Gearbox's Pitchford Says Valve is 'Exploiting' Smaller Devs with Steam, Advocates Split

In a new interview with Maximum PC, Gearbox CEO Randy Pitchford claims that Valve's dominance in the PC digital distribution arena could come to hurt the industry, citing a "dangerous" conflict of interest and a lack of competition that has already lead to the exploitation of smaller developers.

"I'll tell you what, Steam helps. As a guy in this industry though, I don't trust Valve," said Pitchford, who later clarified that while he personally trusts the company, "a lot of the industry doesn't."

"Valve is taking a larger share than it should for the service it's providing," he said. "It's exploiting a lot of small guys. For us big guys, we're going to sell the units and it will be fine."

Pitchford explained that since Microsoft "is focused on the console platform" and seems unwilling to compete, Valve should split off Steam and form a separate company to improve the service's image.

"It would be much better if Steam was its own business," he said. "There's so much conflict of interest there that it's horrid. It's actually really, really dangerous for the rest of the industry to allow Valve to win."

Added Pitchford: "I love Valve games, and I do business with the company. But, I'm just saying, Steam isn't the answer. Steam helps us as customers, but it's also a money grab, and Valve is exploiting a lot of people in a way that's not totally fair."

From The Chatty
  • reply
    October 7, 2009 4:18 PM

    How can he say that, I mean, Valve has helped companies like PopCap get huge, look at what they just nailed down, $22 million in investment!

    • reply
      October 7, 2009 4:20 PM

      PopCap was no slouch prior to Steam - they've had Bejeweled on MSN Games since 2001 at least

      • reply
        October 7, 2009 4:50 PM

        I realise this, but they've really exploded since putting their games on Steam, I consider Valve and Steam as the injection they needed to get to where they are today, they have a brand now, they didn't before.

        • reply
          October 7, 2009 4:57 PM

          No, actually they did. PopCap was huge before Steam came along.

          • reply
            October 7, 2009 5:23 PM

            Didn't they do the original tropico 1 and 2 along with railroad tycoon 3 and 4? Or am I going insane.

    • reply
      October 7, 2009 4:20 PM

      But didn't they start out as browser based games anyway? Weren't they already pretty successful before they joined Steam?

    • reply
      October 7, 2009 4:22 PM

      I think better examples are Audiosurf and Garry's Mod... they're both 1 man dev teams who seem to have got pretty rich out of selling their game over Steam.

    • reply
      October 7, 2009 4:53 PM

      PopCap was a mega zillionaire company before any game hit Steam. Just to keep the facts straight. I mean more successful that a ton of console developers. Huge.

      • reply
        October 7, 2009 6:14 PM

        Point taken - What are your views on Valve/Steam's position?

    • reply
      October 7, 2009 5:04 PM

      Popcap was already rolling in the dough before Steam.

Hello, Meet Lola