According to Telltale CTO Kevin Bruner, "Steam may be one the greatest things to happen recently ... we put Steam as one of the A-list distribution channels; up there with XBLA and WiiWare." The praise doesn't stop there -- Ars points out that it was unable to find even one developer who would "admit to feeling exploited" by Valve's business practices concerning Steam.
We reached out to Pitchford, who told us, "As a gamer, I love Valve ... as a customer, I love Steam." He clarified, "From an industry perspective, Steam would be even better off if it were a separate company ... trust issues that result from conflict of interest could be mitigated." To Pitchford, it's a question of appearances rather than actual impropriety. "It's just perception within segments of the publishing and development community that, I guess, no one is really talking about."
We've posted Pitchford's entire (and quite lengthy) response after the break. Hopefully we're not alone in hoping everyone will just hug it out.