Steam data for digital sales charts not beneficial, insists Valve

Thursday, 21st April 2011 15:04 GMT By Stace Harman

Valve keeps its Steam sales figures a secret. Steam head Jason Holtman said this isn’t a situation that’s likely to change.

Speaking in an interview with MCV, Holtman said that he believes 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.”

Steam’s metrics allow Valve to keep publishers and developers in-the-know, with hourly updates of download figures so that they can see just how people are responding to marketing efforts. Holtman believes that this is what’s important for the industry, not how a game is faring against other, unrelated titles.

“The point is, it’s not super important for a publisher or developer to know how well everyone is doing,” insisted Holtman. “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.”

Valve’s stance will be a blow for US tracker NPD, which is currently trying modernise its methods by including America digital sales data in its reports.




  1. Benjo1981

    Can’t they provide detailed information to their partners, as well as to NPD?

    #1 4 years ago
  2. wlodi

    It’s their choice not to release the data. It might mean the NPD will become irrelevant if they won’t be able to track the data from the most important digital retailers. And as far as I know, digital sales has surpassed retail sales not so long ago.

    #2 4 years ago
  3. Benjo1981

    Should it be their choice though? Is there not tension between the fact that Valve is a game developer (and so competes against other game developers for consumer spend) as well as a digital distribution platform holder? Does the latter give them an unfair advantage in doing the former?

    #3 4 years ago
  4. Lounds

    There’s probably cheaper tax on digital distribution, so Steam prob dont want to say what there sales are because eventually higher tax form will be put in place, thats my view on it anyways from a business prospective.

    #4 4 years ago
  5. Phoenixblight


    Sorry the government will find out how much they make and if they feel its necessary they will increases taxes for it. California has taxes for digital downloads btw. This is not because they are hiding info from the government thats just silly. They just don’t want to go public about their info.

    #5 4 years ago
  6. DSB

    The key phrase being “what we provide to partners”.

    Information = $$$. If you can tell people things that they don’t already know, and do it based on a massive userbase, then you can definitely turn that into cash money.

    I can’t even begin to fathom how all of that stuff works, but I know a few people who’ve worked in internet trade organizations setting up rules for collection and use of data.

    The ammount of info that you can get from a decently visited website through cookies and other things is pretty crazy, and horribly useful to vendors.

    #6 4 years ago
  7. Ireland Michael

    The only person who needs to know this kind of information is the publishers and developers of the games anyway.

    #7 4 years ago
  8. bpcgos

    I’m totally agree with valve in this matter. PC game, unlike console game, proven to have more longevity in its sale period. Comparing PC game release sale number with console game sale number a week after its launched will not prove that PC will have a poor sales or not, eventhough pc sales are way down its console counterpart!

    PC gamer knows value of a game and will not buy it in day one just because of its a AAA title being developed by AAA developer, except if its come from very reputable PC developer like Blizzard or Valve and a few indie developer, they tend to wait until its have reasonable price and or until they upgraded some of their PC hardware component in order to play at its possible maximum state(for example the first CRYSIS, I’m sure its still sold nowadays due to the latter). It wont happen in console due to limited compatibility with their ancestor and different mindset between most of the console gamer with PC gamer ( of course, savvy console gamer are not included)!

    I’m very sure, it wont hurt anybody by not releasing their sales figure to the public. It wont pleased any fanboys either (whether its PC or console fanboys).But as we can see nowadays, a lot of big developer (and publisher) still releasing their game for PC are exact prove that PC is still healthy as a platform no matter what opinion grows around it .

    #8 4 years ago
  9. Benjo1981

    ..are Valve not gaining a commercial advantage over other developers by having this information?

    #9 4 years ago
  10. DSB

    @9 Maybe if they wanted to create a generic mush of what’s hot these days, but I don’t really see that as being part of their profile, past, present or future.

    Making a creative product based on statistics or focus groups won’t lead to a very good one.

    #10 4 years ago

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