Steam's strangehold on games downloads revealed

Sales figures for Valve's Steam gaming platform were unexpectedly revealed at the London Game Conferance this week by the owner of rival Good Old Games. While GOG is selling in good numbers, it seems, Steam far outstrips everyone...

During a talk mostly focused on how Digital Rights Management (DRM) was harming the industry, Guillaume Rambourg provided a rare insight into the volume of games sold on Steam and other platforms.

According to a report on gaming news site Kotaku, Rambourg revelaled that GOG sold 40,000 copies of the Witcher 2. While other game download platforms sold 10,000 combined, Steam managed to push over 200,000 - demonstrating how much of a stranglehold Valve has on the digital download industry.

GOG famously focuses on selling older classic titles, but throughout its history has sold all games without DRM, providing digital copies of the soundtrack and manual for almost every title. With this kind of background, he railed against the inclusion of DRM and other restrictive measures in games, saying what many a pirate has said for years.

"Your customers hate DRM. DRM is making companies feel safe while they handle some business, they are trying to protect their product and protect their sales, but the reality is very different"

"The reality is DRM does not protect your content. Every game is pirated within a few hours of release or more often before it's released. DRM is not protecting your product or your sales, it's going to harm your sales in the long run."

"By putting DRM in your games you are working against your consumers, you are harming those you should cherish. It's only hurting your loyal consumers, which is counter-productive."

The case against DRM was put most succinctly me time ago by the head of Wolfire Studios, Jeffrey Rosen, when he stated in a blog post: "When considering any kind of DRM, we have to ask ourselves, 'How many legitimate users is it ok to inconvenience in order to reduce piracy?' The answer should be none."