Valve wants more games on Steam, promises not to “flood the market”

By Stephany Nunneley, Tuesday, 10 May 2011 18:18 GMT

Steam manager Jason Holtman has said Valve would like to have more games available on the digital service, and more indie games in particular, but at the same time, the firm doesn’t wanttop overcrowd the service’s marketplace.

Speaking with Develop as part of its in-depth feature on Valve and its manifesto, Holtman said that value is the most important commodoity when it comes to the Steam service, not the quanity of titles available.

“I think we’re now at about 1,700 games on Steam,” Holtman said. “We like to have lots of games on Steam but we’re careful about not flooding the market. We’re a software company, and we want to distribute software that has a chance to succeed. If we just try to commoditise, that would become a problem.

“We have that Netflixian problem. We have to expose great content and make sure none of it drowns. People need a good browsing experience. We have 1,700 games on the service, but we’re not eager to say next year we’ll have 5,000. If you do that, because you’re looking to flood the market, I think you’re going to lose.”

However, just because the firm wants to focus on high-quality experiences, doesn’t mean it will be tightening restrictions on what can be submitted and what cannot.

“I don’t think we’re going to be harder on submissions,” he said. “We’ve always been open to take a look at anyone’s game. We always love being surprised by the amazing things we find.

“We love to have conversations with indie developers, and we can provide a channel that they have a good chance of succeeding on.

“We’re not ignorant of why indie games are a success in the first place, of course. We know they’re a success because they’re very fun.

“Mind you, sometimes we make mistakes with our submissions process. We’re not perfect. Usually we’ll have a group of about eight to ten people looking at all the different submissions we get.Sometimes we’ll think a game doesn’t fit, and a month later we’ll get a mail from a disgruntled developer saying ‘this is what you said, and this is how many thousands and thousands of copies of my game I have sold since you said that’.

“But we’re always looking for the same thing: Is it fun? Is it done? Does it represent value? I don’t think that we’re going to change those rules.”

Steam has around 30 million registered users, and it has been estimated that 70 percent of the PC digital download space belongs to the service.

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