Valve Wonders if Games Are Too Expensive

gabenewellIn an echo to something I was saying just the other day, it seems that Valve is claiming that games are over-priced. Gabe Newell recently gave a talk at DICE on Wednesday, giving some impressive numbers about Steam, and showing where game companies are currently missing the mark with retail.

In particular, he notes the promotional offers that companies run for their games on Steam. His main example was Left 4 Dead, which was half price this last weekend. How did it affect sales, you ask? They rose. By how much? Three thousand percent. Yes, you read that right.

Newell went on to outline other games that ran promotions, and showing that they drastically rose in sales as the percentage of the price went down. Basically, it seems that game studios can more than recoup the costs of their games by selling more in volume rather than making more off of each sale. Talk about duh.

I don’t know why more game companies haven’t picked up on this, especially with the money you save by delivering through an online platform. Call of Duty World at War was one of the highest grossing games of the fall, and I’m guessing a lot of that had to do with its $50 price point come Christmas. So what do you guys think about this? Also, how much does Valve continue to rule?

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I write about samurai girls and space marines. Writer for Smooth Few Films. Rooster Teeth Freelancer. Author of Red vs. Blue, The Ultimate Fan Guide, out NOW!

39 thoughts on “Valve Wonders if Games Are Too Expensive”

  1. I got to say, Valve nows what there doing. They are one of, if not, the best video game companys today. And really 3000%? Wow… thats impressive.

  2. So, do you guys think Steam will overtake retail soon. I think if they can get even more companies the Steam bandwagon, places like Gamestop will eventually go out of business

  3. They would so be the best game devs, if only they weren’t microsofts bi*(hes. They are so going to piss me off, if all the rants about them hiring linux devs ‘n stuff are going to be BS.

  4. [quote comment=”4700″]They would so be the best game devs, if only they weren’t microsofts bi*(hes. They are so going to piss me off, if all the rants about them hiring linux devs ‘n stuff are going to be BS.[/quote]

    This is one of the must ludicrous comments I’ve read. What does that even mean? How are they MS’s bi*(hes, as you put it? Because they release games on the 360? Who doesn’t do that?

  5. I like Valve, most of the time. If they’d actually make something on the PS3/ port it I’d be fanning them with palm leaves and feeding them fine grapes. As it stands though, they KNOW how to do their job.

  6. another reason why I love valve, btw the reason why they didnt make L4D for ps3 is porting it from pc to ps3 is much harder than porting it from pc to 360.

  7. I love this. I always know that eventualy, a weekend deal will come up that I can snag cheap games from. Speaking of which, did you guys see the Indie Pack for this weekend? I’ve already bought I-Fluid and Trails, but for 9.99 ALL those games? you’re saving $35 (shown in the ad).

    Now I’m just waiting for Fallout 3’s Weekend Sale! heheh…

  8. I would really like to be a Valve fanboy as well, but until they start making games for the PS3, they just piss me off.

    But I want to love them.

    Also, I used to check the sales papers every Sunday for game sales, but there are never any now, so I stopped. Dropping prices would boost sales, for sure.

  9. Lol, my friend bought tf during the half off sale, and I myself got L4D this weekend. Very nice prices. 😀

  10. 3000%. Yep, Valve will always continue to rule because they just-plain-kick-ass. Nothing else to say about that. & the fact that they understand this subject & as a company are willing to admit that games are to expensive is Sorry for you console game companies out there, pc game companies are smarter than you :). & yeah about the valve fanboy thing..O_o; Fanboy may have been a good term at some time in history but it is NOT now. Fanboys are idiots & baffoons. Plain & simple. No one who’s a fan of valve can be a fanboy =/.

  11. Hey, it isn’t all about consoles. The comment in which you replied to mine indicates that you are only aware of one operating system- Windows. You should know, that there are also such operating systems as MacOS, *BSD and linux which are all based on the AT&T’s unix kernel. The growing communities of linux and BSD are eager to play games natively on their computers, without paying for MS windows, since most of linux distributions are for free. We have done a lot of things to get noticed in the gaming industry and we have been noticed, just for the fact that they still aren’t there. And it IS not hard to port their games to linux/bsd/macos, it would not be harder than to port them to a console. Better yet, since the PS3 uses openGL and it also has an Orange Box release, there is almost no work left to port the orange box to linux. Why? Well, if some devs have said that it takes too much time/work to port it just because they’ve written the game with directX, then now the Source engine already has a version of it using OpenGL. And the graphics are the most hardest thing to port from one system to another, everything else is child’s play. But I don’t see any HL2 for linux. Have you seen it ? Of course, you can play source games on linux by using Wine, but even then, there is a big performance penalty and most often newer games, which require directX 9/10, won’t even work past the main menu. Another reason they could not port their games is because there would be no profit. But check any linux forum, and you’ll know that there ARE people just waiting to spend their money on native games. The only last reason they wouldn’t port their games is because they are the lil **** of the Billy boy, who is afraid he could lose his monopoly. But there might be something to be afraid of. Like the new Windows 7 will cost around 300$, you will need anti-virus/mallware/spyware software and other utilities which cost money. Linux, as stated above, is FREE, it is community built. It has no viruses and it is more stable. You can outsell something by lowering your pirce, but you can’t outsell something which has no price. So the only way to out-run them is by bullying.

    There is one thing holding many people back from using these open source operating systems- software support. But imagine, if one dev would port their game/program to linux, more and more people would start to use it, and more devs would start to support it. As a result, more people would stop using windows.

    Can you see my point ?

    I am sorry for my bad grammar and spelling.

  12. another reason why I love valve, btw the reason why they didnt make L4D for ps3 is porting it from pc to ps3 is much harder than porting it from pc to 360.

    Well, it might be the fact that ps3 doesn’t understand DirectX, and/or they can’t write it so it uses the full potential of the CELL. And if it doesn’t, you are left with a 3.1ghz ppc processor and 512mb of ram, and I guess those are the minimum requirements of L4D on the PC. But who would like to play it in BS quality?

  13. Haha, I thought you were just talking about the 360. You make some great points about other operating systems. But I mean, that goes for the other game companies as well, correct?

  14. Hell yeah!

    Although, from EA, there is actually no game I can play on linux with wine, whereas Source gets up to 80 and down to 20 on my hardware. Of course, I can pay for some software to run it, but with that, you have to pay a monthly fee, just like with Live. But wine is for free.

  15. ah, Valve, the voice of gaming reason. I don’t mind shelling out 50 or 60 bucks for a good, triple A game, but the fact that shorter, less developed, and less polished games try to sell themselves for the same price is a little much. Then there are the games that charge you 60 dollars, plus another 20 for each of a dozen DLC’s. And of course I’m always more likely to buy a game when it’s marked half off.

  16. [quote comment=”4719″]Being a ‘fanboy’ is liking something without cause or real reasons (i.e. Wii). Valve owns for many real, solid, reasons.[/quote]

    That is not what being a fanboy is. You think Nintendo fanboys don’t have reasons? How about the fact that they love Nintendo games?

    Here is a fanboy statement: “No one who’s a fan of valve can be a fanboy =/.”

    Acting like that is fanboyish.

    Here’s another: “This is why Valve is just plain better than every other video game company. ”

    Now, when I said I would love to be a Valve fanboy, I wasn’t ripping on Valve or anyone here.

    But what I am saying is that Valve seems awesome…but they don’t make games for the PS3 and they allow crappy ports to be made of their games, so I have yet to experience the shiny light of Valve.

    I want to play Left 4 Dead. I want to play more Portal levels.

    But they don’t want me to because I own a PS3.

    So I understand why everyone loves them (including one person in another thread who said that Valve has never and WILL never disappoint them…fanboyish, no?) but I am pissed at them until I get to play their awesome games.

  17. C’mon, we could argue all day about the definition of a fanboy. Hell, you guys seem to be fanboys of the word fanboy! (I jest, and digress).

    I just mean that when I think of “Fanboy”, I think of a kid saying “ps3 PWNS xbox360 because xbox360 sucks!”… – thats not a reason, thats just a childish statement. Liking Valve and realizing how amazing and advanced they are for things like Steam doesnt make anyone a Fanboy for realizing that.. A valve fanboy would defend valve without even understanding Steam or any of their games. Thats really what I was getting at.

    And about other OS’s for PC’s… Theres no reason to go into Linux unless you enjoy coding and have time to waste getting everything to work properly. Dont get me wrong, 2% of my friends have had no issue with it after spending Hours and hours ; but I’ve been using vista for over a year and a half, without a single issue, I dont use any Anti-Virus or spy-ware scans and I download an enormous amount : I havent had a single problem.

    Maybe if people would stop using p2p and downloading foreign Porn there wouldnt be so many problems.

    p.s. pc forev4r! call me a fanboy all you want. I’ll be a happy, smiling, time-killing fanboy! Make a shirt! I’ll wear it!

  18. Blame Sony, then 🙂

    Gabe Newell has said on a few occasions that developing for the PS3 is too much of a hassle (which is why they allowed EA to make the Orange Box port, and look how that turned out). I think that’s the way the cookie crumbles when you’re Sony and you want unique architecture to your processor.

    Valve, contrary to popular belief, is actually a small company, and is probably a bit too big for its own britches at this point, which is why they unfortunately can’t spare the resources to bring awesome games to the PS3. It sucks, but the blame doesn’t go only to Valve.

  19. Yeah, but Sony made their console that way and tons of other developers seem to be making games for it, high quality games, in some cases.

    Sony chose to make their system like that, but Valve is choosing not to make games for it. So knowing that, I blame both of them.

    But other, less talented companies seem to be able to do it.

    Maybe you are right in that its the size of Valve that is the problem. In that case, I wish them all the success in the world so I can play these freaking games!

    BTW: too much of a hassle? To make some money and expand your fanbase? That must be some hassle!

    Julez: when I said Valve fanboy, I was being facetious, but everyone seemed to only notice that part of my post.

    My point about the fanboy was, substitute any other company in those comments I cited and we all would be screaming fanboy:

    “Square Enix has never and will never let me down”.

    Thats all I was getting at. I want Valve to be more influential so the price of games may come down!

  20. See, Valve has people working for them that are gamers and people…most importantly they are human beings…and human beings don’t want to be ripped off. Even though Valve makes a killing, they aren’t like the other developers who are rolling in dough and don’t care how much they charge for a game.

    I do think Gabe is right. I’ve gotten to the point lately where i’m going to wait for the price to drop because I know at some point it will and i’ll buy it…thing is tho, if we lower prices of games…will we eventually think it is too much then? I don’t think we would but it’s a possibility. I personally think games should be 39.99 and then whenever they have the “first week” sale it’ll be 29.99…that’s a reasonable price for a game.

    the only game that have been worth it’s 50 bucks has been the orange box…hands down. I also think Call of Duty has been worth their 50 bucks as well but not as much as the orange box.

  21. ‘k, real talk for a second. The source engine was developed before there was a ps3 or cuda or the ati stuff, so it basically uses only the cpu. Even if it was built for the ps3 at 2004, it wouldn’t be working on low end PC’s, because to take full advantage of the CELL, you have to program using mostly floats, but common cpus aren’t made to compute floats. Thats more of an gpu thing. But now, when we have cuda for nvidia, we can allocate all the floats and difficult stuff for the gpu, so at the moment, we could make games that work both good on pcs and on the ps3. So the next engine Valve is going to make will likely work like this, using more of the gpu than the cpu. And why should it use more gpu and cpu ? Because gpus can compute physics and A.I. better and faster than a CPU. So I hope Valve will take the advantage of cuda and make more ps3 friendly games.

    And about linux. The age where you had to write everything yourself is past. You are now talking about stuff you have no idea of, and your statements are based on others experience. If you would try it today, your opinion would differ.

  22. [quote comment=”4751″]
    And about linux. The age where you had to write everything yourself is past. You are now talking about stuff you have no idea of, and your statements are based on others experience. If you would try it today, your opinion would differ.[/quote]

    You’re probably right, I’ve been hearing a lot of really good things about releases lately. But none the less ; my PC is mostly for work (Recording + Producing Music) On which most of my plugins and apps do not have linux support. And then there are all the issues with gaming. Its just not worth it for me to switch to something like linux. But I’m all for it if you can get it to suit your needs.

  23. This debate has reached epic proportions and I love it. I will hold it up to the sun with singing animals like in Lion King.

    I would also like to conclude by saying you are all wrong except me.

  24. Wow bravo Valve. You’re so awesome for doing a rational thing. /sarcasm end

    You people honestly believe that Valve is doing this for the you (the gamer).
    You really think they would be doing this if they HADNT made 3000% more sales?
    Valve is a good rational company and the last thing I want to see is for them to get ruined because you don’t want to pay 40$ (don’t know what the price is in the USA) for something that took them years to develop.
    Let’s look at Left 4 Dead.
    Probably one of the greatest shooters i have ever played. With a defining multiplayer mode and all that. It wasn’t created in a day. They have a large staff and all of them need money to sustain their families and life.
    It seems like very few people don’t care about the developers.
    Even after you have worked your arse off for a long time, making a new AI system etc, people come in and complain it’s too short or that there isn’t enough single-player emphasis. And now people want to pay less for some good solid work? I’m fine with it if Valve decides to give out cheaper games, as long as it doesn’t hurt their quality, but you shouldn’t go in a rampage if they didn’t, or if other companies don’t. I’m sure they are doing the best they can for as few dollars as possible. But you couldn’t expect them to live off on bread and cheese? The Assistant Map Designer wants a new car as much as you do. Anyway, main point is that Valve isn’t doing it for you. They are people with outside interests. You’re a number in their multi-million dollar machine. Stop taking any insults to them personal. In fact, that’s the same with all companies. They are grown up people; they can ignore idiots as well as you can. Fanboyism, or Console Nationalism, is one of major things that is wrong with the Video Gaming industry. A person that takes insults towards a Game Company personal is way off. Why does it matter? Can’t you like a game even though someone is bashing it? Or do you want all persons to feel the exact same as you? Here is a news flash for you my friend, People are different! They like different things and do different stuff. They have as much right to complain about Valves (or Microsoft’s, or Sony’s) products as you do. It’s not like Valve will shut down if they take too much criticism.


    1) Stop trying to act like Video Game companies care about you, because they only care about your wallet


    2) stop getting mad over insults to your favourite video gaming company and/or Game. Just ignore them and they will eventually give up.

    There. I’m done.
    Expecting imminent Fanboy bashing.

  25. Niceman, I see what you’re saying, but I’m not sure you’ve followed this argument correctly. Nobody is insulting a company or anybody in here, as far as I can tell. Nor is anyone suggesting that all Valve games should be $40, except for well, Valve, if you read the article.

    Good thoughts though- however, I do believe that some companies care about their customers AND their wallets, and I find Valve to be one of them.

  26. hmm sorry about that must have gotten things mixed up.
    Even so, i still find it hard to believe that Video Game companies care about you as an individual. Sure they care about their fanbase, but they dont really hand much out for some guy yelling critics and throwing mud at them. Thats why Fanboys are easy to ignore. Anyway, as long as you arent 100-1000 people complaining, they wont really notice. They wont alter something fundemental in their products to suit 500 fans, since it will only make 500 other fans more angry.

  27. Well, Niceman, if you’d read the book from valve- “Half life 2- Raising the bar”- then you’d know that they actually want you to think that they support the gaming community and that cs:s was supposed to be an open-source mod, before valve took the project over.

  28. [quote comment=”4764″]Well, Niceman, if you’d read the book from valve- “Half life 2- Raising the bar”- then you’d know that they actually want you to think that they support the gaming community and that cs:s was supposed to be an open-source mod, before valve took the project over.[/quote]

    I am confused by that. Valve said they care about gamers in a book? They may truly care, but that is no kind of evidence.

    An open-source mod before they took over? What did it end up being?

  29. Emmm, it ended up being the CS:S, like at the start, it was a community project. Then valve saw that they needed their support, took over and maid money. Just get the ebook. But, of course, the book itself is just an advert for their games.

  30. [quote comment=”4777″]Yeah- didn’t the guys that made CSS only get like 50k each?[/quote]
    I’m pretty sure turtle rock made CS and CS:S…but I’m not sure what happened to them after that. It seems that they had some affiliation with L4D, but that could just be because it’s based of a CS mod…

  31. hm ; I could be wrong, but when I was first starting out, a copy of Half:Life automatically got you a copy of CS ( it was a mod ) but now you have to buy them seperately right? ( its been a while, im not sure on this..)

    And im almost SURE that when I bought HL:2 originaly, I got CS:S with it automatically, and now it is seperate?

    I forgot where I was going with this.

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