There's a Live Blog of the DICE 2009 Keynote on the G4tv Website recapping an address by Valve's Gabe Newell on the topic of "entertainment as a service," discussing Steam and serving customers in an era of increased digital distribution and piracy. Along the way he mentions plans for Team Fortress 2 comic books, created by the team behind the TF2 character videos, making a point that audiences tend to be fans of properties, rather than specific products. Gabe makes some sage observations, including how piracy is about service, saying pirates are beating companies on service, citing the example that TV shows are not available in certain parts of the world, but pirates have them up on the web minutes after they are finished airing. He says DRM decreases service value for customers, and makes pirated copies of games look more appealing, saying anecdotal evidence appears to suggest that DRM is increasing and not decreasing piracy. Perhaps most interesting is the talk of how Steam sales have impacted sales figures, which look like they make a strong case for the idea that games are overpriced, as not only did sales increase during these promotions, but so did their profits, and Valve also noted spikes in sales of Team Fortress 2 every time they issued a free update. Here are a couple of direct excerpts from an interesting recap:
Update: There is also an article about all this on Gamasutra.
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