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Steam Success Boost Retail Sales, Says Valve

Valve has a very interesting take on the supposed downfall of retail in a post-digital world. In an interview with MCV, Jason Holtman, chief of Steam, spoke about the impact of Steam on retail stores. Their findings were surprising: sales on Steam actually created spikes in sales at retail shops.

“One thing we did with Left 4 Dead was have a free weekend, so every one of our customers were able to play the game. At the end of the weekend we give people the option to buy the game, and the Steam sales went up,” he explained. “But something that people didn’t see was that retail sales spiked, too. And of course this happens. Everyone is talking about the game, but not everyone has a credit card, or credit on their card.”

Part of it seems to come from Valve's forward-thinking approach. DLC has allowed them to bring consumers to retail even more directly: “So, for Left 4 Dead 2, Doug [Lombardi] and his team were looking at the retail side of the business, and went to GameStop and organized it so that those who bought the Special Edition from this chain received an in-game baseball bat. And then Steam was used to send out that message.”

While it could simply be a band-aid fix until digital downloads become ubiquitous, there's little argument that Valve knows how to run a business. Now if only retailers like Gamestop turned around and gave us more compelling reasons to keep shopping at their stores.

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Joe Donato Video games became an amazing, artful, interactive story-driven medium for me right around when I played Panzer Dragoon Saga on Sega Saturn. Ever since then, I've wanted to be a part of this industry. Somewhere along the line I, possibly foolishly, decided I'd rather write about them than actually make them. So here I am.
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