Steam collects a lot of data, but Valve doesn’t want to share.
Steam is a powerhouse in the digital sales market, but Valve is in no hurry to tell the rest of us how well Steam games are doing. The company's Jason Holtman believes that sales charts are worthless, and that there's no benefit to be gained from releasing that information.
“The idea of a chart is old," said Holtman. "It came from people trying to aggregate disaggregated information. What we provide to partners is much more rapid and perfected information.”
However, only developers or publishers have access to the info for their own games.
“The point is it’s not super important for a publisher or developer to know how well everyone is doing," explained Holtman. "What’s important to know is exactly how your game is doing – why it’s climbing and why it’s falling.”
The problem, says Holtman, is that sales charts have been generally inaccurate in the past.
“If you look back at the way retail charts have been made, they have been proven to be telling an inaccurate story. They apparently had shown how the PC format was dying when it was actually thriving.”
Of course, Holtman’s statements do seem a bit contradictory - he talks about the importance of accurate data while at the same time refusing to release sales data - and charts might not be as misleading with more complete numbers. If Valve were a bit more open with their data, it might fix a lot of Holtman's problems.