Valve's Novel Idea: Charge Popular People Less

In an interview with Develop, Valve boss Gabe Newell says that his company is more interested in "looking into what Valve can do with payment services than engine services". What that means is some crazy ideas on how to take your money.

"The industry has this broken model, which is one price for everyone", he says. "That's actually a bug, and it's something that we want to solve through our philosophy of how we create entertainment products."

"What you really want to do is create the optimal pricing service for each customer and see what's best for them. We need to give customers, all of them, a robust set of options regarding how they pay for their content."

Now, this is where it gets a little nutty.

"An example is – and this is something as an industry we should be doing better – is charging customers based on how much fun they are to play with. Some people, when they join a server, a ton of people will run with them. Other people, when they join a server, will cause others to leave. We should have a way of capturing that. We should have a way of rewarding the people who are good for our community.

So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get Dota 2 for free, because of past behaviour in Team Fortress 2. Now, a real jerk that annoys everyone, they can still play, but a game is full price and they have to pay an extra hundred dollars if they want voice."

You know, Valve being Valve and this being 2011, I honestly can't tell if he's joking or not.

Gabe Newell on Valve [Develop]


    Its a fresh way of analyzing the market, and in a world full of trolls this is the sort of treatment that will snap a lot of pre pube idiots out of their "king dick" mentality.

    Want to get a kick out of trolling?
    Cool, just be aware that you will pay the full price.

    This was talked about in an interview (steamcast maybe?) a while back...
    Cool ideas... keep pushing the envelope Valve.

    I think this sounds progressive and smart. 10 years ago, the idea of buying an online copy of a game and not having any packaging was an affront to some people.

    If someone is fun to play and builds the customer base, why not charge them less? You still make more money from the larger user base that comes with a more robust community.

    Nice one, Gabe!

    How on earth would they measure this? Have valve employees joining every possible server of every possible multi-player game in order to find the more 'favourable' people? What would you have to do to be 'favourable' anyway? It boggles the mind.

    It might be possible on cover-all services like PSN or XBL, but on the PC and with dedicated servers which have thousands more players playing on a thousands of different servers, it's next to impossible

    Sounds like a terrible idea that would only serve to isolate fans who aren't deemed popular.

    I like the "good rating = free/cheap games" :)

    I would love to see valve address the regional pricing 1st ;)

      Valve doesn't have regional pricing and as such they have no way to address such issues.

        Yes... No regional pricing... All these stores have identical amounts...

        And there has never been discounts on a per user basis based on arbitary criteria. There was never a discount to people who owned a STALKER game for CoP, and valve never offered a portal 2 discount potato hunters...

      Valve, and other online-distribution companies, get hit up by the local watchdogs every time they price out of the range of bricks-and-mortar competitors.

    "So, in practice, a really likable person in our community should get Dota 2 for free, because of past behaviour in Team Fortress 2"

    Soooo if I don't play TF2 but want to buy Dota 2 I should pay more than first person shooter players? How are the two communities at all related? What about the freaking decade I spent playing the original dota as a perfectly nice player... I would have thought that entitles me to a cheaper dota 2 far more than a bunch of people who play First person Shooters. (Not that I think I'm entitled to that at all).

    There's so much wrong with this concept I could almost write and essay and email to Gabe... hmmmm

    I thought I was done with popularity contests when I left high school ten years ago? So now if I want a fair price I have to somehow make myself popular?
    Get real Valve.

    Ah, but Gabriel... not everyone is paying the same price for your games now.

    It seems like a logistical nightmare to figure that one out. I have no idea how you would go about determining who should be priced what. Not to mention groups of trolls that play together.

    This would be so susceptible to social hacking it wouldn't be funny.

    Gabe has officially lost his mind. Plus it's stupid ideas like this that are delaying Episode 3

    It's Valve, guys.

    Whenever they come up with a crazy idea they make it work. They always find a way.

    People, people please! They have already been doing this for years.

    Apparently Australians are dicks.

      Your comment made me laugh thoroughly. :D Good job!

      Everybody go home, this guy has won the internet. Thanks for playing.

      ripper gets the rest of his games at 1/2 price.

    I doubt they will be able to monitor every single sever, and every single person. Some people are going to be treated unfairly, this is a good idea in theory but I doubt it will come to fruition.

    Problem is that many good gamers are hated. I guess it's not so much of a problem in TF2 but in other games like CoD where you have a one man army or BFBC2 where you have one team that's just pwning everyone, people will leave. I'm not one to follow a person into another server either unless they're one of my friends and I'm sure that's the case with most other people. Also, people like me who don't actively partake in conversation in games and just play the game are bound to fade into the background. I really don't think you will find a system where you can properly gauge something like that.

    Besides, never give an internet person an opportunity to extend his or her e-penis or many will do whatever it takes to grow it.

    I see potential trouble with this. People could play pranks on their friends/enemies by leaving en masse when the target joins a server. They could slander the target. What if the person joined just as there was a map change to something less desirable? Players who don't like the next map could be mistaken for players who don't like the guy who's just connected. There a ton of ways this dumb system could be broken. Real half-assed thinking there, Valve.

    I think the idea of someone being forced to change their behaviour for the sake of Valve's business model is more frightening than the prepubescent pseudo-trolls.

    I'd rather deal with idiots and foul language than ludicrious forms of control.


    Hm, I'm not sure about this idea. I can see where he's coming from, but...

    Someone like me who doesn't play online very often (but is a nice enough person when they do) wouldn't get any of the benefits of this.
    Knowing that I'm getting charged more to buy-into the game than someone who plays online all the time would probably discourage me from buying in the first place. :P

    Still, if they can get it to work, it might be a good idea.

    /agree. This is what I thought of straight away.

    they should charge based on how many titles a person owns... bigger discounts for bigger collections...

    i'd prob get about an 80% discount based on my steam collection.... rofl

    For those wondering how they would implement such thing.. I think they would develop a steam feature similar to the one on xbox live, where you can either mark the person as favourite or rate them down. Problem is, as some of you above mentioned, it would most likely get abused by the immature 12 year olds because you owned them in a game of CSS...

    I think hes been trolled a few too many times and wants to get back at all the haters/trolls out there. Get over it, it's what internet anonymity does.

    every person who hates this idea is obviously one of the reasons valve wants to implement this idea

      Wow, that's some infallible logic you have there.

      Yeah how dare they have an opinion on something.

      Get your head out of your ass, piat.

    This is really interesting... I will have to think a lot about it before I actually form an opinion.

    But to the nay-sayers, Amazon can do it for books, I'm sure Steam can do it for people.

      The two things are hardly analogous.

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