Economist Visits Valve, Lives The 'Dream', Sees The 'Future'

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.

Valve's economist talks about game economies, Valve hardware, virtual reality, more [Neogaf]

Thanks alexandros


Comments

    Valvelicious!

    Last edited 27/11/12 10:37 am

    a 'valve box' PC running a remix of Ubuntu I'm guessing....

    This is truly intriguing... Gabe... what are you planning... you're like the Anti-Jobs. Creating things for the betterment of mankind and not whoring out year to year slight updates but actually waiting until they're *worth* releasing.

    Soon our life will be like in Half Life where Valve is Black Mesa :)

    That's pretty much what I assume. Essentially a dedicated Steam OS based on a Linux distribution. Essentially the "Convenience" of playing on console, with the "raw potential" of PC gaming. It's like if the Ouya came installed with steam, but advanced.

    But the sneaky thing is, it'll be marketed as a "console" to take advantage of the console gaming market and player base, when in actuality, it's closer to a PC then a console. But they already have the PC market monopolized with Steam, so there is no need to go after the PC gamers.
    It's all the pros of playing on Console, plus the pros inherent with PC games.

    Hardware I can see it going multiple ways. 1.) Will they release their own "Valve Engine Parts." Offering a baseline hardware system, with one linear upgrade path (Multiple components you can upgrade, but limited to a particular "Valve Approved" manufacturer for consistency and less confusion for the player base to upgrade their consoles with new parts when Valve approves and releases them?
    Or 2.) They will allow the OS to work across the board just like any other linux distribution.

    Each choice has it's own problems, the first limits other companies involvement with valve's hardware, meaning only dedicated components will work with the install. The second offers the advanced capabilities that people love about PC, but I fear the Idea of configuring and troubleshooting would conflict with the "convenience" aspect of console gaming which is so important to most console gamers.

    Either way, I'm pretty gosh darn excited.

    "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."

    More news about how seriously Valve is working on AR tech. This has me far more excited than any Valve branded PC/Console device, which while may shake up the market place, doesn't actually provide any new gaming experience in and of itself.

    Between this, the Oculus Rift (VR might finally take off) and Google glasses (not actually AR, but a step in the same direction) I'm seriously excited for the next few years of tech.

    No doubt this could be the drive behind expanding Steam to Linux. If they can get ATI/Nvidia on board to help drive this then we'll be looking at an awesome future for Valve

    "Worried by Microsoft’s and Apple’s tendency to claim a bigger and bigger cut of its profits" Wait, what? How does Apple or Microsoft take a cut of their profits??
    "in order to allow users access to Valve games through the computers that run their software" is this talking about paying for the OS? Cause you know, OSes seem to be cheaper than usual these days.

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