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Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam

Valve says it has no interest in submitting Steam sales data to planned digital game charts, reports MCV. Head of Steam Jason Holtman explains: "The idea of a chart is old. It came from people trying to aggregate disaggregated information. What we provide to partners is much more rapid and perfected information." He offers a self-fulfilling criticism that charts don't accurately reflect sales because they have failed to include digital sales in the past: "“If you look back at the way retail charts have been made, they have been proven to be telling an inaccurate story," said Holtman. "They apparently had shown how the PC format was dying when it was actually thriving." He goes on to explain it's not important to developers and publishers to know how other games are performing, just how their own games are selling.

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49. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 22, 2011, 11:36 Dades
 
DG wrote on Apr 22, 2011, 10:21:
Possibly there will be a split between Steam and own-game sales.

I'd be interested to see it but I doubt this will be the case, the press would have gotten a hold of it years ago otherwise.
 
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48. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 22, 2011, 10:21 DG
 
Dades wrote on Apr 21, 2011, 19:58:

He's correct that the public has a right to know who is behind what company. They don't have a right to proprietary information about financials though, I guess we differ with the UK in that respect. That's usually unsealed by court proceedings, not individuals.
Yeah it's highly summarised everywhere. Financials are not going to show sales-per game or any such thing, my response was to those quoted.

I'm not familiar enough with US GAAP but my assumption is revenue will probably only be disclosed as sales income, finance income and maybe rental income. Possibly there will be a split between Steam and own-game sales.
 
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47. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 22, 2011, 07:21 Dev
 
Veterator wrote on Apr 22, 2011, 00:17:
If they provide the information in such detail to partners.....what's stopping partners from releasing the information pertinent to their individual game sales? Some sort of agreement from Valve to keep it under lock and key? Or are people just afraid that the development houses will inflate the numbers?
Nothing stops them. Sometimes you'll see companies brag on sales they've done. Like bethesda announcing 5 million sold of fallout new vegas. Since thats a full steamworks game, they are announcing how many copies are registered on steam. Valve may have a deal with them not to break out in detail how many are retail vs how many on steam, but I think most of the secrecy is the individual publishers deciding not to release the numbers.
 
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46. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 22, 2011, 00:17 Veterator
 
If they provide the information in such detail to partners.....what's stopping partners from releasing the information pertinent to their individual game sales? Some sort of agreement from Valve to keep it under lock and key? Or are people just afraid that the development houses will inflate the numbers?

If they don't restrict the people they provide the data to from sharing data.......but make it their choice to share. I don't see any problem if it's done that way. It means if you're happy with your sales figures, you aren't completely destroying your next game by trying to be more like "Guy who had 10% more sales in same genre".

I just really care if games are reviewed properly, provide enough information to make an informed decision or a decision that's based on un-modified data in the original game (They didn't make a super special demo to reel you in), different (I don't want to play your take on Call of Duty), and worth the price you charge (If it's half as long as other games in the same price range and roughly the same in every other way, Im going to be pissed if I paid the same price as other games. Plus other definitions of worth: buginess, subpar gameplay/graphics/sound, other annoying things)
 
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45. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 20:26 Dev
 
Sepharo wrote on Apr 21, 2011, 20:06:
Apparently his sleuthing knocked down the entire Washington Secretary of State site.

SHUT 'ER DOWN!
They apparently got around to hitting the reset button just now.
"Orders will be filled within two weeks and sent by US postal mail."
Two weeks, how... fast. Its $5 for "Last Filed Annual Report"
 
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44. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 20:06 Sepharo
 
Apparently his sleuthing knocked down the entire Washington Secretary of State site.

SHUT 'ER DOWN!
 
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43. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 19:58 Dades
 
I have two corporations in Canada which isn't a spot on match for the USA but is fairly close in many aspects. It's likely just their annual report which isn't going to give any in depth details. We file articles of incorporation and all of that stuff up here as it's required by law but you aren't going to find a detailed analysis of our revenue in the annual report, just barebones financial statements. I think my accountant throws in a basic cash flow report and whatever else the CRA requires but it's always the minimum they require. It's just a set of documents that shares an overview of the company for a year, people shouldn't get too excited. I'm not sure how the Secretary of State regulates disclosure but I wouldn't get my hopes up considering the rampant tax dodging and corruption over there.

He's correct that the public has a right to know who is behind what company. They don't have a right to proprietary information about financials though, I guess we differ with the UK in that respect. That's usually unsealed by court proceedings, not individuals.

This comment was edited on Apr 21, 2011, 20:08.
 
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42. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 19:46 Dev
 
DG wrote on Apr 21, 2011, 18:10:
Washington Secretary of State: here. $5 for accounts, if someone's buying anyway I'd love a scanned copy? Form only allows billing to USA.
Link doesn't work for me.
I'm not going to spend money on finding out the stuff, but if someone wants to, let us know
 
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41. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 18:10 DG
 
[tl;dr: Valve's accounts]

Krovven wrote on Apr 21, 2011, 16:16:
If I got to the IRS and request a copy of Valve's 2009 financials they should refuse that?

Valve is not a public company. You have zero right to request Valve's financials, nor anyone elses.

Public companies, you can get financial information, but certainly not through the IRS.

necrosis wrote on Apr 21, 2011, 14:25:
Tumbler wrote on Apr 21, 2011, 13:31:
This is very frustrating as a consumer to have no idea what reality is on something like this. I would like to see valve, as well as all sales channels in general, regulated to force this data to be released on a quarterly basis at least. From the stand point of protecting the public it makes sense that you get a record of what a company is grossing and how on a regular basis to compare it their tax filings.

It seems like this info is being withheld deliberately so the public cannot make assessments of how these digital sales are doing. Instead we have to work with data from the company as if that info is not bias. Oh you sold a million copies of that? Oh well that must be a good game then right? Sales statistics should not be a marketing tool if they are not true.
What the hell purpose would this information serve to Bob the consumer? Really. The only people that truly have any business knowing this information are parties directly involved and shareholders if its a public company.

Wait, what? People have no right to tax returns (nor should they have, the relevant bits should be discernible from the accounts) but surely all US accounts are available somewhere?
{edit: I've found the SEC, thought public companies only. Seems there's some kind of state-by-state system for private companies? Aha! Found them on the Washington Secretary of State: here. $5 for accounts, if someone's buying anyway I'd love a scanned copy? Form only allows billing to USA. Presumably some sort of copyright though.}

I am an accountant in the UK. Here, *all* companies *must* file their accounts and other documents with the Registrar of Companies which makes all filings publicly available for downloading or hardcopy, for a nominal fee (£1 to £4) so that the Registrar is self-funded. You can have any and all official filings: forms appointing directors, issue of new share capital, annual returns (summarises directors, shareholders etc), details of securities granted... {edit: Companies House is *much* better than the Washington link for Valve above, we get a full list of all documents ever filed}.

The general public absolutely does have a right to this information. A company is a legal person under the control of natural legal persons and thus the public has a right to know whom the controlling minds are. Otherwise any con man can hide behind the veil of incorporation. Or hey, how do you know someone who claims to represent the company actually has any ties at all?

Secondly, a company incurs debts in its own right - if the company collapses the debts are not passed on to the shareholders. The public therefore had a right to assess the financials, allowing it to make a somewhat-informed decision about the financial health of the company and how much at risk those debts are. Access to information is the quid pro quo of Limited Liability.

Thirdly, a company is not a natural person, it has no feelings or sense of self so why would it have right to privacy? A company does not inherently exist, it only does so because the law recognises it, and how is something to be recognised if it is unknowable? Such rights it has are such that the people, through it's government, chooses to grant in the pursuit of the public good through trade, competition and economics. A privilege granted from self interest.
 
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40. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 17:52 Krovven
 
I just feel like more info like this should be public.

Tumbler...how much money did you make last year? How much did you pay in taxes? What did you spend your money on? Why not make it all public? It isn't anyone's business.

 
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39. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 17:51 ASJD
 
Yes, and Sony says the Playstation 3 is the best selling system of all time.

Bullshit, provide the numbers or shut the fuck up.
 
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38. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 17:31 Krovven
 
Read the comments on the Gamasutra article I've added to my message as well.

Doesn't say anything different than what the other BLAWWWG said. Except Gamasutra reported the information without tacking on ridiculously inaccurate personal statements.

I think 'everyone' (including me) would love to see detailed sales numbers, down to every unit...for nothing more than sheer curiosity.

However, the public is not entitled to that information, and I will argue that fact till I'm blue in the face.

Edit: To add, if I was the head of any publisher I would not allow Valve to release specific sales numbers to the public. It wouldn't be in my companies best interest. I don't think it's Valve's business to release specific sales figures per vendor (Steam, D2D, wal mart, etc) and would be up to each publisher to do so on their own, if they chose to...which they do not.

This comment was edited on Apr 21, 2011, 17:50.
 
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37. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 17:02 ASeven
 
Krovven wrote on Apr 21, 2011, 16:57:
Pretty sure Holtman was saying in a nice way...'it's no business of the publishers on Steam to know how well their competition is doing on Steam.'.

It's not up to Valve to release their sales figures. It's up to the individual publishers to do so.

To be honest I'm rather neutral over this. On one hand Steam has no obligation to reveal numbers and doing so might actually hurt them in the long-run. On the other hand they could charge for sending the numbers to NPD, it would also help PC gaming in general to have specific numbers and it would help developers take a measure on how well certain genres do within Steam. Either way I think both sides in this argument have valid points to hold.
 
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36. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 17:00 Tumbler
 
Tumbler, none of what you've said has anything to do with the topic of providing accurate sales numbers per product. As Verno already stated.

Worry about enjoying the games that are released...not whether Valve has hidden $50 million in an offshore account.

I KNOW IT'S THERE GOD DAMMIT!!!! SHOW ME THE TAXES!!!! Freak

I don't know why this has gone so far, I just feel like more info like this should be public.

Valve continues to make excellent games, I'm enjoying portal 2 a lot. I hope they put more effort into support after release than they did with Portal. I was hoping for a lot of new levels and just more. I'm hoping that the MP side gets this since it's a different experience that seems like you could add new level packs or something similar. It's exciting to think they could deploy this via steam on the PS3 as well.
 
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35. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 16:57 Krovven
 
Pretty sure Holtman was saying in a nice way...'it's no business of the publishers on Steam to know how well their competition is doing on Steam.'.

It's not up to Valve to release their sales figures. It's up to the individual publishers to do so.

 
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34. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 16:56 ASeven
 
Krovven wrote on Apr 21, 2011, 16:54:
ASeven wrote on Apr 21, 2011, 16:51:
This blog by an industry marketer has an interesting view on this.

And they ruined any credibility with their editorial with the closing statement...

Right now Valve is showing they don't really care to help small developers.

Steve Peterson can't possibly be serious with that comment.

Read the comments on the Gamasutra article I've added to my message as well.
 
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33. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 16:54 Krovven
 
ASeven wrote on Apr 21, 2011, 16:51:
This blog by an industry marketer has an interesting view on this.

And they ruined any credibility with their editorial with the closing statement...

Right now Valve is showing they don't really care to help small developers.

Steve Peterson can't possibly be serious with that comment.

 
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32. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 16:51 Krovven
 
Tumbler, none of what you've said has anything to do with the topic of providing accurate sales numbers per product. As Verno already stated.

Worry about enjoying the games that are released...not whether Valve has hidden $50 million in an offshore account.

 
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31. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 16:51 ASeven
 
This blog by an industry marketer has an interesting view on this.

Also, the comments on Gamasutra over this are very enlightening. Remember, Gamasutra is an industry-centric place and most comments are made by devs.
 
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30. Re: Digital Chart Initiative Losing Steam Apr 21, 2011, 16:43 Tumbler
 
It's an incorrect statistic that tends to be based on an incorrect understanding of tax code and a failure to look at corporate 10Ks, but I'll play along. You know what doesn't create new jobs? Cutting taxes on the rich, as they're here and not going anywhere. You know what preserves jobs? Cutting taxes on corporations, as a significant amount went overseas to avoid our taxes. Taxing corporations heavily is stupid, in old days it caused them to move over state lines. In modern, more global times it causes them to cross international borders.

I wasn't trying to use the comment as a football and kick it around. It's a simple fact that seems like a good reason to be involved in how the tax system works. It doesn't take long to explain why this statistic doesn't necessarily mean what people think it means but they'd understand that if they could go look at why a company paid not taxes. Not unlike how people may not understand that some Americans pay no federal income taxes. It's not that they are not paying taxes, far from it, in order to offset your federal tax burden that means you are paying a @#$%@#% load of local taxes that exempt that income from federal.

Let the revenues flow through the companies mostly unhindered and instead tax them as the go down to the individual.

A lot of revenue tends to disappear suspiciously during the process and things are shifted overseas to avoid taxes. Why would you pay yourself 50 million here and let it get taxed at 50% or more (assuming it's a "bonus") when you can spend that money on buying something at another company you own (overseas) and just "overpay" for that item by approx $50 million. Coffee cup from the Cayman Islands, $50,000,002.50. Then pay yourself from that company to a tax friendly bank. You'll lose some money in the process but ultimately make far more than paying taxes here. (And yes I realize it's not this easy)

I think you are discounting how easily keeping this process private will allow people to avoid taxes that should be paid here. If tax returns were public you'd have way more people looking over the expenses like this and hopefully detect this kind of thing.
 
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