When times get rough, people want cheap entertainment. And when companies deliver, sales skyrocket. In his Thursday keynote speech at the DICE Summit, Valve CEO Gabe Newell made this point loud and clear using examples from his company’s Steam delivery platform.
For instance, after debuting Left 4 Dead at a typical $50 price point, Valve put it on sale for half off shortly after, via Steam. Sales increased by 3,000 percent, outdoing sales at the game’s original launch – a rare feat. Valve also showed a third-party game jumping 36,000 percent in sales with a weekend discount.
The message: less is more, and it pays off for developers, too. According to Valve’s data, a game at 75 percent off attracts so many new customers that it more than compensates for its lower selling price, bringing in 15 percent more profit than the same game selling to fewer customers at full price.
Newell also commented on “software as a service,” stressing that continued updates and additional free content were the keys to consumer satisfaction. He also harshly criticized strict DRM, which actually gives pirates a better gameplay experience than paying customers by restricting what can be done with the game.