How Valve Could Get Filthy Rich – Like Super Filthy Rich (And Make Us Too)

There’s two game sites I like to mention. There’s tiny difference in the cash flow direction (from my point-of-view):

  • Big Fish Games (my affiliate links which brings me $$$)
  • Steam (the site where I spend $$$ in games)

I’d like the Steam to do me same as BFG (bring me money instead of taking it…)

Right now Valve’s Steam is missing an affiliate system.

If Valve would have a great affiliate system, it would be just a matter of very little time that:

  • Soon it’d become the number one place to download non-casual games
  • Soon developers would get nice cross-selling opportunities by recommending similar games than their own ones (in Steam)
  • Soon affiliates (I’d be the first one to join) would be plastering Steam links everywhere and promoting it like crazy.
  • Soon developers would get more players playing their games in Steam and selling other people’s games and making (1) players happy (for having all games in Steam), (2) bringing money to affiliates and (3) gaining Valve more paying customers.

Everybody would win. (Except of course Valve’s competitors)

Now of course the question is: why aren’t they doing this?

Juuso Hietalahti


  1. With that logic, why do Amazon, Wal-Mart, Best Buy or any of the other incredibly large and successful companies need to advertise? Unless you’re in business (which you arent, I can tell by your comment) you wouldn’t understand why a game like GTA spent, what was it? Like 500 million advertising itself (one of the most popular franchises ever created. Waste of $$, right?).

    Fun Fact: All of the billion dollar companies I mentioned before have affiliate programs… Gee, who woulda thought that Wal-Mart, with their stores on every street corner would need free promotion.

  2. Hey! Sorry for posting in ’11, but reading this I had to comment. I actually found this with curiosity as to whether Steam did or did not have one, but here’s what would seem to be the problem. Steam has a LARGE user base, right? Well, they make, I would imagine, millions, if not billions of dollars in profit. Well, an affiliate program would increase sales obviously, BUT, you have to find ways to not only create this system, but prevent users from cheating the system. Now, I see this as a problem because it also means they need support for their affiliate program. Steam has NO phone support, and VERY limited technical support. They have tech support via a ticket helpdesk system (send them a little note, they respond, etc, sorta like an email acct on their website straight to their helpdesk team). Well, their helpdesk plain sucks, ok? It really does, it’s a joke. I had to deal with them and hated that experience. They obviously skimp on helpdesk for whatever reason and so opening helpdesk means hiring more employees and more training, etc. Maybe that wouldn’t be a problem, but just a theory.

    On top of this, one might wonder why Steam NEVER advertises their products on TV, websites, etc. Or, do they? Because I’ve yet to see them do so. They seem to have no motivation at all to advertise themselves other than popular word of mouth. Plus, all their free games offered to ONLY their site (and their paid ones as well) give them a pretty good advantage.

    Now my final, and most important point, in my opinion, are the Steam sales and promotions. They will have huge sales sometimes, which can cause errors, ESPECIALLY when it’s for a new game. Been here before so trust me when I say they sometimes sell more games then they’re allowed to. They will sell you a game, then let you download it without a proper CD Key. Problem? They don’t have enough! So they sell more copies than they have available, and users will sit there waiting for the CD Key to become available! What the hell right? They sell so many games that this has become an issue at times. Imagine if they had an even larger user base. I just see this becoming an increasing issue. I don’t know, maybe I’m blowing shit outta my ass, but I thought I’d throw up a few of my honest opinions. Nice article though, I wish they had affiliate programs… I’d definitely tell my friends about it more. Hell, I’d force some of them onto it…. lol

  3. I want affiliate linking too for steam. I would like to tell a fraction of the other (6B – 20M) people about it. I didn’t learn about steam until a year ago from coworkers. That’s what I get for playing X-Box. Go Steam!

  4. Why do any of you think they should have an affiliate program? There massive already and have so far managed to grow rapidly without the help of affiliates so why bother now? They get free exposure every day, I mean look at this article ;)

  5. Oh good heavens, tell me about it! I concur so much with this.

    As an active TF2 and Gmod player and blogger, I’ve been frothing pretty much at the mouth for a chance for Valve to have an affiliate program. I wonder if Valve has ANY idea how much they’re missing with this opportunity?

    I’m gonna drop them a line and inquire about this.

  6. So uh my point was that Steam should have an affiliate system if it wouldn’t be a terrible business decision for them.

  7. Steam offers demos but I think it is up to the game owners, not Steam. Steam has already started to offer a number of casual games recently, including (woot) the Cake Mania series. If you know who is associated with that series then you’ll know who has been letting Steam sell a lot of their games.

    It’s great because I already know and trust Steam, and they have good weekend deals and stuff, so it is easy for me to give them money. Not like other companies that don’t tell you but you have to install their thing to be able to even try the games (I don’t trust Big Fish Games at all).

  8. I think they have to consider the cost of the new waves of traffic in terms of server capacity. My guess is they’ve figured out it wouldn’t add up if they gave 30-50% to affiliates and have to buckle in to handle the new traffic, especially if they offer trials (don’t know steam very well, do they offer trials?)

  9. How many registered users on Steam? 20 million?

    There could potentially be loads more. I would actually use it if their games weren’t so expensive. Often I can find games at half their Steam-prize in regular shops in my town. Steam does offer some interesting bundles however.

  10. @Stephen: Sure, everybody knows Steam, but the games ON Steam could be marketed and get more exposure. :)

  11. Well, they’re already a household name. Why go through the hassle of paying other people when the majority of their target audience is already aware they exist? It seems to me the money they (and you) would make would be negligible.

  12. Good point Juuso, why aren’t they doing it? Maybe they want to control the marketing and all the profit themselves for some reason. Maybe they have other priorities like Sargon says. It would be cool if they did do it.

  13. You can read on the valve forums what the players are suggesting/complaining about, maybe those are the things valve is looking into first?

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