In a recent interview, Valve's VP of marketing, Doug Lombardi was asked about the effect of PC games' piracy on their business, and here is his response in full:
"Well, Steam allows us to eliminate 'Day Zero' piracy - which is between gold and when the game's on the store shelves - and that's when all the real piracy, the damaging piracy happens."
"Gamers are generally good people, right? They're pretty intelligent, you know, they usually have a job. They're not derelicts out on the street, looting and robbing all of the time. But when they've been hyped up on a project and they really want to play this game and they can't wait to play it... Maybe they bought a new computer or console just to play it, and it shows up on a torrent site and it's not at the store... Temptation's going to come into play."
But with Steam you can't, right? We tell you to pre-load the game, regardless of where you're going to buy it. Download it now so you're ready to play it the day it comes out. The disc that we send out is useless until we turn it on launch day. So we don't have the problem of sending the disc to replication and having some punk grab it and put it on a bit torrent site and take the sales away from us."
We saw that in 2004 when we released Half-Life 2. Doom 3, Halo 2 and whichever version of GTA came out that year were all available on the pirate network before they came out at stores. The final version of the games. Half-Life 2 wasn't. The only difference was that Half-Life 2 had Steam anti-piracy stuff in place."