Origin boss feels Steam sales “cheapen IP”

Wednesday, 6 June 2012 20:41 GMT By Stephany Nunneley

Origin boss David DeMartini thinks massive sales on games can cheapen the IP, therefore, the firm has no plans to offer games with 75% price cuts.

Speaking with GI International, DeMartini said he understands the philosophy behind it, but it also tells consumers that if they wait long enough, they can buy a game for a huge discount.

“We won’t be doing that. Obviously [Steam] thinks it’s the right thing to do after a certain amount of time. I just think it cheapens your intellectual property,” he said. “I know both sides of it, I understand it. If you want to sell a whole bunch of units, that is certainly a way to do that, to sell a whole bunch of stuff at a low price. The game makers work incredibly hard to make this intellectual property, and we’re not trying to be Target. We’re trying to be Nordstrom.

“When I say that, I mean good value, we’re trying to give you a fair price point, and occasionally there will be things that are on sale you could look for a discount, just don’t look for 75 per cent off going-out-of-business sales.

“What Steam does might be teaching the customer: ‘I might not want it in the first month, but if I look at it in four or five months, I’ll get one of those weekend sales and I’ll buy it at that time at 75% off. It’s an approach, and I’m not going to say it’s not working for Valve. It certainly works for Valve; I don’t know if it works as well for the publishing partners who take on the majority of that haircut.”

DeMartini’s opinion on Steam’s business practices isn’t novel, as GOG managing director Guillaume Rambourg said pretty much the same thing back in April.

“Selling games at too high a discount – one often sees discounts above 80% off here and there – sends a message to gamers: this game, simply put, isn’t worth very much,” he said at the time. “Of course, you make thousands and thousands of sales of a game when it’s that cheap, but you’re damaging the long-term value of your brand because people will just wait for the next insane sale.

“Slashing the price of your game is easy. Improving the content of your offer when you release your game, that’s more ambitious.”

When it comes to sales, DeMartini said Origin has a plan in place that doesn’t involve a “drop-it-down, spring-it-up, 75% off approach,” but at present, he is unable to discuss how the scheme will work.