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Valve Beats Google, Apple For Profits Per Employee

Soulskill posted more than 3 years ago | from the are-we-supposed-to-call-them-an-evil-empire-yet dept.

Businesses 194

AndrewGOO9 writes "It should come with little surprise that Gabe Newell is well on his way to being one of the wealthiest men in gaming. In an age when console gamers would have many believe that the PC was on its way out the door, Newell and Valve's Steam stand as sentinels of the platform, offering a ridiculous amount of content to the 30 million users. With the lion's share of the downloadable market on the PC, it's no wonder that Steam has become the go-to for many and an incredible financial opportunity for Newell and Valve. According to Forbes, 'Newell says that, per employee, Valve is more profitable than Google and Apple. A potential buyer was rumored to have made an acquisition offer a few years back for the Steam piece only, but Newell supposedly refused to split the online storefront from Valve's game-publishing arm.'"

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If they're so profitable (1)

grantek (979387) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229708)

If they're so profitable, then where's my linux client, damnit!?

Re:If they're so profitable (4, Insightful)

SudoGhost (1779150) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229752)

No point in having a Linux client when most people use Windows, and even a large section of Linux users dual-boot into Windows for gaming anyways. In the gaming market, Linux isn't profitable.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

xororand (860319) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229788)

a large section of Linux users dual-boot into Windows for gaming anyways.

[citation needed] and I don't know many Linux users who do.

In the gaming market, Linux isn't profitable.

http://2dboy.com/2009/02/12/world-of-goo-linux-version-is-ready/ [2dboy.com]
http://2dboy.com/2009/10/26/pay-what-you-want-birthday-sale-wrap-up/ [2dboy.com]

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35229814)

then you don't know many gamers who have a linux install :/ at uni, people tend to get into using linux for labs and coursework, then realise its superior in many ways for most tasks, but they'll still be using windows to play their games.

personally I use windows _only_ for games, and tbh the versions of world of goo etc. that work on linux mostly don't work that well (though it depends on your config) whereas on windows they tend to work well out of the box, its only natural for people to choose windows if its (mostly) hassle free, for games.

nothing wrong with it tbh, most unis offer free windows installations anyway, I say use the tool which works best for you (eg. I use firefox because of great addons and launch chrome when I want to check something quickly and want something which is fast - debates on which is better are dumb, just use whatever works best for you...)

Re:If they're so profitable (2)

Jorl17 (1716772) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231660)

Then you are a poor soul. Lower my Karma, but I am never touching Windows again, unless I'm forced to do so in my job. It disgusts me to support and see other people support the tirany of Microsoft.

Re:If they're so profitable (2)

kwenf (1531623) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229836)

[citation needed] and I don't know many Linux users who do.

What I think he meant was "it's the only option linux users have".

To be fair those numbers were inflated by people who wanted to show that a game on linux can be profitable.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229910)

[citation needed] and I don't know many Linux users who do.

What I think he meant was "it's the only option linux users have".

Huh? The only? [winehq.org]

To be fair those numbers were inflated by people who wanted to show that a game on linux can be profitable.

[citation needed]. And please DO your homework first

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

kwenf (1531623) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230004)

Huh? The only?

Wine is awesome and all, but it doesn't (fully) support a lot of new games, and many games have only partial functionality.

[citation needed]. And please DO your homework first

Okay, so maybe I was full of shit (just spent 20 minutes googling for citations, couldn't find anything), but I remember I saw threads on forums/websites about pre-ordering the game to support linux gaming. Maybe it wasn't as huge as it seemed to be. I don't know.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

c0lo (1497653) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230068)

Huh? The only?

Wine is awesome and all, but it doesn't (fully) support a lot of new games, and many games have only partial functionality.

Ah, your issue was with "gaming in general". Well, there are many gaming platforms, and not all the games on one runs on others: how's that different with Wine?

Okay, so maybe I was full of shit (just spent 20 minutes googling for citations, couldn't find anything), but I remember I saw threads on forums/websites about pre-ordering the game to support linux gaming. Maybe it wasn't as huge as it seemed to be. I don't know.

See why doing your homework is good? ;)

didn't i have this conversation in 1999? (0)

decora (1710862) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230404)

jesus all the same stuff keeps coming back. linux game threads are like groundhog's day.

Okay campers, rise and shine! And don't forget your booties, cause its COLD out there today!

Re:didn't i have this conversation in 1999? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35230592)

jesus all the same stuff keeps coming back. linux game threads are like groundhog's day.

You're quite rude, you know? Jumping in the conversation only to scribble "All you're sayin' is boring for me". Well, thank you for informing us, but allow me to point this doesn't make your posting relevant at all. Try harder next time.

Re:If they're so profitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35231042)

Windows has 90 percent of the market. All other desktop/laptop OSes combined are, quite frankly, irrelevant.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

mwvdlee (775178) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230666)

[citation needed] and I don't know many Linux users who do.

Equally [citation needed]

Annecdotal evidence, so still [citation needed].

Two can play that game (and on Linux too, coincidentally).

Re:If they're so profitable (3, Interesting)

Ben4jammin (1233084) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231034)

From Games Radar:

Steam raked in nearly one billion dollars in 2010 (http://www.gamesradar.com/pc/call-of-duty-black-ops/news/steam-raked-in-nearly-one-billion-dollars-in-2010/a-2011020485712484007/g-20100430155446363032)

What are the sales figures for the whopping 2 games you linked?

Re:If they're so profitable (2)

MogNuts (97512) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231046)

I always love when people throw out strawmen.

5 casual games on Linux does not a market make. It would be *irresponsible* for any company who actually wants to make money to serve the Linux market for games.

Re:If they're so profitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35230730)

They wouldn't NEED to dual-boot if there was a linux client released. Also, it would be IMMENSELY profitable if gaming companies started to back linux. The only reason I use windows is to game. If I could have ALL my games work under linux WITHOUT WINE, I'd make the 100% switch.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

TheRaven64 (641858) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231650)

Wrong argument. You're saying:
  • You only run Windows for games.
  • If a game doesn't have a Linux version, you'll buy the Windows version.
  • Otherwise, you'd buy the Linux version.
  • If all of your games had Linux versions, you wouldn't use Windows.

But what's in it for the game company? You'll buy the Windows version anyway if they don't produce a Linux one, so why should they bother? Making you switch from Windows to Linux isn't really an incentive for most game companies...

Re:If they're so profitable (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35230756)

... and even a large section of Linux users dual-boot into Windows ...

chicken & egg

Re:If they're so profitable (4, Insightful)

tylersoze (789256) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229754)

Yeah, but that's exactly why they *are* profitable. ;)

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231064)

Really? I heard it was all down to hats.

Re:If they're so profitable (4, Insightful)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229774)

A Linux client sounds amazing! You'll be able to buy all of those Windows Only games, see your disk space drop slowly while they download, then realise that the "Platinum" rating they get for WINE is actually rubbish and you spent £25 on something you can't use.

Don't take this the wrong way; I gamed on Linux for over a year, fiddling with WINE config and game ini files to get the damn things to load, and it was Good. I learned a lot. However, much like you *can* run a diesel car on cooking oil, it's far more convenient to fill it up at a petrol station than to buy carton after carton of catering fat. Right now, it's more convenient to PC game on Windows than Linux, and Gabe knows this.

Oh gimme a break! (2)

Jeppe Salvesen (101622) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229876)

On my Mac (the horror! the horror!) I can log on, purchase and download the games that are released for Mac. I can even play them.

The trick is that once the Steam client has been ported, each individual game developer chooses whether to invest money in porting their awesome creation to OSX.

If Valve ported Steam to Linux, that would open a similar calculation for the developer. It would also mean that indie developers could develop on the Linux stack and sell their games to those who run Linux. Given careful selection of libraries, it's possible to run the same code on Linux, OSX and Windows. It would be sweet. But it depends on whether Valve thinks there would be enough money in the Linux market to pay for the development of a Linux client.

Re:Oh gimme a break! (0)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230006)

Yeah, but Windows is Windows and OS/X is OS/X. There's little difference between them.

Linux is complicated [distrowatch.com]

Re:Oh gimme a break! (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230200)

Windows isnt just windows either, it is 95, 98, 98se, me, 2000, xp, vista and 7

All games specify that they only run on version X or newer, i assume OS X works the same way, with some software requiring 10.5 or better, and refusing to run on 10.4

Just do the following for your linux games, support debian/ubuntu and perhaps the redhat derivatives with version support for 1-2 years old releases max (upgrading your release is typically free), debian/ubuntu probably catches 80% of gaming interested linux users out there, and those die-hard slackware nuts are probably much more likely to install ubuntu on a seperate partition rather then buying/installing windows.

Re:Oh gimme a break! (1)

inasity_rules (1110095) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230286)

Just do the following for your linux games, support debian/ubuntu and perhaps the redhat derivatives with version support for 1-2 years old releases max (upgrading your release is typically free), debian/ubuntu probably catches 80% of gaming interested linux users out there, and those die-hard slackware nuts are probably much more likely to install ubuntu on a seperate partition rather then buying/installing windows.

You don't have to be that limited. A lot of linux games I've used (e.g. heretic II) came with a installer. You don't have to distribute them as a .deb or .rpm. In fact you could make things nice and platform independent with your steam client acting as a "games package manager." You know, re-invent the wheel and all that...

Re:Oh gimme a break! (1)

Vectormatic (1759674) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230544)

yeah i know, i loved the fact that my ut2k4 windows DVDs also have a linux install script on them.

You dont need to standardize on deb/rpm, but i thought sticking with one major distro/family would make support somewhat easier

slackware users (1)

higuita (129722) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230348)

Die-hard Slackware users will hack the game, libraries and play with symlinks and LD_LIBRARY_PATHs environment to put the game running on the slackware... no need for ubuntu...
You see, that is what you gain by knowing how the system works, you can fix/tune it for your needs! :)

Re:Oh gimme a break! (1)

L4t3r4lu5 (1216702) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230598)

No, Windows is Windows. 2000, xp, Vista, 7, they're kernel revisions. 5, 5.1, 6, 6.1 respectively. All Windows 7 is Kernel 6.1.

Linux is not Linux. Linux us any of a multitude of kernel versions with their own idiosyncrasies, package formats, UIs, all manner of other changes between distributions and versions of those distributions.

I'm not saying that gaming on Linux is impossible; Been there, done that, got the makefile. What I'm saying is that it won't be the Ubuntu / Debian / Mandriva / OpenSuse / Arch / Fedora forums which get hammered for support, it'll be Steam and Valve, and they'll have to provide that support because they sold the product. It's much more complex than supplying an install script.

Re:Oh gimme a break! (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231234)

Compile Statically and it runs on everything that is that processor type.

Come on, WTF is wrong with everyone all afraid of statically linking something like a game. OMG Exploit! in the GAME... not the system, the game.

Re:Oh gimme a break! (1)

ProbablyJoe (1914672) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230302)

There's less difference between OS X and Linux than there is between OS X and Windows. Windows only games use Direct X, which only works on Windows. For a game to be ported to OS X or Linux, it needs to be ported to OpenGL. This is probably the main bit of hard work in porting the game, and once that's done, there's not likely to be a huge amount of work in getting it to work on Linux once it's working on OS X. This is why it's so infuriating that there's Steam on Mac, and yet Linux is left ignored.

Re:Oh gimme a break! (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230436)

Nonsense. Most commercial games have worked across distros with few problems since the early days. I just installed the Q3A demo from 1999 just to test: sure, the installer is broken (with Steam, it would be built-in), but the game runs. 800 FPS in demo001. That's better luck than I had with Bioshock (took several hours to get to run properly) and Saint's Row 2 (is broken, runs double speed) installed with Steam on Windows 7 64 bit, or getting anything at all to run with outdated versions of OS X.

Re:Oh gimme a break! (1)

Alex Belits (437) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231164)

No. The same binary runs on all Linux distributions for any given hardware (PC in this case). I dare you to show me an exception that was not specifically made to behave that way (and if you won't, we will all assume that you post from Microsoft PR company).

Re:If they're so profitable (2)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229900)

Right now, it's more convenient to PC game on Windows than Linux, and Gabe is helping to perpetuate this.

FTFY..

I have seen comments to the effect that Valve bugfix their own games to run better on WINE, not sure how true it is though.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230638)

He's a businessman. He's in it for the money, and maybe to have fun making games. (As far as I can tell from interviews and the like, he still actually enjoys that part.)

The day that people would get Linux for a Linux-exclusive AAA title (like people bought 360s for Halo, or PS3s for MGS4) is the day that a Linux client is even a possibility.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

somersault (912633) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230850)

The one guy I heard of that got a PS3 for MGS4 actually bought a HDTV and PS3 and then sold them all once he completed it.. then again that guy was a bit strange. We're not talking about exclusives here, we're talking about cross platform games. For any games that already have an OSX port, getting the actual games to run on Linux would take very little extra work. I think the existence of WINE is making it a pretty easy decision for them right now though.

I bought an XBox recently. I certainly didn't do it for the exclusives, I just did it because a lot of my friends that I wanted to play online with can't afford PS3s.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

Lumpy (12016) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231032)

I gamed on linux for 2 years.

Problem is Loki went out of business and took linux gaming with them. Honestly, Linux is for real tasks like work, engineering, chemistry, design, etc... it's not a fisher price toy like Windows.

I dont see many games that run on IBM mainframes or supercomputers.... Where is solitaire for WATSON?

and honestly, THAT approach is what sill continue linux in the business world. No games = more professional to a Lot of executives.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

bakamorgan (1854434) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229858)

I bet they will start looking at linux when it has a market share about the size of apple... which is a ways to go.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229862)

What for? To sell all the games that run on linux?

Steam did DRM correctly, log in and download and play your games anywhere. You can play your game on multiple computers, just not at the same time.... which is exactly what one license is for!
Valve ant-cheat got rid of hackers, keeping the games fun to play. Steam basically saved PC gaming.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

Americium (1343605) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229934)

Steam was the main reason I buying video games. Other software download services were often no better or worse than a torrent download, only keeping your game available to download for a yr or two, allowing a certain number of downloads, and not offering updates.
 

Steam offered a service well beyond any what torrent site did. Constantly updated games, unlimited downloads, as well as a friend network built in, like xbox live. This, combined with very good deals on games, made me think it worthwhile to purchase games on steam. Honestly, it's sad that a service as good as Steam or Itunes is something unique, as it really just offers the things I would expect. If the music industry hadn't been a-holes about licensing, there would have been services similar to itunes right after napster appeared, and if they didn't try raping you, and allowed cheaper music, like $5 albums, they could have had a real chance at stemming the music piracy.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230052)

I can do that with my games from gog.com. Steam is just an annoyance, they can pull the license for all your games at any time with or without justification if their software claims you're cheating. It's hardly infallible, they have had to apologize the in the past for mistakes it's made.

What's worse is that if they flag you on one game you can end up with your entire collection being disabled. Personally, I only buy when there's a massive sale and I can get the game for under a couple dollars, but there's folks out there that trust Steam with hundreds of dollars worth of games. Good luck getting them back if somebody hacks your account.

Re:If they're so profitable (2)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230468)

I didn't think VAC (the thing in Steam that monitors cheating) pulled the license on your games whatsoever, but rather flagged you as a cheater on $GAME, which in turn caused servers for $GAME that cared to not permit you to play. In general (as in, it can trivially be done in most games that allow play on user-run servers), it's both possible to have servers that neither use nor check VAC, and it's possible to still play your game after VAC has blacklisted you -- you just can't play it multiplayer on VAC enabled servers.

It could be possible you are referring to something else though?

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

Dexy (1751176) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230992)

Mod parent informative. Although GP is nothing more than the usual "Steam DRM hurr durr" troll.

What usually happens is that if you get VAC banned playing a game on a certain engine, you get VAC banned for all games using that engine. So for example, if you hack on CS 1.6 and get VAC banned, you would still be able to play on non-VAC servers as the parent rightly said, but you would be banned from playing on VAC-secured servers in CS 1.6 and all other GoldSrc multiplayer games. You would still be able to play on VAC-secured servers for games on the newer Source engine though (CSS, TF2, L4D etc)

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

Man On Pink Corner (1089867) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229868)

Son, you don't make money by writing a lot of checks -- or a lot of Linux code, for that matter.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231000)

It's not Linux can't be profitable. It's that Linux doesn't have enough of a marketshare in the consumer market to make it worth Steam's efforts. Launching a Steam client means more than coding. It also means support as well. Valve is relatively a small company by Apple's or MS standards so adding personnel for a small number of users doesn't make a lot of business sense.

Re:If they're so profitable (1)

The MAZZTer (911996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230920)

Steam runs fine under Wine, especially with the new webkit browser engine.

They Need Competition (n/t) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35229766)

IMO

Re:They Need Competition (n/t) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35229818)

They already do. Ever heard of http://www.direct2drive.com/ ? [direct2drive.com]

Re:They Need Competition (n/t) (1)

totally bogus dude (1040246) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229840)

There's also Stardock's Impulse platform and Gamer's Gate. I think Steam took off because they were riding on the coattails of an already very-popular game. It's all about getting enough marketshare to start with that your platform becomes convenient, rather than annoying.

Re:They Need Competition (n/t) (1)

Tacticus.v1 (1102137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229866)

Plus the "It just works", and the benefits of not having to give a frak about steam copies is awesome

no more where the frak are my disks
the steam community changes are also quite nice

Re:They Need Competition (n/t) (1)

hedwards (940851) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230054)

It's 2011, just rip your discs to disk and use a relevant utility to mount them. You really ought to be backing up the discs anyways, may as well use the images for installing as well.

Re:They Need Competition (n/t) (1)

Tacticus.v1 (1102137) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230100)

Already have been doing this Just more work to be honest

Forgot to mention that publishers who are not bastards also let me take advantage of the weak us and strong au dollar :)

Re:They Need Competition (n/t) (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35230096)

...give a frak... where the frak...

This isn't GameFAQs. You can say fuck.

Re:They Need Competition (n/t) (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230514)

I've bought one game under each of them, specifically due to not being available on Steam. Demigod from Impulse (which is kind of like "Steam done poorly", but Demigod = win) and Pathologic from Gamer's Gate (which is more or less a web storefront with download links to what you buy). I've also bought the first Penny Arcade game from Greenhouse (which is similar to Gamer's Gate as far as experience is concerned).

The daily sale popups from Impulse are annoying though -- they make me want to shut it down any time I'm not actually playing Demigod right that second.

Re:They Need Competition (n/t) (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230944)

If you like Demigod (I did too, until I learned that Impulse wouldn't run on 64bit Windows 7 or Vista -- maybe this has since changed) you should check out League of Legends. It's absolutely free, has a TON more content, a huge player base, and is actually a high-quality game. You can get everything available with in-game currency which is earned through playing -- the only exception is that you must purchase "Riot Points" in order to buy skins for your champions (heroes), but they provide purely asethetic value and no advantage in-game.

www.leagueoflegends.com

Re:They Need Competition (n/t) (1)

bigstrat2003 (1058574) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231222)

If you like Demigod (I did too, until I learned that Impulse wouldn't run on 64bit Windows 7 or Vista -- maybe this has since changed)

I currently run Impulse just fine on Win7 64-bit. I never had issues, but I didn't get Win7 right away so they might have fixed it by the time I got on board.

Re:They Need Competition (n/t) (1)

Onuma (947856) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231584)

That's what killed it for me. I bought Demigod around the same time I got VistaX64. Of course I checked for a solution on the Impulse forums, where Stardock stated they "had no plans to support x64 systems in the foreseeable future".

Not sure if it's actually supported now, or you just got lucky (some people did still run it normally even when I was checking it out). Hopefully the former, though the lack of Stardock's insight is still disappointing...I've been running 64-bit systems since 2004 and to see things in 2009 still completely unsupported was crappy.

That being said, I like the level design and flow of Demigod. The hero selection was limited, but diverse nonetheless. I especially liked that you could choose how to spec your hero, as well as which items to purchase to augment them - I think I ended up using Oak most of the time because of his versatility.
What really attracted me to LoL was the metagame -- you as a player are the "Summoner" who levels up over the course of numerous matches; you select your champion to control each game and play in the moba/DotA style. No other moba has a metagame anywhere near League, which is why I've now got 1200+ games under my belt in about a year and a half. The fact that it was free definitely attracted me initially, although I've since spent money on it -- I buy games I like to play. You can buy it retail, or download it for free.

Half Life 2: Episode 3! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35229832)

Do I need to say more? Now that there's money, where's the game? :(

Apples to well...Apples (1, Interesting)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229904)

One thing on the profitability per employee thing, at least with Apple the figure most likely includes retail employees as well. With the latest figures I could find and from my back of the envelope calculations Apple made 14 billion with about 50k employees, for a profit of roughly $280k/employee. Meanwhile valve made, according to the article $55 million on 250 employees, for a profit/employee of $220k. Right off the bat, unless Forbes is using different numbers than I am, you see a discrepancy. Furthermore, if we limit the discussion to non-retail employees(of which Apple has about 35k), then the profit/employee jumps to over $400k/employee, much higher than Valves. Still an amazing company, but there are some "interesting" numbers in the article....

Re:Apples to well...Apples (2)

N1AK (864906) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229966)

Furthermore, if we limit the discussion to non-retail employees

Which we would do why? It makes about as much sense as suggesting we limit the discussion to the number of African-American females (none), unless you're suggesting that Apple's retail employees work for free or apple should/could drop out of retail entirely.

Re:Apples to well...Apples (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230090)

No, you have to sort of separate out the retail from the non-retail aspects of Apple to get a fair comparison because Valve doesn't have any sort of real "retail" presence. To get truly accurate numbers you would have to suss out the profitability of the retail section vs. the rest of the company but those numbers aren't easy to come by as Apple doesn't really release figures in that granularity.

Re:Apples to well...Apples (1)

MrHanky (141717) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230188)

You mean, the numbers are only fair if Apple gets to win.

Re:Apples to well...Apples (2)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230230)

No, Apple may still very well lose that comparison, I actually don't give a shit as I don't hold any Apple stock(and obviously no share in Valve as its a privately held company), but if you are going to go and make claims like this then you should make the control variables be as close as possible.

Re:Apples to well...Apples (1)

Zenin (266666) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230494)

And arbitrarily cutting random classes of workers only distorts the very variables you are so worked up over.

As a company, as a business model, as a management strategy, however you'd like to word it Valve unquestionably produces greater revenue and profits per human head used then Apple.

The fact Apple chooses to use some of those heads for retail work is simply that; Their choice. And it's the entire point; Apple's business choices, including human resources, affect their profits and revenues per-capita.

Re:Apples to well...Apples (1)

UnknowingFool (672806) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231072)

Valve probably has part-time employees but their numbers are probably small. ie. an intern or receptionist, etc. Apple with a retail presence has a much larger amount of part-time employees. Incidentally Apple takes into account retail into their calculations. If you read any of their financial statements, they don't show number of employees. They use equivalent employee hours or something like that. Basically they divide the part time hours by 40 to figure out equivalent full-time and then add it to the number of full-time

There are reasons why many companies do not count part-time employees in some of their calculations. Namely benefits for a full-time costs a company much more than part-time. Health care costs alone are significant. So what's the right answer here? Do you just cut off the part-timers? I would think many HR people could have hours of endless debates about it.

Re:Apples to well...Apples (1)

Captain Hook (923766) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230222)

Valve doesn't have any retail employees because it doesn't need them, Apple does because it has to.

You could argue the Apple could dump all of it's Apple Stores and just sell online or through 3rd Party retailers and thus reduce it's staff count but I believe the Apple Stores are as much as about Apples image as it is about direct sales and by dumping the Apple Stores would find it's harder to sell it's products at the premimum it does.

Only time would tell whether the reduced head count would increase the revenue / person or decrease it due to a slight decrease in the profit margin.

The argument makes as much sense as saying Apple shouldn't count warehousing/shipping staff (if Apple employ these directly - I don't if they do or not) because Valve doesn't need those staff. Revenue/Head isn't about comparing similar staff between companies, it's about comparing how companies do operate, and surprise suprise and purely data based business where computers do the work needs less staff.

Re:Apples to well...Apples (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230236)

Actually overall revenue/head isn't all that useful a statistic no matter how you slice it. For example Apple could increase it's revenue per head by shedding it's retail business but overall revenue and profits, which at the end of the day are the true measures of success, would suffer. If you are going to compare revenue/head then you should make the comparison as close as possible.

Re:Apples to well...Apples (1)

Schadrach (1042952) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230550)

Which you do by ignoring a large chunk of one companies' employees while still counting all of their revenue? That just seems like a number intentionally biased in the other direction. If we discount all their retail employees, shouldn't we also be discounting all revenue from sales via Apple's first party retail outlets (read: Apple Stores),

Re:Apples to well...Apples (1)

antifoidulus (807088) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230896)

I actually said that...... but it's actually difficult to do as Apple doesn't release a whole lot of information other than the basics(revenue, profit etc)

Re:Apples to well...Apples (1)

GauteL (29207) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231008)

Profit per employee is a ridiculous measure to go by anyway. Consider two otherwise identical companies, where one of them decides to outsource their manufacturing and retail arms to third parties. This company now may now have a massively larger profit per employee than the other company, but they may well have missed out on a lot of profit (which are now swallowed up by the retailers and manufacturers).

Also, only trying to increase your profit per employee would be ridiculous. Consider a 500 employee company making £100k profit per employee. They have an opportunity to expand into a somewhat less profitable area by hiring 100 employees making £50k profit per employee. Should they avoid doing this, just so that they can keep their profit/employee ratio up? By this measure a 2 man company making £100k profit per year is more successful than a 500 employee company making £20M profit per year. Surely what really matters is profit per shareholder, because a 2 share holder company making £100k profit is definitely on average more successful for their shareholders than a 500 shareholder company making £20M profit.

Note: I'm not trying to make a judgement on the merits of outsourcing here. It may well make sense.

Re:Apples to well...Apples (2)

romiz (757548) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229976)

You're missing something. In TFA, the $55 million profit is the 2005 value. As Valve is privately owned, it does not give any information regarding its profit to the public, which means that no-one really knows how much profit it did last year. But probably more than $55 million, if we do your math in reverse.

Re:Apples to well...Apples (0)

Eivind (15695) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230422)

For real ? I mean, the profits of privately held companies are secret in USA ?

Nuts.

Re:Apples to well...Apples (-1)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35230534)

They aren't secret, they have to be disclosed to the Gubberment. Just not the market in general.

Re:Apples to well...Apples (2)

alostpacket (1972110) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230366)

Your comparing 2010 (2009?) Apple profit with Valve's 2005 profit, you need to read the article more carefully. Vavle is likely making in the $250m/750 range at present.

Apple made less than 2B in 2005 profit [apple.com] , so you're off by about 12-13B.

Valve (1)

mustPushCart (1871520) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229924)

Scroll to the end to see what GN does with his money.

http://www.vgcats.com/comics/?strip_id=302 [vgcats.com]

And yes, Valve and Steam are stalwarts for PC gaming, . It usually costs nothing to "port" a game to windows and costs nothing to publish on steam (although steam does take its cut). There ARE PC gamers out there, and this (and blizzard) proves that there is still money here to be made.

This is all very well... (1)

Fixer40000 (1921598) | more than 3 years ago | (#35229940)

...but what does this have to do with hats?

Ampersand (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35230014)

> Valve Beats Google, Apple

Here is a versatile character called the ampersand, which can be used for concatenating items in a list with a cardinality of two: Google & Apple.

The comma, a cousin, is used as a delimiter for longer lists: Google, Apple & Microsoft.

This is really rather easy.

Enough is enough! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35230018)

Enough with the chit-chat!
WHERE'S MY FUCKING EPISODE THREE?
You're just trying and distract us with these puny stories, aren't you Gabe?

Re:Enough is enough! (1)

FunPika (1551249) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230396)

Enough with the chit-chat! WHERE'S MY FUCKING EPISODE THREE? You're just trying and distract us with these puny stories, aren't you Gabe?

Screw EP3, I just want to think with Portals [thinkwithportals.com] at this point. :P

That's all well and good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35230058)

And huzzahs to the PC game industry, so on and so fourth.

But damn it Valve, FIX STEAM.
There is seriously no way in hell what is essentially a web browser, IM client, locked-down file manager, locked-down network manager and "games portal" NEEDS all those resources and take so damn long to do the simplest of things!

It is so bad that i use an actual web browser to check out the store whenever i don't have Steam running. That itself being very little unless i am gaming because at random times the thing decides "oh hey, i think i might eat up a bunch of your processing and RAM for a while", which i hate about any program.
TELL ME before you want to do anything. I'm all for automation, but when things end up hitting 50~% CPU for a couple minutes, it gets annoying real fast.

Yes, this is yet another rant on Steam being terribly unoptimized, but with all this damned profit, there is the optimization guy? (don't get me started on Source itself, my GOD, it is so horribly broken. For a game that runs higher specced gameplay than Source games to require significantly less resources to run is saddening since i like some Source games.)
I wish they would just optimize things for once. I can see why so many people have complained about Steam for so long after i got it a few years back.

Re:That's all well and good (4, Insightful)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230234)

Personally I am less annoyed by the performance and more annoyed with their shitty region-locking...

If you live in the US game X costs 19.99 USD....
If you live in Europe, the game costs ... wait for it.... 19.99 Euro...

1 Euro = 1.3556 U.S. dollars (today's rate on google)
So, they want me to pay 27.10 USD for the same game due to the region I am in.

I am sorry Valve, but I'll be buying the game for 19.99 in another online store thankyouverymuch.
For years I have spent money on Steam buying my games but I now limit my buying to promotions that are actually cheaper than the competition.

Meh...

Re:That's all well and good (1)

Xtense (1075847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230416)

Prices are dictated by publishers, with some games they differ, yadda yadda yadda.

Re:That's all well and good (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230680)

How come other online distribution systems can sell the games for the same regardless of where you by it from then?

If publishers are really trying this shit after the enormous mess over dvd region locking they must be stupid...

Re:That's all well and good (1)

Xtense (1075847) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231038)

And they are. If you try a proxy to the USA some time and check the price in dollars, you'd notice that most of the time it's approximately the same, adjusted for currency differences. Sometimes, however, the prices in Europe are inflated somewhat. Here, let me make some screenshots for you (one from a proxied webbrowser, the other from steam's built-in browser):

http://img687.imageshack.us/img687/2829/dollarsr.jpg [imageshack.us]
http://img251.imageshack.us/img251/7897/euroqi.jpg [imageshack.us]

I did a quick count on all the ones that have EUR==USD prices: 4. Four games from four wholly different publishers, that just couldn't be arsed.

Re:That's all well and good (1)

Corporate Troll (537873) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230584)

This is not exclusive to Valve. It's true for pretty much all tech purchases.... If the dollar is weak, it's 1USD=1EUR... If the dollar is strong, it's 1USD=2EUR. The maths are simple, and we're getting screwed over. Be glad you don't live in Great Britain. They have it worse.

Re:That's all well and good (1)

j_sp_r (656354) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230604)

Substract 20% VAT first, then compare.

Re:That's all well and good (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230670)

I dont pay VAT for online purchases when I shop anywhere else... so why exactly is this a valid excuse for doing a currency hack?

I would be fine with them charging a little more for european distribution if it was not so incredibly "convenient" that it is 1USD==1EUR in the store and they actually said WHY they do it. Other than "we figured we could make more money this way".

Re:That's all well and good (2)

Ihmhi (1206036) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230652)

I agree, but don't blame Valve for that. If HL2 is one price in Britain and another in France, okay then that's Valve's fault. But the prices of all of the non-Valve games are dictated by the publishers as well as the rights-holders of each individual country, not Valve.

I for one agree that region-locking is bullshit as well. Part of the appeal for PCs (to me) is that (in theory) you shouldn't be able to "region-lock" them, and then someone had to go and figure that shit out.

Re:That's all well and good (1)

omglolbah (731566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230814)

Hey, the alternative is always saying "ah fuck it" and just download the sucker of [insert generic torrent site].

The problem with most games I buy outside steam or other platforms like it is that the DRM goes bonkers on my machine...
Why? Because I have software installed to let me play the games with broken DRM which does not work in win7...

Blacklisting software to avoid piracy is so cute. Do they really expect it to work? :p

Re:That's all well and good (2)

Blue Stone (582566) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231080)

It's true that many downloadable games are overpriced on Steam in certain regions. They're also overpriced compared to retail.

Solution: check prices and then if favourable, buy retail and activate on Steam.

Re:That's all well and good (3, Informative)

ledow (319597) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230256)

Erm... have you even USED Steam on any half-decent PC?

I'm an old DOS guy so anything over 2Mb is blasphemy for me, but Steam is currently sitting (on a machine that's been taken into and out of standby about 50 times since it was last booted about a month ago) at around 9.5Mb RAM usage according to Task Manager. It doesn't touch more than 1% CPU enough to register on any simple task list. Steam's been running ALL that time that the computer has been up, with 250+ games, and gets used every night to play a game (anything from L4D2 to Altitude to the original Counterstrike).

I don't have the overlay enabled. I do have Friends enabled. I don't have it in "large" mode. It has been running perfectly fine and doesn't interfere with *anything * do. It doesn't even allocate enough memory to worry about - my print spooler service occupies more memory.

There are network delays when I run a game as it is (I assume) authenticated, but it's the *game* and network that causes that, not CPU usage or memory allocation from Steam. Steam hardly does anything at all, whereas the initial load of something like L4D2 tries to read in 2Gb of data. Killing Floor is terrible in that respect and can take about 4-5 minutes to clean up after I come out of it. None of that is *Steam*, that's the game.

The actual *Steam* component does nothing to slow that down, but XP happens to be particularly crap at freeing memory when you've used enough to touch swap (it's XP swapping from the release of the game's 2Gb of memory that actually stops me doing anything for a little while with any program, not just Steam).

250 games and, once loaded in the file cache once, they just load barely touching the disk (I don't even notice the load times for the small indie games any more because it's instantaneous and silent because of my long "suspended" Windows session that keeps the file cache intact.

It's slow browsing the store in Steam, I give you that, but that's to be expected, especially when I'm used to Opera throwing pages on the screen faster than I can see them. And this is a laptop. In large mode, it hits 50Mb if I browse, but to be honest Opera or Firefox hit roughly the same when I browse the same websites in them. Even 200Mb is barely worth worrying about these days - I lose a Gig of my RAM just by not choosing to run a 64-bit OS.

You either have a horribly underpowered PC, not enough RAM and so are swapping WAY more than necessary, or you haven't actually LOOKED at the cause of your problem. The most I've ever seen Steam use is about 250Mb and 10% CPU averaged over a minute or so and that was just before they changed to the new integrated web browser.

I call crap on your assertions. Five years ago, yeah, maybe, they were bloating on older PC's that didn't need that kind of bloat. Now? They are smaller than my print spooler on a machine that can cope with just about anything I throw at it.

(P.S. WHOA! Memory usage just went up to 10Mb! And then strangely went back down to 7Mb when I actually brought it out of the taskbar to sit on "small mode" on the desktop).

Re:That's all well and good (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35230284)

The Source engine is horribly broken and uses too many resoucres? Since when?
All Source games I know run perfectly fine on my 2005 desktop (2 GHz Athlon64, Radeon 1900) on full settings and they are generally rather good looking and have awesome physics, unlike other games that run on this machine.

Wealth per employee (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35230296)

Does the article (and yes I tried to read it, it wasn't coming up), mention whether a valve employee is rewarded as well or better than an apple/google employee? That's probably not the focus of the article, but the post starts with speculation on Gabe Newell's wealth, and I'm more interested in how the employee benefits from Valve's efficiency.

Valve doesn't have to pay for live tech support (1)

Xian97 (714198) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230314)

By not having to pay for a real person to talk to when you have a problem, they save a bundle on paying for tech support. It's email only and it usually takes 24 hours to get a response. There is no number to call or any way to talk to a live person. For a company that was supposed to have made a billion dollars in revenue last year, I have to assume that some of that was profit. They really need to put some of that profit into live tech support.

Re:Valve doesn't have to pay for live tech support (1)

gl4ss (559668) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230628)

but still, steam works fine. there's some aspects to it that make you want to grab crack releases still though, random offline playing as main culprit.

but how could they spin off game development when in practice they've lately done about as much of it as 3d realms in '02.

Re:Valve doesn't have to pay for live tech support (1)

gman003 (1693318) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230914)

Huh? They've got L4D2, still relatively recent, they have even more TF2 updates, and Portal 2 coming out in a few weeks. Sure, Episode 3 is still barely more than a rumor, but it certainly doesn't seem like "hasn't made a game in four years" is an apt description.

Valve Article? (1)

jvp (27996) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230706)

To paraphrase one of the best video game characters Valve has ever created (IMHO), "I hate articles about Valve!"

This isn't actually a good thing (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35230748)

They only have like 1-2 guys working on steam customer support. The outcome is when they get an issue? They ban you and ask questions later, and generally just ignore your emails. So they don't bother asking questions. Just checked, there are around 2 million users.

So? (1)

SlappyBastard (961143) | more than 3 years ago | (#35230860)

Somewhere out there is a featherweight considered the best pound-for-pound fighter in the world. Doesn't mean in a straight fight he wouldn't get killed by the best heavyweight.

Re:So? (1)

Barny (103770) | more than 3 years ago | (#35231088)

No, but if you cut all the extra mass from the heavyweight it would become a much easier fight for the featherweight...

fan of steam but.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 3 years ago | (#35231172)

I'm a big fan of steam but it's not the future. My gaming computer's power supply just died. I haven't been playing nearly so many games these days. My wife and I are thinking about options. One of the thoughts is... if we get a cheap notebook but some day I want to play one of those shiny new games.. what will I do? Well the answer is onlive. I don't need to buy the games when I can pay them for a month and play whatever I want on whatever computer I want. If they ever come out with a linux client then linux gaming will no longer be a joke.

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