the market, and how they might be affecting your own cycles, and developmnents.
That is a completely different industry though, when publishers get too caught up in what the #1 selling game is we get what I like to call the COD fiasco, stagnation.

It is never unclear where the big money is in terms of genres, but the thing about the games industry is that quality and original games are more important than what genre or blueprint they are created from.

Logan Westbrook said:
"If you look back at the way retail charts have been made," he said. "They have been proven to be telling an inaccurate story ... They apparently had shown how the PC format was dying when it was actually thriving."
Now can I plead with console owners once again to stfu?
 

LordSphinx

New member
Apr 14, 2009
196
0
0
What a load of bullshit. Information is power, and by withholding it they're just making sure this power is only their's. Valve/Steamworks are cool, but that doesn't mean that they never do any dick moves, such as this.

Try starting a business based on Steam sales when you can't get any relevant data from their platform to reassure investors. I'm gonna bet 5 to 1 that you won't get any results. No wonder indie games are made by so few people: you can't make a team if you can't pay them a salary, and you can't pay a salary without being either A- Be rich yourself and ready to burn it all on a risky project, or B- Get funding from investors/publishers. The B- option is the only viable option for 99,9% of the population, and these require data before jumping into a project.

EDIT: If my games make it to Steam, I'm gonna give my sales number freely to whoever wants them.
 

GeorgW

ALL GLORY TO ME!
Aug 27, 2010
4,806
0
0
It may not benefit the publishers, but it would benefit me. It seems like they're trying to hide something.
 

Astalano

New member
Nov 24, 2009
286
0
0
On the one hand I agree. On the other hand though, the big picture is very important for investors and a clear picture might persuade them to invest more in PC gaming.

However, I do like the fact that smaller developers and indie developers are being given a chance now that most developers have gone multiplatform, so, keep doing what you're doing.
 

Astalano

New member
Nov 24, 2009
286
0
0
GeorgW said:
It may not benefit the publishers, but it would benefit me. It seems like they're trying to hide something.
Enormous profits? They did say that Left 4 Dead sales increased by 3000% in a sale once.
 
Jul 22, 2009
3,596
0
0
How... odd?

I agree with the notion 'knowledge is power', I can see where they have a point that publishers may try and copy whoever peaks in the sales, but to not release any sales information at all?

I love reading through VGchartz to see how many copies were sold of certain games.

I hope this information does eventually become available, it seems silly to hide it.
 

Wicky_42

New member
Sep 15, 2008
2,468
0
0
I can see both sides - the market would obviously love to have digital sales numbers for the all the traditional reasons, but by showing what games are doing the best there becomes the obvious draw to emulate them, leading to the market stagnation we have now.

Arguably, though, by only having store sales when so much of PC sales is digital, console player buying trends could lead the market, which could be detrimental to the industry in the long term... for reasons of opinion about the CoD playing masses that would just incite a flame war ;)

Of course, Steam could just be being cynical and looking to exploit their market position, but I can't really see how it would benefit them. Maybe I'm not corporate enough...
 

Danzaivar

New member
Jul 13, 2004
1,967
0
0
The man who has access to all of steams online sales data doesn't want to share this data? What an unspeakable concept!
 

Wicky_42

New member
Sep 15, 2008
2,468
0
0
Astalano said:
GeorgW said:
It may not benefit the publishers, but it would benefit me. It seems like they're trying to hide something.
Enormous profits? They did say that Left 4 Dead sales increased by 3000% in a sale once.
That sale was likely the game for $1 ;) Much like when they had TF2 for 1 cent! Ah Steam, you never cease to amaze!
 

TheComfyChair

New member
Sep 17, 2010
240
0
0
if it weren't for sales charts, we would likely not see every fps copying cod because they wouldn't know how successful it is. However is steam released sales data, then the PC platform would likely be the lead one for more games. Hmmm.
 

Cousin_IT

New member
Feb 6, 2008
1,822
0
0
He just doesn't want us to see that Valve games aren't in the top 10 of Steam's own sales.

He might also like to relish in the irony of lambasting the sales charts for being inaccurate while refusing to release the data that would go a long way to rectifying that. I know I am.
 

TheComfyChair

New member
Sep 17, 2010
240
0
0
Cousin_IT said:
He just doesn't want us to see that Valve games aren't in the top 10 of Steam's own sales.

He might also like to relish in the irony of lambasting the sales charts for being inaccurate while refusing to release the data that would go a long way to rectifying that. I know I am.
the top sellers are there: http://store.steampowered.com/

:) Portal 2 is obviously number 1 at the moment. I'm surprised crysis 2 is still holding on at number 3 though.