Valve’s director of business development Jason Holtman says his company is no fan of exclusivity when it comes to game distribution.
His opinion was that exclusives fostered fragmentation of the industry, which he saw as bad for gamers in the long term.
“We have our own business, but at the end of the day, we see ourselves as an entertainment company, a company that partners with other entertainers. And we’re all part of this bigger, broader business," he said.
“If we encourage that, I think it’s actually a generalised benefit as opposed to ‘gosh, we have to have everybody and lock them up’.”
He also believed exclusivity to be a risky venture for game developers.
“Places to put your content shouldn’t be limited by exclusives, unless you’re awfully good at it. The problem is that you’re making a prediction about whoever you’re going exclusive with - they have to be buying you out of the other opportunities,” he said.
“Maybe it makes perfect sense, if somebody over-indexes it and pays you too much.
“But maybe the risk is too real. Like, how do I know that delaying this a month, or not being on this other platform, or not being in this place...how do I know that when you gave me extra marketing, and some odd hundreds and thousands of pounds, that I wasn’t giving up hundreds and thousands of customers, and millions of pounds? I don’t know, it’s just too risky.”
Holtman was also adamant that Valve wanted other platforms to succeed, as success within the games industry would breed more success.
“When people are building other stuff, we love it,” he said.
He would even recommend designers go elsewhere if exclusivity was what they were after, especially if other companies were offering them a better deal.
However, non-exclusivity was always something he pushed for.
“You should go to the other thing, if they’re building something better than us. You should go to the other thing. But while you go there, you should stay here too. There doesn’t have to be a choice,” he said.