This is absolutely amazing. You may have heard of Yanis Varoufakis, the economist who recently took up a position at Valve as ‘Economist-In-Residence’. Currently he is observing and experimenting with the economies and sub-economies that exist within Steam — people trading hats and whatnot. But in a blog recently translated by Neogaf user alexandros, he went in-depth on some of his experiences and wrote about how he “saw the future”.
“At the time period between March till June I went back to Valve and we begun a research program of systematic study of their economies,” he wrote. “Within a few days we had the first results that shed light on the way prices are determined and how arbitrage is fluctuating. At the same time, I got the chance to “see the future”. You see, in addition to their game software, Valve has started developing hardware. Worried by Microsoft’s and Apple’s tendency to claim a bigger and bigger cut of its profits (in order to allow users access to Valve games through the computers that run their software), Valve has started experimenting with its own machines that give you the ability to run these games without a (Microsoft or Apple-controlled) computer. I’ve signed an NDA so I can’t reveal much more. I’ll just say that I really saw the future. (it’s not a small deal to see a virtual but highly realistic alien stand beside a real human in the same room with you, walk around the room and wink at you. And all that without a screen, a projector or even a computer near you…)”
It’s possible that Varoufakis is talking about Steam’s Big Picture mode, but more likely he’s referencing other projects at Valve. Extremely interesting.
Over and above speculation regarding whatever hardware Valve is currently working on, the article itself is simply fascinating. Varoufakis goes into detail on Valve’s flat structure, and discusses just how smart the folks at Valve really are in terms of their ability to quickly understand economic concepts and apply them to their own business. Brilliant stuff.