Team Fortress 2's Official Economist Publishes His First Paper

Yanis Varoufakis, the economist Valve recently hired to study Team Fortress 2's virtual economy, has published his first paper. If you are not an economist and suffer from insomnia, you might consider giving this a close read.

If not, and you're looking for a bit of news out if, this bit of speculation was all I could pry from the conclusion. It followed nearly 3500 words explaining arbitrage and equilibrium, which more or less describes the ability to buy or an acquire an item at low cost and sell or trade it for high return, as opposed to a market where these opportunities are much more limited.

"I think this is fun to see. The tantalising thought also comes to mind that we could, perhaps, let you see this graph in real time, to guide your trading," Varoufakis wrote. "Or perhaps not? What do you think?"

Great. Is Team Fortress 2 getting an in-game commodities ticker?



    Jesus christ now games are needing Economists, fucking free to play AKA Pay to Win games they are going to be the downfall of the gaming industry.

    I wish i had a time machine so i can go back in time and kill the man responsible for free to play games was probably facebook somehow.

      Except TF2 isn't pay to win.

      TF2 Isn't a pay 2 win game by any stretch of the imagination.

      Name a recent pay2win F2P game...

      Tribes ascend, blacklight retribution, LOTRO, DC Universe Online....yeah, definitely the downfall of the gaming industry

        It is pay to win not as much as most other F2p games but you can shell out the 15$ to get a much more power then other guns, the area that keeps Tf2 better then most F2P games is that the guns can also be crafted ingame.

        Don't get me wrong TF2 is still good because skill and brains can prevail most the time.

          EVEN IF you don't recognize that the default equipment is generally as strong (if not stronger) then most of the stuff in the store:

          There's a free store-trial feature. Grab any item off the store for free, for as long as you want, up till the point you want to grab another item off the store.

      Oh, totally. If I want to win at TF2, all I need to do is buy a sweet, expensive hat.

      Or not, you twit.

      I will continue playing free to play games because it means I won't have to play with you.

    The valve economy where everyone can buy and sell but Valve are the only one who make any money.

      Valve create content for people to consume, not asking for an upfront payment, and you're complaining that Valve makes money from it by charging players for optional, cosmetic items?

      or do you prefer the Blizzard method where they charge you up front, then structure the game so you're herded to the auction house so they can potentially charge you again? but I guess it's okay because you can sell things yourself, becoming Activisions little slave...

    i recently sold an unusual for much more than i sold it for, however, the other party knew that it was worth less than he bought it for, but it just so happens that there are only 12 of this hat+effect combo in the game, he bought it for that much because he really liked the hat.
    The essence of making a profit in TF2 is based on 2 things, waiting for the prices to go up due to demand, and finding the right person willing to pay more for an item they really like.

      You make it sound like that's not the basis of our entire economy.

      People buy things for more than they're actually worth all the time. The problem is most people are either too stupid to know better, or they're too lazy to bother finding a cheaper alternative.

      Actually my issue is with the steam workshop integration. They have approximately 2000 items of fairly decent quality made for free and they pick and choose the best to go into the game. While it seems they do give you a 25% split of the take that only applies to direct purchases of the item itself, from the licence agreement there is no mention of a split when a player buys a key that opens a crate with the item, additionally Valve reserve the right to modify the price down to free at their discretion.

      Given the division of labour; actually building and testing 3d models vs uploading an item to their store the split seems skewed.

        Whoops, that was actually meant to be a reply to Bazz who was replying to me.

    Whilst the economist has done an impressive amount of research on the shifting values of items, he hasn't really touched on the sub-markets surrounding certain items. Keys are an interesting one as they are theoretically an infinite resource; however they are also consumed at a steady rate, which maintains their value.

    Earbuds, on the other hand, continue to skyrocket in value because its own sub-market involves selling them for real world money dollars. However, unlike Bill's Hat, they are -not- a rare commodity. They were farmed en-masse by some gamer groups, which has put a disproportionate amount of virtual (and real world) wealth in their hands.

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