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Yanis Varoufakis’ Valve Economics Blog

June 16, 2012

Recently, Valve enticed and secured the services and expertise of Yanis Varoufakis Ph.D. He is one of the leading economists in Europe, and has been brought on board to help Valve manage all their frickin’ money.  Dr. Varoufakis has just started a new blog in which he promises to post weekly on the “projects, experiences and ideas regarding Valve’s various social ‘economies’”. In his first post, he discusses how Darth Valve seduced him.

Jetlagged and sleepless, and confronted by a wall of information about things that I had no prior experience of (indeed, the last time I had played a computer game was Space Invaders at University in the mists of 1981 or so!), I struggled to keep up. Soon, however, I realised that this bunch of people were not just weird but also wonderful and, to boot, that what they were describing, the digital community they had facilitated into existence, was an economist’s dream-come-true. Think of it: An economy where every action leaves a digital trail, every transaction is recorded; indeed, an economy where we do not need statistics since we have all the data!  …

…Within hours, an agreement was reached: I would become, in some capacity (that was to be hammered out later), Valve’s economist-in-residence. Valve is not the first video game company to have brought an academic economist on board (e.g. EVE Online were the first to do so, recruiting Eyjólfur Guðmundsson  – whom I would like to thank for making my name sound almost easy-going…). My intention at Valve, beyond performing a great deal of data mining, experimentation, and calibration of services provided to customers on the basis of such empirical findings, is to to go one step beyond; to forge narratives and empirical knowledge that (a) transcend the border separating the ‘real’ from the digital economies, and (b) bring together lessons from the political economy of our gamers’ economies and from studying Valve’s very special (and fascinating) internal management structure.

His blog is now linked on the side and will be a highly anticipated weekly stop for me.  rED, how about you?

Via The PAR Cut.

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2 Comments
  1. June 18, 2012 7:15 am

    This looks extremely beneficial for Valve. I think you can see some of their new economy ideas in games like DOTA2.

    • June 19, 2012 5:34 am

      Yep. They have big plans for that. And I think it’s in the exact direction this idea needs to go in. Not the whole fucking thing EA does with all their games with buying kits and gear to get ahead.

      Look at what Steam is doing for TF2. IF YOU WANT, you can buy keys to unlock crates to get cool weapons, hats, or other aesthetics. BUT, the thing is, is that you can still unlock those same things just by playing the game. It’ll reward you at random times with some pretty sweet items (along with some crappy ones, of course). You can also unlock some through obtaining certain achievements, but even then there’s absolutely NO imbalance to the game.

      And with what I’ve been reading about what Gabe and Steam want to do with Dota2, it seems like that’s what the original plan should’ve been. Not this bullshit we have spreading around now.

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