Valve, as usual, is keeping their Steam sales figures a secret and refusing to release them to the public or NPD. Steam is Portal 2 developer Valve's digital distribution, digital rights management, multiplayer, and communication service. According to the head of Steam, Jason Holtman, the service provides publishers and developers with "rapid and perfected" information so releasing the sales figures to the public isn't beneficial.
According to GI.biz, with Steam, publishers and developers know through hourly updates of download figures exactly how people are responding to marketing efforts. These numbers are what Steam and Valve think are important, not charts.
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Holtman explains it by saying, “What’s important [for publishers and developers] to know is exactly how your game is doing – why it’s climbing and why it’s falling. Your daily sales, your daily swing, your rewards for online campaign number three. That’s what we provide.”
In the end, information is power and Valve has no reason to release the sales numbers to the public. Being the big dog in the digital distribution era allows them to know what works; by not releasing the sales numbers they give their competition less information on the size and demographic of the market. It's a smart business move, and at the end of the day Valve is a privately held company.
People are saying "PC games are dying" and Valve clearly doesn't think so. They could release digital numbers to debunk the theory but have chosen not, probably because of how well their titles have sold.
Refusing to release the sales data hasn't seemed to have hindered Steam in any way, but it does throw a wrench in the NPD's attempt to show digital sales. The US tracker shows the hardware and software sales each month and has adopted integrating digital sales into their methods, but with the exclusion of Steam sales, their data will never be correct as (presumably) a large portion of PC gamers use Steam and only Steam.
What do you think of Steam not releasing it sales data? Do you think they should change or keep true to their own system? It seems to be working, after all.
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