Steam Holiday Sales Are a Success, Valve comics on the way

To continue our previous newspost with some more interesting news straight from Gabe Newells keynote at DICE 2009 we will now have some more news to share. Gabe brings up an excellent point that successful entertainment companies will realize that fans of properties like the property, not the specific product.

They are Harry Potter fans, not just fans of the books. The team that’s making the TF2 character videos (which are awesome!) are going to be working on comics.

Valve has seen a great turnaround rate on guest passes. Friends invite their friends to play a game they already own. Game invites that also walk a gamer through a purchase process are also effective.

Time to look at the sales of Team Fortress 2 to see the impact of the updates on revenue. Holy s#!%. The sales spike by huge amounts everytime there’s a sale or major update. Steam sales went up 106% after a free update. Player minutes went up by 105%. Gifting has thrown a 71% sales increase. Surprisingly, sales from retail stores also went up by 28%. Finally, it saw 75% increase in new users. Knock knock. Who’s there? Steam. Steam who? Steam is so successful it hurts.


Looking at a third-party game, it saw increases of 36,000% with a weekend sale.

During the Holiday sales:

  • 10% sale = 35% increase in sales (real dollars, not units shipped)
  • 25% sale = 245% increase in sales
  • 50% sale = 320% increase in sales
  • 75% sale = 1470% increase in sales

How does this model apply to consoles?

Consoles will succeed for fail based on their customer relationships. Given the choice between better graphics or seeing instant sales data and customer feedback, Gabe would choose the customer data. Gabe also believes that services like Steam that begin on the PC will eventually end up on consoles.

The weekend sale for Left 4 Dead, was that just a price cut?

It was a price cut and a tease for the new Left 4 Dead content. That’s what leads to the non-linear increase in sales. There are other ways to excite customers with things like commentaries and comics that take less effort than new maps.

Does Valve see value in Facebook and MySpace for its content?

Right now, those two social networks are sources of interesting features, but not quite right for a partnership currently.

Are you worried about constant sales and having customers wait for the next sale to purchase?

When prices are dropped, Valve sees a lingering increase in sales. Valve has hired an experimental psychologist to come up with new ways to excite users with pricing models and sales. He suggested one in 25 users that buy Left 4 Dead get another Valve game for free. That’d be awesome!