Valve: boycott Steamworks, miss out

MW2 sold an "awful lot", says Holtman.

Valve has said that digital distributors who boycott PC games because they ship with Steamworks services are missing out.

Business director Jason Holtman was addressing concerns aired by Direct2Drive, Impulse and Gamersgate, all of which decided not to sell Activision's Modern Warfare 2 because integrated Steamworks tools acted as a storefront for Steam.

"To our minds, we think that if you're making a good game and it's got the services a customer wants it should get out in as many channels as possible. If you have a good portal and you're good at collecting money from folks, and attracting them, there's no reason why you shouldn't be," Holtman told GamesIndustry.biz.

"We try to make those services that developers and our customers want. Whether another distributor wants to carry them or not, we don't have any say in the matter, that's between Activision and other online distributors."

Direct2Drive accused Steamworks of forcing users to install a "Trojan Horse", but Holtman shrugged off the suggestion and said Steamworks had been designed based on feedback from consumers and developers alike.

"The interesting thing is those games that have Steamworks features in them are really made to be the things customers want. Developers are choosing the features that make the game better. There's no service where there are features you have to have, developers are choosing between those."

And he added: "There's a lot of games that came out in 2009 with Steamworks, and they'll be a lot more games in 2010 that have Steamworks."

Valve won't divulge Steam sales but Holtman explained that Modern Warfare 2 had sold on Steam like the game had in shops - enormously, in other words.

"I'm trying to think of a way to put this so you can grasp onto something about the size of it... Steam sales actually scale with the game. So if a game sells better on all channels and it's a blockbuster, it's going to move an awful lot of units on Steam," he revealed.

"As third-party triple-A titles go, it's by and large one of our greatest sellers right now. It's doing very, very well. If you look at the player numbers, you can see there's a lot of people enjoying it - not just playing it - that are constantly enjoying it now. Hats off to Infinity Ward, because they made something that people really want to play," he concluded.

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